On One Hand

June 21, 2007

Postpartum

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:42 pm

I love how idealistic women get right after they have babies. I don’t mean that in a depricating way, it’s just that the crazy paradigm shift of suddenly having a new child who consumes your full attention nearly every moment of every day, combined with drastic hormonal changes, ends up throwing you into a bizzare dreamworld of emotion and shock. You say things that come out of left-field and don’t realize they’re unusual. Two year ago, one of my friends, then 17 years old, had a baby girl and told me she would be willing to surrogate for me when I want to have a baby. At the time she was sitting on the edge of her bed in her parents’ basement, showing us videos of her traumatic cesarean section while a small electric pump sucked milk out of her exposed breast through a transluscent rubber suction cup.

“I really love the feeling of carrying a child,” she said, “and I’d love to do it again, for you to have a baby. Just let me know. I’m really willing to do it.”

I thanked her and tried not to laugh, just 18 years old and nowhere near thinking about where I’ll get my children from. But my friend continued, “just don’t tell James,” (her husband), “because he wouldn’t want me to. He’d be weird about it. But let me know if you want me to do that for you.”

So the gist of it is, my friend is going to carry and give birth to a child without her husband knowing, passing it on to me unnoticed. She’s saying this after having a baby fully two weeks overdue through a surgical procedure that left her with a 6-inch scar on her belly and gave her family a world of worry during the numerous complications leading up to the unusual birth.

“I’ll see what I get worked out,” I said, “I still have to meet someone, and, you know, it’s not just dependent on me.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Well, let me know.”

Four years later, around the same time of year, I’m sitting on a futon with my boyfriend, Garrett, whose brother just became a father. Garrett’s mother-in-law, holding her first child, sits cross-legged on the floor of Garrett’s apartment as the baby nurses. Her husband is just behind her in a chair. Joanna tells us that having a baby is an incredible experience.

“It really changes everything,” she says, bouncing her baby with its face buried in her chest. “You guys should have children. I mean, adopt them, but you really should have children.”

I look at my boyfriend of just under one month. I smile. He smiles back. The baby sighs and nestles its head deeper into her mother’s chest.

“Yeah,” I say. It’s cute. I nod. “I’d like to have children. Someday.”

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