“Congratulations auntie!” read one of the text messages I got yesterday. And awkwardness ensued.
I think my initial witty reply of of ‘Gee, thanks aunt, for congratulating me with the birth of a niece to a brother I haven’t seen or spoken to in well over ten years and who I will most probably never ever get to know. I’m ecstatic!’ would not have gone over well. So I just sent a non-committal reply and left it at that. Same for the picture I later got from my grandma and several other notifications. Huzzah. I’m an aunt. Again. I guess. Yay.
And then I opened my Facebook page, only to find my timeline full with proof of what I’ve always been a firm believer in: wave theory.
Because life – it comes in waves.
You will surely have noticed it. That time in high school when everyone’s interests suddenly switched from flippos, Pokémon and marbles in the playground to boyfriends and girlfriends. When everyone around you suddenly seemed to have ‘a relationship’. Or when you just got out of college and your mailbox filled up with ‘new home’ cards. Or wedding invitations, and later on (or simultaneously, or mixed) with the over-the-top pastel-happy baby-cards. You know, all of those constant reminders that you’re apparently doing something wrong at this point in your life, since you’re not engaging in the events that would merit sending these cards for yourself.
And while we’re up to our necks in wave two of COVID-19, I also now find myself in wave two of the baby season in my life. Because now, after my own age-appropriate-acquaintances, all of the(ir) younger siblings start popping out babies left and right. And the younger friends made to replace the ones who became home-bound parents now also start to commit to baby-drama. (Can I possibly go any younger with new friends?!). Plus there’s the we-started-just-out-of-college families who’re now starting up on round two for babies. Everywhere I look. Babies. Babies. Babies.
My estranged brother, the lovely high school couple that always remained friends, the trainer from my old softball team, the aunt of the new lover of that old high school friend (the things you get on your timeline, jeez!) and the list goes on and on. Which, in truth, is totally lovely for them. Truly. I hope the (Stepford Wives-esquely brought) ‘but you get so much in return’ sentence holds true for each and every one of them.
For me, however, that just means another round of questions. Looks of pity or confusion. Words of judgment and rejection. Because OH NO…I don’t want a little poop machine for myself. GASP!
Even in 2020, even with all the advancements and freedoms and progression we’ve made (and are making) on all of these hot topics – not wanting kids as a female in a fertile period is still frowned upon. Which is fine, I suppose. Frown all you want. But it never stays at just frowning – because asking for the ‘why’ of something THAT (I’d say) personal is perfectly acceptable. As it turns out. Because that is an opinion and choice that must be defended, instead of accepted.
‘Huh? You don’t want kids? Why is that?’
Wait. Let me get my list. (That’s what I usually reply. Because my list contains every reason in the book to NOT have kids). It’s long. Filled to the brim. And (as I’ve been told) mostly selfish. Oh, boohoo.
Plus, I’ve been assured many a time, ‘my clock is going to start ticking soon enough!’. Because god forbid I’d know my own mind, and body and wishes, right? Biology is going to take over and put me right sooner or later. Pfew. Comforting knowledge!
But until they construct a Build-A-Baby module that guarantees you a healthy, genetically sound and uncompromised lovely baby… one that doesn’t cost a fortune to raise and that doesn’t destruct your social life, home decoration and body – I’m out. As long as there’s no contracts guaranteeing that these monsters will love you as much as advertised, grow up into outstanding citizens and never turn out as evil masterminds, I want no part of it. And since you still pretty much DO need a hubby to procure one of them, I’d say I’m gon’ be good for a good old while. Because guess what: not wanting a baby is (who woulda thunk) one of the MAIN reasons for unmatching these days. All the boys in my dating pool wanna be daddies. And not the sugary kind.
So while everyone around me is catching the wave and learning how to surf…Dya know where I’ll be? On the beach. With a cocktail in each hand. Lounging in the sun and laughing my ass off at the families around me toting WAY TOO MANY bags and sniffling toddlers, and the starter-upper hipster surfers faceplanting on the wet sand. Because I get to make that choice. Always.