So, we have an appointment at a fertility clinic. I am pre-depressed just thinking about it, and have spent most of the day dealing with the kind of low-grade anxiety and embarrassment that only a major life event like this can provoke. My brain helpfully reminds me about every stupid thing I’ve ever said online or in person.
I’d like to hide under the covers all day, but one of the most fun parts of being a freelancer is that you kind of can’t do that — not if you have something else going on later in the week. Which is not to say, of course, that people with jobs can just hide when they don’t feel like working. We’re all sort of screwed in the American workforce right now, and should probably move to Europe, possibly Scandinavia, so that we can enjoy that sweet socialism and lengthy vacations.
All of this would be easier if I weren’t exactly of two minds about having kids. On the one hand, I caught myself telling Himself the other day that maybe we should consider IVF if nothing else works, because I see the childless years stretching ahead of me and some days I wonder if I’ll be happy if we don’t have kids. Maybe it’s worth (what I perceive to be) the risk.
On the other hand, as I’ve often said, most of my friends who have kids soooort of seem like they want to kill themselves. Having a child in the 21st century in America is not a laugh a minute. There’s the class anxiety, in which you’re always trying to make sure that little Harper or Atticus doesn’t wind up sliding down the hierarchy into starvation and minimum wage slavery, and the fact that everyone is a goddamn expert now and has access to the internet, so they can tell you about it and judge you in public.
There’s the fact that you’re supposed to breastfeed until the kid is 6 now, and never leave them alone until they go off to college, and spend all your time enriching them and cutting their food into appealing shapes. Speaking of food, kids don’t eat what adults eat anymore, the way we did when I was a kid and my mom responded to my disdain for chicken croquets by telling me that it was rude to comment on my food, and if I didn’t like it, I was to sit there quietly in front of my plate, not making faces, until I was allowed to leave the table.
There are the fucking birthday parties, which drive all my parent-friends to drink on an annual basis, and which require homemade banners and prizes and activities and gift bags more intricate than the ones we gave away at our wedding.
Still, with all that, I still want one. I think we’d be good parents, is part of it. We’re super not-terrible people, and we’ve both had lots of therapy, and we have a lot of love to lavish on the little monster.
Can I tell you honestly what the scariest part of the appointment is, for me? I’m secretly afraid I’ll be judged. Like, the doctor will look at me and my information and go, “Fat, old, not very patient. Shouldn’t have a baby. Next!”
I’m 95 percent certain that’s not going to happen, though. I mean, that describes most of the parents in the world, after all. It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine.
Photo by Cole Townsend/New Old Stock