For a long time, my foremost goal was to be a mom.
My own mother, who was a homemaker for 15 years before launching a career as a high school teacher, made the gig seem attractive. Mom was insanely attentive to my siblings and me. She was always up for Checkers or fort building, and she successfully masked educational museum visits as Special Adventures. She was strict but nurturing, and, most notably, present -- in that lovingly supportive hammock-beneath-the-planet way.
By preadolescence, I couldn’t wait to babysit since it was the next best thing to momming. In retrospect, it’s odd that I was trusted to look after toddlers at age 12, but because I was terrified of messing up and losing my right to substitute parent, I was as vigilant as a sitter could get.
I played with my charges constantly rather than leave them in front of the television, and after reading at least three bedtime stories during tuck-in, I would clean people’s homes. After all of that work, the $10 an hour I earned still felt like a bonus more than a wage.
My overwhelming urge to mother persisted throughout my teen years. It even trumped any career ambitions I had while studying at Georgetown. Though I always imagined working after graduation, I mostly fantasized about becoming a mother eventually.
Then my older sister got sick.
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, my sister’s prolonged illness definitely had something to do with the evaporation of my need to breed. By the time my 30-year-old sister succumbed to cirrhosis in 2009, the idea of rearing children was anathema.
“Why would I want to invite life on an innocent being?” I would bemoan, much to the dissatisfaction of my mother, who, by then, was prone to sending me newspaper clippings about the ineffectiveness of fertility treatments in case I thought it was OK to wait much longer to procreate.
Perhaps I knew on some level that it would take falling in love to reignite my passion for spawning a small extension of myself. Truthfully, however, I didn’t expect the impulse to ambush me so quickly, nor with such full force.
But here I am, two years into a relationship with a man whom I love dearly, who, accidentally or not, has roused me into a baby-making frenzy. This longing isn’t a lingering, back-burner itch for me. It refuses to wane, even in the face of logistical issues, financial considerations, and the nine-month sobriety mandate. I want to reproduce, nowish.
While this might not surprise other young women—especially those coping with societal pressure in the form of one’s peers popping them out -- my approach to the whole thing might. I am shamelessly baby crazy, you see.
Below is a list of the top 5 baby craziest things I have done so far:
1. I purchased prenatal vitamins.
Then I took a picture of the jar and Texted it to my boyfriend with the following caption: “My vitamin-enriched womb will be the best nest ever! PS: My lady parts miss you!” He responded: “K!” But I was not to be deterred.
2. I gifted my mother with a "Brag Book for Grandmas."
Since my boyfriend and I were scheduled to celebrate my mom’s birthday over dinner with my parents, I figured it would be advantageous to let my boyfriend witness how ecstatic my mom would get at the very mention of “our” intent to have children. To prevent confusion, I prefaced the gift opening by whispering to Mom, “I’m not pregnant -- yet.” The big reveal led to some minor choking but mostly gleeful laughter courtesy of mom.
3. I promised my boyfriend I would have a boy.
This is totally unreasonable and borderline offensive, I know. Plus, my boyfriend is not a terrible person who would prefer a son to a daughter. Still, something inside me sensed that he would warm to the idea of parenting a male who could carry on his surname, barring the chance that the kid turned out to be some anti-establishment rock star who favored a symbol to a name. Sure enough, my boyfriend smiled at the thought of a baby boy. We even agreed that we would refrain from circumcising him.
4. Then I agreed to call my hypothetical baby boy Vladimir.
My boyfriend is of Russian descent and he’s always expressed affection for this name. I think Vladimir is the most cumbersome set of syllables one could impose on an oral cavity. Aside from the pronunciation conundrum, I don’t like the way it looks on the page -- written in print, script, block or bubble letters (yes, I’ve experimented with all). Nevertheless, I figured that consenting to Vladimir might spur my boyfriend’s sperm into fertilize-an-egg mode. After he sees what I endure in the delivery room, he’s likely to let me name the child whatever I want anyway, right?
5. Last but not least, I started talking to my hypothetical baby boy, Vladimir.
The idea occurred to me while sitting with my boyfriend in a movie theater, eating popcorn laced with peanut M&M’s. We were there to see the latest "Twilight" film, so maybe the whole PG-13 thing got to me. Wouldn’t it be fun to go to the movies as a family? I thought. And before I knew it, I was offering a handful of chocolate-y popcorn to an imaginary little Vlad, who was seated to my boyfriend’s left. It took my boyfriend a solid 30 seconds to register what was going on. Then he said, “If you’re going to insist we see Twilight, you don’t get to be baby crazy.”
For the record, I am neither married nor engaged. The term “bastard” doesn’t bother me one bit.