Babies. They are alternately adorable and disgusting, like all human beings. They’re far from perfect, angelic bundles-of-only-joy, and though I hate to have be the one to say this, the misshapen heads, and red, wrinkled faces of newborns pushed out the old-fashioned way and not cut from the womb via c-section, are only beautiful to new parents and close family members.
Not to be nasty, but I’m sick of people bugging me about babies or the lack thereof of in my belly. I attempt to make it clear I’m not preggers or trying by throwing back whatever alcohol is served in short order and happily consuming raw fish and unpasteurized cheeses and cured meats, but nothing seems to work. At social engagement after social engagement, people seem to misinterpret my devil-may-care attitude about food-poisoning as the final fling before taking the plunge into child-rearing.
My husband says it’s cultural (since most of the people nagging me are Spanish, we live in Spain, and I’m an American), but I don’t buy it. In my own personal, one-woman culture, it’s terribly rude (not to mention off-putting) to ask people about reproductive issues (to baby or not to baby), especially when, in many cases, the people making inquiries aren’t even close friends or relatives.
Because whoever these misguided individuals are, in this day and age everyone knows or should know that some people can’t have kids and still others simply don’t want to have them. Who knows, perhaps it’s a point of contention in the relationship and one partner wants kids and the other doesn’t?
Having or not having kids is a personal decision that couples and individuals have to make on their own terms.
At any rate, recent comments are going straight to my head and inciting cruel little imaginary dialogues where I smack down those individuals that have the nerve to push my limits and my do-not-discuss buttons.
Maybe the next time someone asks me about kids, or makes my existence seems less meaningful because I haven’t yet gone through the physiological horrors of pregnancy, I’ll break down and tell them how “we’ve been trying since we first got married, but…” and trail off into sloppy, snot-nosed tears. Because frankly, for all they know, we don’t have kids because we’re not able and we’re secretly miserable about it.
Or perhaps I’ll get angry and progressively raise my voice until I’m pretty much yelling about how it’s not my fault, my husband doesn’t want children, and what am I supposed to do?
Or maybe I’ll sneer and tell them that I’d rather go without offspring then raise them here, in a country where people pee in the street and eat excessive quantities of pork. Because while Spanish ham is lovely, it doesn’t constitute a food group all its own.
Because in all honesty, when people are rude to me and make me uncomfortable on a regular basis, I stop caring about if it’s “cultural”pretty fast and my instincts tell me to make them cringe, and think twice.
To those of you who know me, and those of you who have yet to meet me, I’ll say this: The fact that I’m almost 30 and I’ve been married for five years does not mean I have to start popping out little Americano-Spaniards or make anyone an aunt, uncle or a grandparent. Which doesn’t mean I hate babies, but even if I did, it’s no one’s business but my own and my husband’s, so there. If I want to have a family of porcelain dolls and calico cats, that’s up to me. No amount of raised eyebrows, wagging tongues or societal pressure is going to convince me that I should have children when some “Reproductive Inquisition” formed of people who don’t know how to keep their opinions to themselves tell me I must.
In other notes on child-rearing culture, I don’t approve of baby-talk, or random people asking to touch pregnant women’s stomachs. So if I one day become pregnant, or am seen carrying around a tiny human being, be forewarned and cut the cutesy crap.
In the end, if and when someone decides to raise their own little monsters is completely up to them. Pressure from family, friends or anyone, is way, way, out of line.