A while back I went to a party and reconnected with old friends, one of whom is a new mom, having birthed a baby last summer. Our group was busy catching up when the new momma said, “Oh, I want to have two or three kids,” to which I absently replied, “Why?” My incredulity was met with quizzical stares, then, “Why wouldn’t I want to have more kids?!?” Apparently my gut reaction was not the appropriate response.
I quickly backpedaled, citing the mess of childbirth as the cause of my uncensored outburst. But the reply was, “That’s only part of it!” Of course that’s only part of it. Nine months of acting as a pod (entrapment) is prologue to actual birth (painful and graphic) and the next chapter of life (eighteen years of debtors’ prison). Are those incentives to squeeze another human out from one’s loins? Not in my opinion. But I couldn’t say all that. I was alone in a group of women on the mom-track, finding myself on the flipside of what society deems normal and expected, quietly opposing the “miracle of life.”
I can’t say I believe the whole thing is a “miracle” anyway. Getting pregnant seems easy and common – pretty much any menstruating lady and fertile man can make it happen. So how’s making a baby a “miracle”??? You know what really is the “miracle”? NOT getting pregnant. Remaining childless is pretty extraordinary given our social norms, don’t you think?
So next time I’m in a group discussing the assumed path our lives are supposed to follow, I have three choices: remain silent about my views on birthin’ babies, respond "inappropriately" and go on the defensive, or declare myself the walking miracle that I am.
I think I’m going with option #3.