Sunday, November 08, 2009

My Biological Clock is Trying to Tell Me Something: Musings on Motherhood & Children

I was taking a bath earlier today, and I looked down and noticed I was lactating a little. Odd. The chances of me being pregnant I estimate at a billion to one. Yes, I have had sex in the last nine months. But previous to that, I had an IUD implanted, and I bled every day for six months afterwards (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot). Since September I have had a couple of unusual periods, if anything can be unusual after 6 months of bleeding. There are women who have regular periods during pregnancy, yes. There are women who get pregnant even using two kinds of birth control. They are very fertile. I, on the other hand, have always had my doubts about my fertility, since in the past I've had sex without birth control and never had the slightest pregnancy. So, no, I'm not pregnant. If I am, I'll be one of those women you see on talk shows that didn't know they were pregnant until the baby came out.

Well, this got me thinking (sitting in the bathtub thinking is one of the great pastimes of all writers, isn't it?) I've never wanted a child. Sometimes I've never wanted to get married. Sometimes I've never even wanted a partner. But I confess, my biological clock is trying to tell me something. It's dreaming of a baby, and this lactation is its night-emission. Yes, lately I've come to think I would like to raise a child. But having a single mother who can't get out of bed does not make for a great life. I wouldn't be able to carry it around for any length of time after two months, because although I'm strong, I have no endurance and my back pain is too great.

I've often thought that if I became financially and physically able, I could adopt or foster a child. I'm not one of those women who needs to have their 'own' baby - I have some genes that are better not passed on, and I'm not a fan of the whole birth-process, what with the excruciating pain and all. I'd gladly make a home for a child that didn't come from my womb, a child in need of a parent. Most children, I sometimes think, are born out of the needs of the parent(s).

This is a moot question, since I'm sick as hell and just as poor. I don't see these things changing anytime soon, unless a couple miracles happen, like the development of a real treatment for CFS & FM, and someone who cares about me winning the lottery. (I can't afford to play myself).

But, I started thinking about children, and not ready to get out of the bath yet, I continued to think. I've had quite a bit of experience with young children, especially my step-sister's and my best friend's. My brother's kids were graced with three other aunts that are normal, healthy and have cars and money to buy presents. So my services have only been called for once or twice in 8 1/2 years. Also, though it's been denied, my gut tells me they don't trust me. I guess it must be subconscious to them.

I babysat my step-sister's kids for several years, quite frequently, after her second child, her son, was maybe 9 months old. I spent a lot of time with my best friend's kids since they were born too. I noticed I have a very strong empathy with infants and toddlers before they start to talk. I seem to know what they want, need, or are looking for just by watching them. As they start to grow out of the pre-verbal stage, I start losing touch with them. They have more experiences with others, but they don't recognize I haven't been there with them every second of their lives, so there's no pre-explanation for their sentences. This makes it hard to even parse the words, let alone understand what they mean - there's no context at all when I'm faced with a random "Wiggles is Kevin's movie". (At the time, I had not yet been Wiggle-fied and didn't know a "Kevin".)

Once they start school, they have such a wide range of influences and so many activities that I don't know about, they've lost me completely. I have no idea where they are coming from, where they're going to, and how they're getting there, metaphorically speaking. All intuition backfires. I become stupid because I don't know the right words for things. For example, I was reprimanded for calling a coffee mug 'a cup', by a four-year-old: "It's not a cup, it's a MUG!" I could almost hear an unspoken "DUH!!" You see, at that age, things only have one name. If you don't know their version, you must be from another planet. Well, that's how I felt, anyway. Kids are overly-dramatic in their speech. Don't worry I was only hurt for about 2 minutes.

That's as far as I got in my musings. I prefer babies over kids. A lot of people are the opposite, like my cousin who has just had her first child, a daughter. I offered to take G off her hands until she started talking, at which point I would bring her back to mom. ;) Most people like older kids because they can do more things, and ostensibly because they can communicate with you better. Well, with most people. Apparently I am an exception, since I can only understand pre-verbal children (and animals, of course!) I have no idea why this is, since I have always been verbally oriented myself - I've been told I started speaking, all of a sudden, in full sentences, when I was 8 months old - before I could even walk. So this empathic thing with infants makes no sense on that level. But I am intuitive. I am observant. I am psychology-minded, seeing motivations and objectives where other adults see random baby motion. I can see in their eyes what's going on in their heads - learning hand, learning finger, want that! - just by watching. Maybe it's a gift. Shame I'll probably never get to use it on a child of my own.


I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.