Saturday, July 19, 2008

An Experience Beyond Words

Big D and I have been together a long time. I mean a loooonnnnngggg time and by LA standards even longer. When you have been married as long as we have or, to be more exacting, when you have been a married woman without children for as long as I have been you hear a lot of comments such as,

"I thought people only got married to have kids"

"When are you having kids?"

"Oh you have to have kids, it's the best."

"When are you getting pregnant, it's the most amazing thing ever!"

I could go on but you get the idea. When people who I know and care about inquired, I generally didn't mind the probing. In fact, whether or not you are going to have kids has been and continues to be a topic of conversation that I have with many of my close friends and family members because it is such a big part of the human experience. But when people who could care less about who I am as a human being, like women from the work pit, asked, I often wanted to retort something like, "Well, I'm infertile, if you must know" or "Well the cocaine habit isn't so great for fetuses I've heard and my husband has low sperm count" I mean, what if I really did have a fertility issue or a drug habit or my husband had low sperm count? Wouldn't these questions then be considered incredibly insensitive? Fortunately, none of these were an issue for us. In fact, having gotten pregnant after one cycle off the pill after being on it my entire adult life pretty much squashed my long held fears of infertility and Big D is clearly a stud in the sperm count department and my drug habit was generally limited to red wine and dirty martinis.

But now I realize that there is something more to the questions. Pregnancy is something you can't quite put into words. You can talk about the growing belly, the morning sickness, the aches and pains, the kicks and turns, but it is impossible to fully explain what it feels like to have your body become an incubator for another human being. Before I got pregnant, I knew it would be something to experience but I didn't get the glow in the eyes of mothers asking when I was going to have a baby. I never really got the way they would tear up when recounting their own pregnancy and motherhood or why they would have such an interest in my own reproduction timeline. But I get it now. My cynical rational side tries to keep me in check...It's something any woman can do. It's not like it's finding a cure for cancer or running a business or being a gold medal athlete. But I am in the club now and I get it. It is powerful beyond description and women inquire about other women's pregnancy status because it is their way of sharing this experience beyond words.

I have to admit that I have caught myself recently doing the same thing in conversations with couples who don't yet have kids. I've actually heard lines such as this come out of my mouth:

"Do you guys think you'll have kids?"

"Pregnancy is the most amazing thing ever"

"It's really something you have to experience"

I've limited the conversation to those people that I actually know and care about and who are interested in taking part in a conversation about this. I'm not running up to recently married co-workers and asking them to get on the baby track. Although I did give an extra copy I had of What to Expect When Your Expecting to a co-worker who was just about to get married. But she had informed me that she was on the baby track before I offered so that's OK isn't it?


ellemabelle said...

aw crap... you've turned into one of them too? Most people who havent had the experience I think can't understand. You are right and for some I think it is an extremely painful reality to not be in the "club." It is sort of like breaking up with someone then walking down the street and seeing everyone in love and making out... only I think it must be like 9,000 times worse for people who really want an kid who dont have one.

Jason B. said...

Pregnancy can be a lot of fun. It's like leaving for your vacation, or traveling to your vacation spot. Savor it now, because you won't think too much about it once the baby comes. I know I'm coming off like a know it all, but, man, once that roller coaster gets to the top of that first hill and starts barreling down the track, all you can do is hang on. But it's nice to look at the scenery on the way up!

Jason B. said...

p.s. Can you tell I'm jealous that I can't get pregnant?

Existential Waitress said...

I like this post -- I can totally relate. I was regularly asked the "when are you having kids" question during my fist marriage, (which thankfully yielded no children). And I too have found myself asking the annoying "are you planning on having kids" question of childless couples as well now that I have 2 of my own. I'm not sure what compels us to do this -- I want to kick myself when I do it.

Amie said...

Jason, aren't you about due for a second round? Dylan's developed a sweet tooth. Do you think that it might be sympathy pregnancy?

Existential Waitress said...

My husband developed a sweet tooth during my first pregnancy too. And he still blames me for the sympathy pooch he has yet to shed!