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OH BABY BABY

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OH BABY BABY

Cindy Maddera

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The earth is pregnant. Well of course, the earth is pregnant. The earth is always pregnant. It's just that suddenly I feel as if I am surrounded by pregnancies. Amy and Roger will introduce little Charlotte to us sometime in May. Three people in my group at work have announced that they will be welcoming new babies into their families sometime this Fall. Chelsea Clinton even announced that she is expecting in the Fall. I've done so much online window shopping for baby things lately, that I keep getting ads in my email and on fb for all things baby. Before I go any further with this entry, let me just say that I am not pregnant. But I will say that I have not been entirely immune to the pregnancy hormones emitting around me. There have been some twinge and kicks in my ovaries for sure, yet I remain steadfast in my decision. Michael and I have discussed children. He believes that it would be nice if the Cabbage had a sibling as long as it doesn't come from him. I think he felt pretty lucky to finally meet a woman who didn't want kids. We have discussed our options in birth control. I have been on the pill forever, since 18. Twenty years. I just now realized that I have been taking the same birth control pill for twenty years now. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I eat oatmeal for breakfast. Tuesday and Thursdays are tofu scramble for breakfast days and every day before I brush my teeth, I swallow a little blue pill (along with some other vitamins). The birth control pill is the ideal drug for someone with OCD tendencies. It's so organized. Michael has concerns about me being on the pill for so long and at my age. There are concerns that extended use of the pill could increase my risk of cervical cancer. The year before last I had some irregular cells in my pap. Last year, my doctor made a big deal of those weird cells and how important the pap test was for me now. That was also the same time she found the lumps in my breast that turned out to be nothing cysts. I was pretty worried. I'd lay awake wondering what I'd do if I had cervical and breast cancer all at the same time. Thankfully, all tests came back good. No cancer. No weird cells. All that worry is now just a memory that I don't even think of as I gulp down my little blue pill every morning.

But being surrounded by pregnancies and babies has made me soft. I look at Amy's beautiful round belly and burst into tears. I just can't believe she's having a baby. Then I want to amend that statement to "I can't believe she's having a baby and Chris isn't here to see it". And that adds a few extra sobs to this moment of crying. I watch Call the Midwife while walking on the treadmill with a box of tissue because every birth makes me happy cry and my heart swell up. At my yearly exam last week my doctor asked me if I had any plans to have children on my own. I said "no", but it came out in that hesitant voice I tend to use when someone asks me if I want a slice of pizza. But when the doctor looked at me with a raised eyebrow, I more firmly said "no. NO." No. I'm too old (I'm not too old, but I know too much science and the misalignment rate of chromosomes goes from 20% at age 35 to 75% at age 40). I am in this weird place, two old for babies, too young for menopause. Michael and I have haphazardly disused permanent solutions to birth control. He thinks I should just go ahead get my tubes tied. I have days were I think the same thing. Wouldn't it be great to never buy a box of tampons? This was the moment I could have brought this up with my doctor but I couldn't. Not yet. There's that old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I don't have any issues or problems. I'm healthy. Invasive surgery seems like a stupid idea when everything works properly as it is now. Even though I know in my core that a baby of my own is not in my future, I'm not so sure I'm ready to permanently make it so. All of this brings me to questioning whether or not I'm content or regretful in my decision to remain childless.

I supposed that I would reach an age where I'd start to question my no child stance. It was inevitable. I can honestly tell you that my old biological clock has not started to tick-tock. I remain true to my word and with no regrets because I am not really childless. I'm not just talking about the Cabbage either. I am surrounded by marvelous little kids and some of those little kids are now graduating from high school. They will always be 'little kids'. My earlier excuse for not having my own little bundle was that I felt inadequate to raise a really good human being. Now I find myself in the position of being part of the village that is trying to raise a good human being. It takes a village. I feel less inadequate these days to be part of that village. My reasons now seem more selfish to some, though I will argue differently. I don't see the need to add another drain on the Earth's resources and having a child so that I'll have someone to take care of me when I'm old seems cruel. I am content in this life in, in this choice.

But I am excited with the prospect of squeezing some new babies and shedding a few tears over their miraculous births while sniffing the tops of their newborn heads.