Saturday, February 11, 2006

I told you about Lisa, whom I met on the phone a couple weeks ago. We met for Indian food for lunch and determined we have parallel lives. (She: International Banking. Me: Extreme backgammon!) I recall mentioning here that men at the next table were trying to hear our irreverent and bawdy conversation. I ran into Lisa on Thursday afternoon and we picked up the conversation where we'd left off the week before. We are so meant to be friends.

The subject of children came up. I told her that husband and I tried for about 7 years to have a baby, and were unsuccessful, with nary a late period or miscarriage to boast of. At last, we went to a fertility specialist a few years ago, and they told us there was nothing wrong with either of us. I'm still ovulating and healthy, and my husband has "super sperm" (their term, not mine). [You DID want to hear all this awkwardly personal shit about me, didn't you?] Lisa said they'd never used birth control and have never gotten pregnant in the last 7 years, so it was weird we have THAT in common too.

Naturally, talk turned to the rudeness of relatives and sundry who say "when are YOU going to have a baby?" in the same sort of tone they would use to accuse someone of stabbing a puppy. Wow, it happens to Lisa, too! Like me, one of the things she hates about going to church is that unless you have pounded out an infant-- almighty fruit of your stronger vessel's loins-- other women can't think of a thing to talk to you about. Because, as is commonly known, we childless women spend all our free time stewing goats' heads, organizing Bacchanalia and involved in subversive activities like reading and extreme knitting. I feel decadent just thinking about it!

I told of how at the restaurant after my Grandmother's funeral in July, everyone was admiring my sister's lovely children (whom I worship, as you know). A kindly cousin from the other side of my family had come to be supportive of me and my folks, and this was very sweet. Alas, her apocalyptic redneck spouse came too, and you could hear the oxygen sucked utterly out of the room when he asked "so when are you and husband going to have one of those???" Somewhere across town, a bit of cutlery clinked on porcelain. I turned to him, unflinching, and said "Apparently, we are infertile." It was an "oh shit" moment I'm sure everyone was gossiping about for days. After a couple minutes sputtering, he choked out an apology.
Lisa said she would try that response in future.

Lisa: One aunt told us we owe it to the world to have children, and that they would probably be incredible athletes. My husband said 'do you not think our children could be incredible rocket scientists?'"
(Not having met him, I LOVE her husband for placing greater importance on thinking children than performing children)
Me: How is it people don't recognize they are being very presumptuous in their questions?
Lisa: I don't know. Short of telling them to fuck off, what do you say?
Me: Should I start every conversation with women at church by telling of my experiences with the fertility doctors and the alien vaginal sonar probe they used to find out I'm healthy and normal? Should I say God is punishing us? Should I say God has rewarded us and we're about to buy a vacation home in the Caribbean?
Lisa: You shouldn't have to say anything. People shouldn't be so rude.
Me: I could say that the next step with our fertility program was to get injected with drugs so we could have a whole litter!
Lisa: Yeah! Who wouldn't want 7 babies at one time? That's crazy talk.
Me: Yeah! One for each teat!

We were HOWLING, darlings. I'm loving me some Lisa. More to come, no doubt. I can't wait for the day I can blog about how our husbands will be dazzled to see us both in one room. She already told me her husband is going to say "oh no. there's another one."


Liz said...

Well, I have pounded one out and I can say that I still indulge in Bacchanalia and please don't blashpheme the extreme knitting because I've just discovered I can make money at it.

And having a child doesn't stop the questions. Everyone wants to know when I'm going to provide my child with a brother or sister. They get a bit taken aback when I reply that early menopause seems to have put the kibosh on that plan. Because, whilst *they* are entitled to *ask* personal questions; God knows I'm such a slut for actually responding to them in a factual manner. People want all the details until you provide them.

And, of course, I'm going to hell for having an only child because we all know that they cause all the trouble in the world. My husband being the prime example. (Thought you'd get a laugh from that one!)


Ben Heller said...

I hate it how people assume that you get together with a partner just to pro-create.

It puts the couples under unnecessary pressures to justify their relationship.

phlegmfatale said...

Well put, Liz. "People want all the details until you tell them." Exactly. And yes, that was a laugh - Jeff is an absolute lamb - the world needs more like him.

Too true, ben. It's very herd-like - must make more of ourselves -it's why we are here. Baaa! Baaaa!

Dammit - we tried - nature had other plans and we adjusted - don't torment us! Sheesh.

Zelda said...

I wish I could donate whatever I got to you. I can get pregnant if fart too loudly.

From the other end of the spectrum, so to speak, I dislike how we are defined by our reproductive capabilites at all. As much as I love my children and even as much as I would like to have more, I don't want to be personally defined by them. I do have other things I want to talk about besides teething and pooping and tantrums.

So many mom friends have this complex where they feel guilty if they talk about anything except their children and their parenting skills. It drives me mad.