Friday, January 25, 2013

Beware the Breeders

The mom with the slew of teenage kids was pretty lit by the time she approached me. Her delicate, fifty-something face was utterly serious. "You're the baby's mother, right?"

I didn't like where this was going but I was tired and comfortably seated on the living room floor. I smiled. "Yes."

"I had my first child when I was 34..."

"Ohmigod, me too!" I interrupted, hoping a dose of goofball levity might spare me whatever diatribe was incoming.

It was too late. "...and now I have five children and you should just know, kids are God's greatest blessing. Family is the most important thing. Your love knows no limits. Having more kids will only make you happier. The most important thing is family." Oh, boy, she was super drunk, just dumping her heart out, redundantly. "People will try to tell you, oh, there's not enough money." She shook her head. "That's just... that's just garbage. God only gives what you can take." Considering that her husband is a surgeon, that last statement was almost logical.

I don't know what possesses a tipsy breeder to accost a stranger at a party and advise her about family planning. Oddly, this is not an uncommon experience. You'd think I have the words "one and done" tattooed on my forehead. It happens that I have no interest in bearing another child. While I don't often volunteer this information, it doesn't matter because the breeders know it and they are determined to change my mind. Nothing I say can convince them that I know what I want. They assume I can't comprehend the joys of a large family (I'm the sixth of seven children). They tell me that it's so much easier after the first kid because you don't sweat the small stuff, and by the fourth or fifth kid you don't stress over anything (again, I'm the sixth of seven kids, I know all about that). They tell me that I shouldn't worry too much about the money because it will all be just fine (I do know the comfort of not worrying too much about the money because it's a completely new experience for Dan and me these past couple years AND I'M NOT ABOUT TO FUCK IT UP).

Then there are the "oops" parents. They're more down-to-earth than the breeders, but just as determined to reel me in. They mention something about the future, "when you have another kid." I say, "Nope, I'm just having one." Then they get this weird gleam in their eyes and say, "Ha ha ha, that's what I thought," like they're wishing me an unwanted pregnancy. And I don't know what to say to that but I'm tempted to shoot back, "Ha ha ha, then I guess I'll have an abortion." Do we really want to go that conversational route? Listen, oops parents, you're presuming a great deal about my birth control methods and revealing a lot about your own. The chit-chat's getting awfully personal, don't you think?

All of which is my roundabout way of saying, mind your own business! Attention, everyone: I don't care if you decide to have zero, one or fifteen kids. I trust that you know what you want and hope the outcome either matches your desire or somehow makes you happier than you expected. I hope you hope the same for me. And if you don't, that's okay. As long as I don't have to hear it, your opinion is just fine with me.

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