I’ll forewarn you dear reader that I’ve been grouchy all day. I took a rerack this morning, which meant having to rush to get ready for work in twenty minutes and making a very bad choice about to what to wear. I chose my high-waisted pinstripe pants and high-heel ankle boots. Thus, while I looked pretty good—surprisingly tall and skinny for moi-- I’ve been extraordinarily uncomfortable all day due to a wedgie and pinched toes. So, there, that’s the preliminary to the following post.
I turned 32 last week and have reached, I'd say, that window period for having children. I have a stable partner, a decent job, and I'm not getting any younger. “It’s now or never.” “I just wished I’d done it sooner. “You don’t want to be pregnant at 40, trust me.” I hear this kind of thing all day long: at work, at parties, at Sunday lunches, from Spanish people, from Americans, from men at meetings in London, from old ladies at the gym. But today, today I think takes the cake, today I’ve been hounded by the mother sect on three separate occasions.
After a rather uneventful morning at work, all stuffed into my pants, I hailed a cab and headed up to Eixample to meet my friend Emma for lunch. Emma is 38, a tireless worker and mother to an eight-year-old. She's a great friend---thoughtful, bubbly, creative, and six-months pregnant. It was a long lunch, and about half of the time we talked about having children. Well Emma talked, she basically campaigned and I simply tried to play defense.
Instead of explaining the real reasons why I haven't gotten pregnant, I made excuses: I’m working a lot, I don’t have family here, etc. But Emma had a righteous answer to each and every excuse. “Everyone works; it’s just a matter of prioritizing.” “You have to make your own new extended family of friends, a network.”
But I'm quite confident that I could prioritize and I know I could form a network, I already have! There isn't a doubt in my mind that "everything would work out" or "that I'd find a way." But you see, that really isn't the issue. I don’t need a pep talk. I’m just not entirely sure that I want to have kids. Being able to handle it isn't enough, and perhaps I want other things in life.
As I hobbled from lunch to the metro, I tried not to get angry. The woman’s pregnant, she’s excited, just let her be, I thought. Anyway, I had another very important task at hand: waxing. While waiting at the waxing center, I enjoyed about 20 minutes of peace: I was off my feet and able to read the Spanish edition of In Touch magazine and a bunch of the Bin Laden coverage in the Times. Then, Cristina, my wonderful waxer called out “Scarlett!” I gave her a hug and two Spanish kisses and said, “I’m so glad to see you back! How’s your baby?”
Cristina reported that the baby is growing very quickly and muy guapa, of course, and then she looked down at my stomach, shook her head from side to side, and said, “And you when?” And then it began, half an hour of hot waxing and yet another sermon on why one should have children NOW. No waiting, no reasoning, no thinking, just do it. By the time, I got my clothes back on I felt like I’d been through a small battle and my wedgie was really bothering me. As I left, Cristina asked, "But you do want kids, don't you?" A part of me wanted to reply, "No, didn't you realize I'm a selfish bitch?" But I just nodded and said assured her, "Of course I do."
Before heading home, I decided to see if I could find some comfortable cotton pants for work. And, in one of the day’s small victories, I found a non-wedgie-giving pair fairly quickly. Just as I was coming out of the dressing room, feeling fairly content, I saw Llucia, a reporter I used to work with. I recognized her even from behind, she's got the narrowest of shoulders and this amazingly thick, shiny auburn bun.
It was only when I said her name and she turned around that I felt slightly faint. There she was Llucia Riba, the single career girl extraordinaire, pregnant. “Hey,” she said pointing proudly to her belly. “I’m just trying to find something I can wear this summer with this guy.”