Thursday, October 02, 2014

Vignettes: On Being a Thirty-One-Year-Old Married Woman with No Children in the Midwest*

*Because I don't know if this happens to thirty-one-year-old married men or women with no children outside of the Midwest. 

The following vignettes are presented to you so that I might try to understand what it is about me that invites this type of commentary. Is it simply that I am now in my thirties?

Vignette One: After Eleven Years of a Fairly Happy Relationship
You ain't cool, unless you pee your pants have kids

Background: This is an amalgam of conversations I've had with people when they find out we've been together for a long time. 
Person: You've been together for a long time! And married for six years now! That is so great! Any kids?
Me: Nope, we're just living life. Hanging out. Working. Having fun. 
Person: And how old are you?
Me: 31.
Person: What? Why no kids? You two would be great parents! 
Me: Um, I don't know. We're just busy. Working. Traveling. Watching Netflix. Going out to eat. Living.
Person: I don't even know what marriage would BE like without kids. I wouldn't WANT to know! You guys are just missing out! It's SO special seeing your genes mix with your husband's genes! You have to have kids like, now. Knowing look. You don't want to get too busy. Then you'll be 40 and your eggs will be all dried up! 
Me: I am going over there. 

Vignette Two: A Conversation with a Strange Old Man at the Gym
Background: I did my usual swim workout and went for my usual stretch in the hot tub afterwards. I was just sitting in the hot tub minding my own business when the Strange Old Man (SOM) started assessing my life. 
SOM: Hey there young lady! How was your workout?
Me: It was great! Just stretching out. Leans back and closes eyes.  
SOM: Why are you here in the afternoon? Someone got the kids for ya?
Me: Nope... I have the afternoon off. I decided to work out in the afternoon.
SOM: Well do you have any kids?
Me: Sits up and open eyes. Nope.
SOM: Well are you MARRIED?
Me: Yep.
SOM: But no kids.
Me: No.
SOM: How old you?
Me: 31.
SOM: Well that is just wrong. You should have kids. We have SIX kids and THIRTEEN grandchildren! Yep, started when we were 19. As a woman, it is your JOB to have children! SERIOUSLY AND FOR REAL, he then EYES MY BODY UP AND DOWN with beady eyes as I stand up to leave the travesty that is this conversation. Plus, you've got those childbearing hips. Can't let those go to waste.
Me: Jaw automatically juts out. Vein sticks out of neck. Walks to lifeguard and reports the SOM. She says he says shit like that to random people all the time and to tell her if he does it again. Stand and glare at him before leaving the pool area. 

Vignette Three: When I Work with Little Kids at My Job
Background: I mostly work with high school aged youth at my amazing job, but sometimes I have to work with kids of all ages. It's awkward with kids ages 8-11. They do not get me and I do not get them. Crickets. No laughter at my jokes. But kids ages 6 and under? It's good times for everyone-- even if I throw my back out from crawling around with them. 
Person (after watching me run around with little kids): You don't want to be a mother? You'd be SUCH a great mommy! You have so much energy!
Me: I never said I don't want to be a mother. I just don't want to right now
Person: Knowingly. Well don't wait toooooo long. You don't want to waste that motherly potential! 
Me: K, thanx, bye.

Vignette Four: Populate the Earth. It's Your Responsibility
[via]
Background: This happened when I was talking to an older retired woman. 
Person: You are in your thirties. You are married. Why haven't you had kids yet? 
Me: Oh you know. Trying to work on other stuff right now. Enjoying my man. No big deal. 
Person: Um, yes. It is a big deal. Do you know what the birth rate in the United States is right now? It's low because none of YOU young women want to have children. You're all just focusing on other things and not what is important. It's selfish. Do you know who is going to take care of you when you're old?!?!
Me: Trying to lighten the mood. Hopefully one of my old students who remembers how cool I was and doesn't let me sit in a wet diaper, amiright? 
Person: No. This society is backwards. 
Me: Um. Well. Okay. So. I'm gonna go over there. 

Vignette Five: You Don't Have Kids So You Don't Get It
Background:
Me: Did you just have to yell like that at those kids? That was harsh.
Person: Listen. You don't have kids. You don't have a family. You don't understand because you've never experienced raising. a. child. 
Me: I don't know, if I haven't started yelling harshly at this point in my life, I can't see myself doing it if I have kids. Bee tee dubs, I have a family. The Hubs, our dogs, and me. 
Person: Smugly. You'll understand someday. But you don't get it. You don't have kids. 

Vignette Six: The Last Straw
Old Eggs [via]
Background: I have a new ob-gyn because my wonderful midwife in her 70s has retired and the practice I went to has closed. This has nothing to do with the new ob-gyn, but I have to share that after about ten years of annual exams with forgettable people, the first time I had an annual with my former midwife, she gave me the most detailed description of my uterus and cervix that I have ever received in my life. She was beautiful. I will never have that again.

Anyway, last week I talked to my new ob-gyn about how I think I want to go off of the pill. I've been reading about hormones and the pill and women's bodies and I am thinking about it, despite the fact that I fear mood swings and adult acne. I want to know-- what's my body like without hormones? Also, maybe I will want to try to have a baby in the next few years. This leads me to my conversation with my new ob-gyn.

Me: I think I want to go off the pill sometime soon. Because hormones. And a maybe-baby if I can get pregnant. In like, a few years.
Ob-gyn: How old are you?
Me: 31.
Ob-gyn: Well, you want to do it before you're 35. You are born with all of the eggs you're ever going to have. You just carry those eggs around with you for your whole life. The longer you carry those eggs with you, the more tossed around and worn they get, ya know? Haha, you know what I mean. You have a huge chance of birth defects after 35 because your eggs are just getting old.
Me: No pressure or anything.
Me (internally overacting because all of the above vignettes combined to make my emotions boil over in total anger and annoyance-- I know he was just doing his job and there is truth in his words but I was still super irritated): So I guess I should just pregnant RIGHT NOW because my precious eggs probably have CRACKS ALL OVER THEM. And since I'm 31, they must have MOLD GROWING ALL OVER THEM so I'm probably going to have a MOLDY MAYBE-BABY. Also, I guess the Hubs and I and the dogs aren't a REAL FAMILY because we don't have kids. Plus, I am doing a HORRIBLE job populating the WHOLE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. And these HIPS? They need to be used for CHILDBEARING, RIGHT?! IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE SAYING, SIR?!

Here is the point, my friends. I don't hate people with kids. I want to try to have kids someday, which I will be writing about in my next post. This is a PSA. Remember that not every person needs to hear every thought you have on the subject of baby-having because maybe that person is thinking about their own stuff and they have their own plans and the comments have maybe been piling up more and more with every passing birthday and it's annoying, ya dig?

1 comment:

Sarabeth Brown said...

Being a thirty-something married woman sans kids in Senegal... I totally feel ya.

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