My Business

I don’t particularly like the gaggle of chatty, gossipy women who are my office-mates. I like them even less when I wake up too late to have coffee before leaving the house. But I don’t show it openly, don’t flaunt my irritation — instead, I wall myself up in my cubicle, put on conspicuous headphones, and there I mostly remain, devouring podcasts.

This morning, I was carefully walking heel-to-toe with a brimming cup of coffee — my first of the day — when one of said coworkers asked, “So when are you going to have a baby?”

My uterus is far from empty. Inside, there is a lifeless object, detectable via ultrasound or MRI — an IUD, my second to be specific, and far from my last, to be even more so. My husband and I do not use condoms  — at this point, what would it matter? — but the hormones secreted by the T-shaped piece of plastic are ten times more effective than the Pill. One in one thousand women using it get pregnant annually, and each one lasts five years. I like those odds. And I don’t plan on removing this on until it expires — in 2019.

I am 26 and barely on my feet financially — there are student loans with five figures, car loans, credit card debt, and on-going psychiatric expenses, including three different medications. He is 37, and has just paid off his student loans, though he has others, of course: a car, a geo-thermal unit — we all have our debts. As it stands, he works for a university where annual raises do not keep pace with the cost of living. We downsized from a four bedroom house to a one-bedroom loft. Buying things involves constantly juggling plastic cards, his and mine, and keeping a steady eye on which ones are maxed.

I would like to be told when my sex life became a break-room-worthy topic of discussion. Of course, no one views it that way — the sex you have for fun is taboo, but baby-making sex is a public affair. If I were to tell this coworker that we’re thinking of attempting pregnancy soon, what would be the follow-up? Oh, that’s so exciting!? And what if I were to say we were already ‘trying,’ which is code for “having a lot of sex at the proper time in the hope that I’ll be impregnated,” what then? How long? would certainly be the next question — meaning, how long have you and your husband been fucking bareback? Even if that image never entered this ridiculous woman’s ridiculous mind, it certainly surfaced in me: a tacky neon faux-pas.

My husband and I have been together for about three years, and have been married for three months and a day. Clearly we must be dissatisfied, and eager to get to the next stage of things. After all, I am 26, and not getting any younger.

Neither, however, is the monster living in my brain. It grows daily, in new and surprising ways. I cannot stand loud noises, particularly if they’re drawn out and high-pitched. I sleep early in the evening, and nap on the weekends, exhausted from relaxation. I cry, and shake, and need my husband’s arms around me to make it stop.

But yes — I’m ready to toss all my sanity-pills in the trash for a child. Thank you for asking.

I had no idea until today that such a question could feel so violating, that saying something along the lines of oh god, no — never would have to be spoken to a stranger whose face I know but whose name I haven’t ever bothered to remember. I couldn’t even look her in the eye — it had to be said, to shut down the conversation for good (I’m certain there was much tittering about the newlywed who didn’t dream of a quiver-full), but being thought of as not a baby person carries a certain stigma.

It’s different once it’s your own.

It’s difficult, but motherhood is a woman’s greatest reward.

Every child is a precious gift.

All of that equates to you are a woman who doesn’t want a child — what’s wrong with you?

Since I put it so bluntly earlier, I’ll repeat the tone now, and say:

I may not want a child, but at least I have the manners not to pry into someone else’s marriage bed to satisfy my curiosity.

That being said, I will babysit for any and every parent I know. Believe me, I do not envy your position so I will set you free, out into the world where you can be human adults once more. Your children will be fed nothing but ice cream until they expend all of their energy being insane and crash hard. If they get a cavity, send me the bill.

You’ve paid enough.

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