Monday, April 18, 2011

Baby Talk

Everyone who has been engaged knows that when people hear you are getting married they don't just stop at asking you a million questions about your wedding...they move onto questions about your life plans: "So, have you two talked about when you're going to have kids?"

I hear it from family, the dentist, hairstylists and strangers. Maybe other people don't mind being asked this question because they have the answer everyone wants to hear, which is: "We'll enjoy being 'newlyweds' for a couple years, then have babies." The problem is, Tommie and I are far from "newlyweds" (being together for 200 years) and our plan for kids is adoption. Try explaining all this to your dental hygienist as she flosses your teeth.

I'm getting used to the strange looks I get, the assumptions that I can't have kids of my own, and the insults. What begins as an inadvertent insult to me: "Well, it would be a big mistake not to have at least one of your own children and miss the experience" turns into me inadvertently insulting them because I have to explain that I honestly could care less about the experience. In the end, the other person doesn't understand me so they just recite the Nike slogan, "Just do it!" and I have to smile and pretend I will because that's easier for them to handle. But the truth is I have always wanted kids, just not my own.

People want to know why and I don't have one definitive answer but I can think of two videos I saw as a child that helped shaped my decisions. The first, The Miracle of Life confirmed that childbirth was actually more disgusting than I could have imagined. On the most basic level, childbirth makes me sick. More power to all the women who are brave enough to go through it but it's not for me. Maybe I was supposed to be a dude, maybe I was supposed to be an inanimate object like a rock, but instead I was born a woman with the brain of a man or a rock and the thought of another living being growing inside one's stomach and coming out their crotch sounds like the worst thing that could ever happen to a person.

The second video was a news special about China's one-child rule and how so many baby girls were being abandoned in that country because if they had to choose one child, families would rather have a boy. This confirmed that I would much rather help children that are already alive. There are millions of children in every country that need loving homes. On top of that, we are living in a world that is dangerously overpopulated as it is. Why should I add to that problem?

When I think about having my own child, I want to curl up and die, but when I think about adoption I get excited...the way I imagine most women get excited about the thought of having their own. I have no doubt in my mind I would love an adopted child all the same (possibly even more because they didn't tear out of my who-who). I know it sounds strange to most women because it goes against that instinct to carry a baby, but I wish some people would stop to think that maybe some women don't feel the same way they do. Just because I have a uterus doesn't mean I have to use it or that I want to use it. This blog post is for other women who feel like this, of which I realize there are few, and for the people who struggle to understand them. It's not that difficult in my view...ultimately we all want the same thing, we just go through different means to get there and I'm okay with that.

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