Monday, October 08, 2007

Ambivalence

There are several interesting threads that I pulled from yesterday’s baby shower. The one I found most interesting is definitely the wife of a friend of mine (let’s call her S to avoid confusion among all the female pronouns), one of the three childless women (our of over 20) at the shower. S and I have never really talked, though we go camping with her and her husband, but we truly found a camaraderie amongst the pomp and circumstance and organized fun of the shower. (To be fair, it was a really good time and I’m very glad I went). S and I compared knee scars and when the extremely pregnant girl sitting betwixt us, as S snapped away with the camera (she was designated photographer), asked if S was taking pictures because she was “baby crazy”.

“Oh god no, not yet. But my husband is about 1000x more baby crazy than I think I’ll ever be.” Preggers girl didn’t know how to react to this, so she sat silently between us again as S and I talked, quite literally, over her belly. CREEPY. But I digress…

S feels she’s not ready for kids yet and is starting to fear she won’t ever be. She finally just finished school and is really getting her career started, she still wants to travel, she LIKES traveling to see her husband’s concerts (he’s a musician), she loves his second job as a concert promoter. The fear comes from the fact that he wanted to start having babies before they were even married. And now, she says, he’s just nuts. He approaches every baby he ever sees (often to the dismay of the parents—he’s not exactly wholesome-looking) and coos and makes faces and plays, then goes on and on and on about it for days. She and her husband are both in their early 30s and have been together as long as anyone I know—probably 8 or 9 years now.

It’s interesting to meet someone where the roles are reversed. She married him figuring she’d ease into it, that eventually she’d feel this drive all her friends were talking about. Now she’s left, one of apparently 3 in her circle of friends (if I counted right at the shower), who isn’t currently extremely pregnant (there were 4 women, all due within a week of each other in a month), toting around a newborn or saddled with a couple toddlers. But it’s not happening.

It’s at this point that I’m going to start putting words in her mouth.

I wonder if she wants kids at all. She wants to keep partying, to keep clubbing, to enjoy her work and build her career. She, like me, was the only one to show no interest into the babies who tagged along or the hostess’s toddlers. She’s the only one who didn’t completely freak out over EVERY cutesy little thing she saw. I have a hard enough time dealing with the in-laws; I can’t imagine discovering that my choice is at odds with what my own husband wants. I feel terrible for her.

It could just be cold feet, but I felt a kindred spirit as we spoke, as she lamented again and again, and to more people (who apparently know of her husband’s baby rabies and who speculated that his coming “retirement” from the Biz is so that they can start a family), that he wants this so much more than she ever will, and the sadness in her eyes… maybe I’m imagining it there because I was so needing someone, someone who didn’t know a diaper pad from a breast pad (eeew) or why you have to try a bunch of different kinds of breast pads to find “the one that works for you for the leaky leakies” (double eew).

To be honest, I hope I *am* reading too much into it, that she isn’t as ambivalent, because that ambivalence just means bad news for their marriage and for the kids that she’ll have to please her husband because it’s the right thing to do.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and I must say, what a relief! Suddenly I am surrounded by people having babies. I made the decision (or I should say the decision grew in me) over the last three years that I am not meant to have children.

I'm finding that this decision has started to separate me from my friends who are having children. We live in different worlds and I have started feeling out of place with my generation.

Wondering if others are having that experience as well.

I'm not questioning my decision. But it does have consequences.

K.

Tanya said...

We can always hope we find more kindred spirits. She might be ambivalent now, but who knows.

RMS said...

These kinds of stories always make me really feel for the people involved. There is no compromise with children, they are an all or nothing proposition. Unless both people want it, someone is always losing whether they do or don't do it.

Perhaps this woman could "borrow" one of her friend's babies for a weekend to see how reality is. Maybe her husband might not be so keen when he had to deal with diapers and crying. It might also give her an idea if she could do it or not. Either way it may start a dialogue which is something that needs to happen at some point.