Today I overcame what I generally refer to as "baby shower anxiety." Normally when I'm expected to attend baby showers, a great tension spreads throughout my body, I feel a little sick, and I find it incredibly difficult to get ready more than 10 minutes before I'm expected to leave my house (procrastination turned up to eleven). I can't really explain the phenomenon as I also generally have a good time once I arrive, but it's the thought of attending that turns me into a convulsive mess.
Perhaps it has to do with my uncomfortable relationship with babies and babying.
As a product of rural Texas culture, one is expected to baby early. I know a number of people who married shortly out of high school and started having children. I, at 25, am the last of my friends to marry and one of two who don't have children. My mother had me 25 years ago--at the age of 25.*
Last Christmas I had lunch with my dad's side of the family (I see them once a year), and the news that I had a boyfriend spread like wildfire. Wildfire I tell you. The next question out of my grandmother's mouth (sweet lady, but oh GOD) was, "So, when are you planning to start a family?"
*deer in headlights*
Despite the fact that I grew up in a fabulous family, I have issues picturing myself with a family of my own at this point in life. First, I don't have a significant other. Second, even if I did I probably wouldn't want to start making family plans just yet. *Probably* being one of the other reasons I'm uncomfortable with the baby'ness.
A few years ago, when I was in committed relationship, I had a pregnancy scare. For those of you who hang around here on a regular basis, you may have noticed that Dr. Claw comes like clockwork (OK, you probably haven't noticed, because that would be creepy, but it does). I was almost 2 weeks late, and the anxiety and realization that I could be pregnant kicked in. HWSNBN made a point of pointing out that such might be the case, which really threw me into an anxiety fit. I told myself I was being silly--no way was I preggers--and waited. And waited. When I had begun to really mentally talk myself into a frenzy I bought a test and agonized over whether or not to really take it. I did. It was negative.
I was crushed.
I couldn't believe I was crushed to NOT be pregnant. At first I thought I was crazy, and then I just realized that I had begun to picture the scenario with someone I loved and planned to stay with--I wanted the scenario. I wanted him, he wanted me, and we planned to have a baby someday. I don't think I ever even told him I took the test.
I suppose the resultant baby shower anxiety since then stems from that moment of want and the realization that I'm back at square one. While it would've been an inopportune time for a child back then--I hadn't started my MA, I was unhappy in many ways--I found that place where you desire to make a life with someone, and it really surprised me.
My general response in marriage/baby conversations is, "I'm not sure." I don't know that I want to get married, I don't think I'd be terribly crushed if I didn't. I usually say that I don't know if I want kids--if I do at some point, and I'm still single, I have no qualms about adoption. But, I guess the reason that p-scare shook me so much is because I did want it. And somewhere under this desire for a PhD and an independent life, I still do--in theory. If and when it's right, with whomever surprises me.
Today's shower was good. I adore the friend we were showering, and I think she's one of the bravest, most amazing people I know. She'll be an amazing mom.
Incidentally, when I recently asked my mother if she thought I'd ever get married and have kids, her response was simply,
"After you're 30."
Right on, Mom.
*For those of you who married and kidded early, I'm not baggin'. It just wouldn't have worked out for me given that I had no idea what I wanted in my late teens and earlier 20's. Not to mention, the cultural atmosphere here puts undue pressure on young'uns to grow up and procreate.
Listening: "Crazy"...Gnarls Barkley