Diary of a Marriage: Thank You For Caring About My Eggs
But I can deal with the whole procreation thing on my own, thankyouverymuch.
My ophthalmologist’s daughter is having a baby. I know this because he told me so, as he peered into my cornea while wearing a weird headlamp thing.
We talk about stuff like this every time I see him, which is about once a year. His daughter got married around the same time I did. We should, then, naturally be moving along at the same pace.
“We don’t want kids for at least a few more years,” I said when he expressed curiosity about where we stood on the whole procreation thing. “We’re just not ready.”
And then he told me what every well-meaning person tells me, that we’ll never really be ready, that we can’t sit around and wait for that a-ha! moment. We’ll run out of time. Isn’t it great that when you get married, you suddenly have so many nice people looking out for your fertility and reminding you of the inevitable expiration date of your eggs? I’m sure I’d probably forget they were in there otherwise.
When I explained to him that while I may not need an a-ha! moment, I think it’s probably best to wait until I feel something other than piercing terror and vague sadness at the thought of having a child, he nodded sympathetically. And then told me that everyone is scared at first.
Rather than tell him that my fear was less the ‘Will we be good parents?’ fear and more the ‘Oh my God, please please please please oh please please don’t let me be pregnant right now’ sort of fear, I decided to take a different tack.
“Yeah, we still want to travel,” I said.
“Oooh, well then, yes, wait. You need to travel first,” he replied. It was mind-boggling. I’d thrown out my career, the fact that we actually can’t physically fit a dog in our house much less another human being, and my complete lack of desire to make room in our life for a child, and this is what sticks? A stupid vacation?
He continued. “Once you have kids, you’ll never take a vacation again. You’ll take trips.” I instantly recalled memories of my dad begging us to finish packing, hopelessly trying to herd us all into the car, carrying all of our luggage as we bumbled distractedly through the airport.
“Yes,” he said sagely. “Once you have kids, taking trips is more stressful than just staying home.”
Great. I mentally added ‘end of vacations forever’ to my growing list of Reasons Why I Don’t Want Kids Right Now. Thank God, I thought, that I never need to review this list with J. He’s got a list, too, and it’s pretty much identical to mine. We’re on the same page when it comes to kids. So then, why do I feel the need to explain to near strangers why we haven’t had any yet? And, perhaps more importantly, why the hell does everyone care so much?
It happened to me in a cab the other day, too. The friendly driver threw a backward glance at me and asked if I was married, and then, if we had kids. As soon as I answered no, I steeled myself for his response—and it came, like clockwork: “How old are you? You cannot wait too long! You will be too old then.” He sounded seriously concerned. I got out of the cab a few blocks early and, even though the guy basically called me old and barren, begrudgingly gave him a tip.
As soon as you get married, your sex life suddenly becomes open for public discussion: Do you have kids? Do you want kids? Are you trying for kids? What are you waiting for? How old are you? It’s somehow considered okay for people to offer their two cents about when and how and why you should have kids, and you’re a freak show if you don’t feel a burning desire to keep on rolling with the milestone momentum: engagement, marriage, baby. Check check check.
Whatever happened to enjoying being married for a little while? To just fading into the background for a bit, no baby showers or baptisms or first birthday parties? To just being. J. and I have been married for exactly three and a half years. That feels like such a tiny fraction of our lives. Maybe I’m selfish, but I want him all to myself for just a little bit longer.
A lot of my friends have babies or want to have babies, and I’m genuinely happy for them, and sometimes, even a bit jealous. I wish I felt so strongly about having kids, and I hope that some day I’ll feel nothing but thrilled—and still maybe a little scared—at the thought of having them. But, for now, I suppose I’ll have to deal with telling everyone from cab drivers to eye doctors that first, J. and I just want to travel.
How do you deal with personal question about the life you and your groom are living and the choices you’re making? Is there another topic that you find people feel free to grill you about?
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