As a mid-to-late twenty-something, I often encounter new mothers gushing (no pun intended….okay, maybe a little) about the joy brought into their lives when an aggressively parasitic abdominal tumor ripped through their crotch and was given a name.
I just don’t know what I’m missing, it seems.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s a tough job and someone’s got to do it—the species literally depends on the maternal type. But they lose me when they say it has given them purpose.
No, silly. Not porpoise. PURPOSE. That thing which gives you meaning, direction, joie de vivre. As I reflect on this notion of not truly having achieved the apex of my feminine value by considering my uterus a more or less vestigial organ, I can’t help but wonder aloud.
Is it taboo to question whether parenthood might not be a sacred rite of self actualization?
For one, anybody with functioning reproductive organs or enough money can become one. This makes me worry that the bar is already set pretty damn low.
Secondly, there is no exam you have to pass to prove you won’t accidentally smother your new baby by thinking the diaper goes over the wrong end. This is equally concerning. For every parent who seems like they’re “doing it right” there are at least a dozen who make me fear for the future of the human gene pool.
Perhaps what provokes dread in me the most, however, is the people who say you’ve already likely become a parent and don’t know it. In fact, you’ve likely killed your baby (and, therefore, your porpoise) before he or she was even acknowledged in your womb.
You know the person I’m talking about, right? The one whose sister’s husband’s best friend’s wife’s cousin was taking birth control RELIGIOUSLY (red flag!) and STILL got knocked up. She was poppin pills like tic-tacs and blowing on more latex than a clown at a birthday party. This unexpectant mother always keeps the miracle baby in these stories, and it’s now the best thing that has ever happened to her, in her own words.
Or mayhap you’ve heard the tale of the woman whose birth control somehow managed to be effective her whole adult life until she reached age 34.8 and decided she wanted spawn—until— her doctor told her the pills had rendered her sterile and she tasted the bitter irony of her wasted youth! So much sperm spilt upon her all those years and for nothing!!! NOTHING!
It’s stories like these that make me want to get pregnant immediately, then take a hanger to my cervix and squeeze the thing out into a mason jar and mail it to them. That’s what I call “Prego”. What a bunch of assholes.
Maybe just maybe, parenthood doesn’t have to fit inside a shiny golden box, placed on the highest shelf of beautiful possibilities. Maybe you wanted kids, had them, and wished you hadn’t. Just because you love them now doesn’t mean they weren’t a mistake at the time. You just learn to live with it, much like all your other remotely shitty decisions like that ikea couch that looked totally mod in the catalog but feels like cement.
If you’ve had an abortion, the last thing you should feel is shame. You should feel way more shame if you had become a genital wart of a parent and doomed some poor kid to a shitty childhood. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a life with a lot more options for your savings account than someone else’s future college fund. There’s nothing wrong with being selfish and not wanting to wake up every 4 hours to offer your tit to some greedy little suckling. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll change my mind, but for now I refuse to operate under our culture’s fantasized view of parenthood.
I guess all I’m saying is, what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander. Especially when it comes to what you do with your eggs.
What do you think?