maternal instinct

An acquaintance of mine, a med student, asks me, “Do you have any kids?” I laugh and say, no, no, not me, ha ha ha, very funny there, move along. Then he points to my wedding ring. “Well, that kind of goes to say you’ll be having them at some point, right?” I become self-righteous – or not self-righteous, but somebody-else-righteous – “No,” I explain carefully, “I didn’t get married to have children.”

But I want them. This terrifies me on a regular basis. Probably about three years ago I started noticing babies in that MUST HAVE BABY sense I had always heard about, always feared of. The all-powerful Biological Clock had started ticking for me. Only mine doesn’t seem to tick down; it’s ticking up, accumulating seconds and minutes and hours that I’ve felt this need, until finally my still-punkish twentysomething persona will give way to Donna Reed.

Or not. Maybe I can still be cool and be a mom. After all, my mom did it. She’s the coolest woman I know, and she had ME to deal with. Major points in her favour. Maybe I won’t have to succumb to the phases of annoying I see mothers going through on a regular basis: the “oh look, Johnny made a poopoo” phase, the “don’t touch that, don’t say that” phase, the “over my dead body, young lady” phase. No, I won’t. I will have to suffer through them all; that’s what mothers do, in the name of motherhood, and of propagation of the species.

I don’t want to propagate. I want an adventure. I want to experience the immense, jarring love for a child. Even the pain and the worry. I want it all. Sometimes I hate saying I want it; mostly, I’ve come to terms with it. It took a while. For a long time, I didn’t even think about it, since I would obviously never find anyone who would (a) be decent enough to brew genes with, and (b) stick around that long. Now that I’m married (still adjusting to this concept) and supposedly do have an automagic built-in sticker-arounder, and one whose genes are mighty fine indeed, the motherhood thing seems pretty okay. Someday. I mean, it’s a great idea right now, but I don’t want to do it yet.

“I still have a lot of growing up to do,” I grin at Mr. Med Student. He laughs and nods, “Yeah, I hear that. But are you ever ready, are you ever grown up enough to handle being a parent?” His face gets serious. I shrug, and smile, “I guess not, but someday I’ll definitely be less not-ready than I am right now.” And I will be. I hope we’ll have taken our honeymoon by then.

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