Here’s a confession: I never wanted to have kids. In fact, I was always that person who everyone thinks is a cold, heartless robot, because she most definitely does NOT want to hold your baby. In fact, I think before I actually had a baby, I’d only held like two other babies in my whole life. I was terrified of them, sort of.
My pregnancy, at 28, was an accident. But it was a happy one, and if I could relive that part of my life over and over again, I would always choose to get pregnant and have my son.
And it turned out, once I had a kid, that I do like kids after all. If you have a baby and I meet it, just know that I will not bite its fat little thighs, but I will for sure be thinking about it. I will color with your five-year-old and listen to her tell long rambling stories about her imaginary dog. If we are good enough friends, I will even babysit for free!
And not only do I like kids now, but for a long time I thought I might have a second one. As an only child myself, I thought it might be nice for Oliver to have a sibling with whom he can share a mutual hatred of me in his teenage years.
I came close to having that second kid, but it was cut short at about the 12th week of pregnancy when I had a particularly traumatic (physically, emotionally) miscarriage. And then, of course, I divorced Oliver’s dad.
I’m now in a relationship with a man who I would consider my soul-mate, if that is actually a thing. I want to sit on the same side of the table with him at restaurants. We hold hands when we walk. We are those gross people who spoon in bed all the time. I’m sorry. It’s beautiful and disgusting at the same time, I know.
Having a baby with Jeff would probably cement our connection to one another and all that crap. But there is no way in hell I am having a baby with this man.
First, the the thought of having a baby and starting over from scratch is just. No. I remember the sleep deprivation just fine. Also, I know how much it costs to send a baby to daycare, not to mention the other expenses, like diapers and doctors’ visits. Babies go to the doctor like every month, I swear.
The biggest reason I cannot have another baby is this: I would be stuck in the same position as I was before I divorced my ex and became a part-time parent. I live 2,000 miles away from my nearest relative, and it’s tough to take care of a baby when you have no familial support system. I envy those people who live in the same town as their family and can send the kids to grandma’s house for a night if they need a break.
As strange as it sounds, one of the great things about being divorced is the support system it created. Now it’s not just me and my ex taking care of Oliver, but it’s me, Jeff, my ex and my ex’s girlfriend. If Oliver is sick or I’m stuck in traffic and won’t be able to pick him up from school in time, there’s someone I can call.
It would also add a complicated dimension to my relatively uncomplicated relationship with Jeff. We wouldn’t just be romantic partners, but parents. I’ve been there and done that and I like having uninterrupted alone time with my manpanion every now and then.
The problem is, my ovaries are like, screaming at me to have another baby. This goes against every rational thought I have on the matter. In the last year or so, and especially the last two months, I’ve felt this longing to be pregnant and have another baby. Ugh.
My friends had a daughter last year who may in fact be the Cutest Baby in the World™, and every time I see her my uterus aches and I just want to be pregnant immediately. It’s crazy. I guess that biological clock thing that everyone talks about is happening to me, hard.
It makes sense: after all, I’ll turn 36 in November. The window for baby-making is closing fast, and my body is letting me know. Shut up, body! This uterine lining will continue to shed at its regularly scheduled time until menopause, OK? Imagine, if you will, a tiny paint-on-plywood sign attached to my uterine wall that reads “NO BABIES ALLOWED,” because I’m weird.
Clearly, the only thing that will fill the void created by my sad, empty uterus is a cat.
I spent a good amount of time trolling cat adoption sites and making Jeff crazy by sending him cat pictures all day at work until he caved. “FINE, get the damn cat!” Not my proudest moment, but hey. Kitty victory.
Our friends happened to have a stray cat who had set up shop in their yard and had a litter of kittens. The kittens were completely feral, but the mom cat was so sweet and obviously belonged to someone at some point, and they wanted to find a home for her. She can’t be more than a year old herself, she was infested with fleas and scary-skinny, like cartoon-alley-cat skinny.
My friends had her spayed and flea-treated and immunized. She handled the forced sterilization from her human overlords pretty well, and she is the most relaxed, gentle cat ever.
So of course we took her, this Teen Mom cat that I can mother since I will probably never mother a human baby again. Is this how people become crazy cat ladies?
I named her Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons, after the "Game of Thrones" character, thus proving my fake geekdom, I guess. We took Khaleesi away from her kittens (don’t worry, they’re about three months old now), and now she’s all, “Where are my dragons?” I feel you, kittenface, I feel you.
I’m definitely employing helicopter-cat-parenting techniques and checking in on her often. She’s eating the holistic, high protein, no wheat/corn cat food I bought for her, and I’m even looking at whether making cat food for her is feasible (it would require a meat grinder, I know that much).
This all follows the pattern of Oliver’s babyhood, when I bought him organic everything and worried about our choice to use disposable diapers and bought this way-too-comprehensive baby food book called “Super Baby Food.” Except now I’m doing all this with a cat.
In any case, it’s filling the void. At the very least, I can ignore the death screams of my eggs as they jump down my fallopian tubes each month, never to become the babies that my body thinks it wants.
How about you guys? Are you filling a childless void (whether by choice or circumstance) with cats? Or is that just me?