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Crazy Crazy Baby Crazy

In 2008 I was so baby-crazy I could hardly walk in a straight line. I wanted a baby so badly I could taste it – I felt it in every cell of my body, ever fiber of my being, as if my ovaries had taken over my brain and were sending me not-so-subliminal messages to procreate! Procreate! PROCREATE NOW OR DIE.

Looking back on it, I’m sure it was all hormones. It was a feeling in my body so overwhelming that I really can’t imagine it was anything but hormones. We didn’t have a baby then because we were living paycheck to paycheck, we couldn’t afford healthcare, and I didn’t want to have a baby 3,000 miles away from my family.  When we decided to move back to Los Angeles in 2010, we decided we’d try for a baby the following fall. I wanted to try and prepare myself for the task, so I picked up “What to Expect Baby’s First Year,” and then in November I started taking pre-natal vitamins. FYI: I never made it past month two in that book about babies. WTF that sh*t is scary! The more I think about babies, the more nervous I get. A baby is a ginormous responsibility. Huge. Life-changing. Marriage-changing. When I think about babies now, I feel nothing but terror. Next fall is like, six months from now. We live in an apartment with old, filthy, germy carpeting in the valley. Where there are earthquakes. We live paycheck to paycheck. We can’t afford health care. And we have absolutely no idea when we won’t be living paycheck to paycheck, if we’ll ever be able to afford healthcare, or if we’ll ever be able to buy a house. Mike told me last night that the Obama administration wants to dissolve Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which apparently means that it will be impossible for regular people like us to buy a house. Which means we’ll be living in a shitty apartment with germy carpeting for the. rest. of. our. lives. A baby? Six months from now? Hells to the N-O.

Also? I worry about what kind of a world we’d be bringing that child into. This country is kind of a mess right now, let’s be perfectly honest. I know there are much worse places to live than the United States of America, but still. Our education system is in the toilet, the economy is in the toilet, healthcare is in the toilet, there are no jobs, once eradicated horrible diseases are reappearing with a vengeance, gas prices are going up, and the majority of Americans think people like Snooki and Paris Hilton poop gold, when they ought to be looking up to people like, oh, I don’t know, Martin Luther King Jr. or Abraham Lincoln. Of course, they’re dead, but even I can’t come up with the name of a single current American hero. Is that because there are none? Or am I just painfully ignorant? And if I’m so painfully ignorant, should I really be breeding? And if I’m not painfully ignorant and I should be breeding, how do I know that if I have a baby in the next five years I won’t be raising him or her in a country where only the filthy rich have access to medicine, safe food to eat, or clean water to drink?  How do I know whether I can keep them safe from war and disease and climate change?

Then I think about all the risks involved with having a baby. What if it’s not born healthy? What if it is born healthy and then dies of SIDS? And what about me? I could get pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, I could bleed out giving birth, or even in the best case scenario, I could have a perfectly normal pregnancy but spend all of it puking every fifteen minutes. Not to mention, if you’ll allow me to be completely superficial and vain for five seconds, I could wind up covered in stretch marks with a flesh-apron instead of a stomach. THAT HAPPENS.

You guys, I don’t know if I can do it. Maybe we should just stick to dogs. This terrible thing that happened in Japan last week, the oil spill last summer, Libya, Egypt, Afganistan, Sara Palin, reality TV, blizzards, car accidents, murder, rape, it’s too much. It’s too terrifying. How can I justify bringing a defenseless, tiny, innocent child into a world like this? It’s a gigantic, life or death, enormous, huge, risky gamble. And I HATE gambling.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Am I focusing on all the negative and ignoring the positive? What is the positive? I know that a lot of you are totally pro-baby, and I miss being baby-crazy, so seriously, I need to know what you think. Because I really don’t like what I think.


And then I read things like this and my uterus practically crawls out of my body to go get fertilized. My friend George told me it’s imperative that I have children, so that I can raise world-conscious people who have the potential to make a positive impact on this earth. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I should focus on the love, not the terror.

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  • Tara

    But how was your Weekend?

  • Cindyim

    What you’ve articulated is is exactly why I don’t want kids. There is so much going haywire right now, that it seems like the wrong thing to do. Apparently if things continue are they are, oceans will be out-fished and the human population will increase by 50% to 9 billion by the year 2050. Species are dying off left and right, water and food scarcity are increasing, and I personally have a hard time justifying having a child in this tumultuous time in our history. That, and the idea of raising a child terrifies me. Not to add to your fears or anything, it’s just how I feel about the whole thing.

    On a more personal note, how are you? I hope you’re adjusting to LA life well. I miss you so much! I don’t know when I’ll be down in LA visiting, but I’m hoping sometime in the next year.

    • Hiiiiii Cindy!! I miss you too. And yes, I didn’t even mention anything about over-population and out-fished oceans, and dear goodness the whole thing terrifies me. TERRIFIES me. But I want babies, I really do, I’m just scared.

      Thank you for commenting! I really miss you too. My number is still the same (I don’t know if yours is) but I would love to hear from you! xoxoxoxoxo

  • It’s like you climbed into my brain, gathered up armfuls of my thoughts, and spilled them out (eloquently) onto your blog. Double true. We need a slumber party, stat.

    Seriously though, everything you said could have come from my mouth. Two years ago, I was painfully aware of NEEDING a baby. I still have pangs every so often, but I am 99.9% sure that I do not want to have a baby right now. Or for several years. I have those “ohmygod what kind of world will I bring a child into” moments, and I freak out, but those generally pass to make room for the thoughts of “ohmygod I am way to selfish right now to have a baby. I want to sleep and make last minute travel plans and I’m not ready to work off baby weight. Hell, I can’t even work off the 5-10 pounds of cheese and bread weight.”

    This weekend, I had an overnight babysitting gig (for a close friend), which made me a little baby-bipolar. There were the magical moments of rocking the precious 1 year old back to sleep, helping her learn to feed herself, drying that sweet, soft baby skin off after her bath, building block towers for her to knock down like baby Godzilla, making her laugh…it was awesome. I was literally in awe of this little creature. And her 10 year old sister was a rockstar helper. But then, somewhere around 12:45am, after 45 minutes of rocking her (standing up; she would not let me sit) and trying to put her back to sleep, I was overcome with helplessness. Here was this adorable, precious little thing, unable to sleep, crying hysterically and unable to tell me why. She seemed to be scared of something, she was obviously tired, and she wouldn’t stop crying unless I held her and rocked back and forth. Heartbreakingly sweet? Yes. Exhausting? Also yes.

    I thought to myself, “There is nothing like the feeling of soothing a crying baby back to sleep as she snuggles up close to your chest.” And then, “But holy shit, I am glad I don’t have to do this every night.” I felt a whole new sense of respect for my friends who are parents. I got a good night’s sleep last night (in my own bed, uninterrupted by babies), and I’m still tired from Saturday. My body aches and my brain is still recovering – last night, I drove around in circles trying to park at Will’s hockey game, forgetting which streets were one-way and not being able to tell a red zone from a white zone…even though I have parked at his hockey games a bajillion times. If that’s not a taste of parent-brain, I don’t know what is. And yet, I still want to snuggle that little bundle of cuteness. I am exhausted from my less-than-24-hours of parenting, but laying down on the couch with that baby on my chest right now would be totally awesome. That is, if she were asleep. And I didn’t have to get up for any reason.

    Bottom line? Moral of this epic blog post? You are totally not crazy. Or maybe we both are.

    • I had a feeling you would totally understand. And I am jealous about your overnight babysitting adventure. As scared as I am, I still want to have children because I know that the joys of parenthood will far outweigh the terrors, but still. I am awfully squeamish about it lately. And the state of our world doesn’t bring me any comfort at all. Cindy pointed out the problems with over-population and out-fished oceans and man oh man am I afraid. Mike was talking about an article in National Geographic about how in the last fifty years we’ve multiplied our (bad) impact on the earth 11 times. What will the world look like in another fifty years?

      • I know – overpopulation is scary to me…Will and I have talked about adopting some day, though we differ on the “instead of” vs. “in addition to” having our own kids argument at the moment. There’s some weird biological thing in me that is somehow able to ignore the “scary world with too many people anyway” facts in favor of the “need to reproduce” thing. I don’t know if it’s leftover biology from caveman days, or part of the Jew thing where we’re all “save the Jewish people” or whatever…or maybe it’s just a selfish need to create a mini-me. Whatever it is, it’s there.

        But I know what you mean…sometimes when I watch the news (or even Jon Stewart), I worry about the world that we’re going to leave to our children. While we’re definitely not the first generation to have these thoughts, I can’t help but wonder if this time it really is worse.

        • Mike argues that it’s ALWAYS been a terrible time to have babies. What if we’d had a baby in 1915 and then had to raise them during the Great Depression? What if we’d had a baby in the early 1950’s, only to send them off to Vietnam? What if? What if? What if? He thinks we should birth one (to satisfy that genetic calling) and adopt the rest. I like that idea. I also like that it takes the pressure off of having one RIGHT NOW. If we are only going to birth one and adopt the rest, we don’t have to get started for several more years, right? Right. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

          • Mike’s argument is one of my thought processes as well. I can’t say whether I’ll want to birth more than one, but I know I definitely want to birth at least one. And I think I’d like to adopt as well…but I’m so not ready to think about that.

  • Oh man. I really want people to leave comments like, “The world is totally NOT going to shit, you are crazy, babies are wonderful, you can do it.” But so far I’m just getting all my fears reaffirmed. But I want to want to have a baby! And yet I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  • You’re not… ok, you’re not dangerously crazy (as far as I can tell). It’s perfectly rational to have your emotions rage back and forth on the subject.
    The world’s been going to shit since we climbed down from the trees, I wouldn’t worry about that aspect. People have been successfully having kids since before there was indoor plumbing (shocking!).
    Babies are screaming, poop and puke monsters who can’t or won’t (I vote won’t, I think there’s a conspiracy…) tell you what’s wrong. They’re also kinda cool when they’re not horking bodily fluids around the room.

    Follow your heart.

  • ‘Cita

    I’d say that Hawk’s comment was a Positive.

  • Focus on the love.

    That’s the best advice I’ve heard in a long time…

  • OH GOSH HOW I FEEL YOU PAIN! I always thought I would pop out babies fairly soon after college. That didn’t happen because I didn’t feel comfortable popping out babies with the significant others I was choosing at that time in my life. Oh, and I didn’t actually finish college.

    Now I am 30 (much older than I thought I would be.) I work in Special Education and I see everyday what can happen with completely unhealthy or healthy pregnancies. IT IS SCARY! Then I think of all the crappy parents I deal with. Then I think of all the awesome parents who face adversity everyday. I want to be an awesome parent. I want to use all the examples I’ve seen and learn from others’ mistakes.

    I also fear overpopulation so I want to adopt. I think it will be similar to what you guys are planning; have one or two of our own and then adopt the rest. I just want to be able to give them what they need. They don’t need to be frivolously spoiled, but they will not want. Everything in moderation.

    • Me too!! I just want them to have the lovely idyllic childhood I had, and I want them to grow up to be healthy and well adjusted, and live in a world where they have a fair chance to make their way and live long and happy lives. Is that too much to ask?

    • Wanting to be a good parent is the first and best step to being one. It’s the apathetic and the uncaring who make bad parents.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say, I think you are silly if you don’t feel this way. I remember asking Dave why we were having children if the earth was going to end in some natural-disaster-apocalypse of our own arrogant making and he said, “Everyone deserves a chance.”

    Madeline L’Engle in Walking On Water wrote that we all add to the world. And she used the metaphor of streams and rivers going into the ocean. We all create a legacy, whether good or bad, and we all add to the ocean. It’s just a matter of what you decide you are going to add. I love what the President said, “we will be judged by what we create, not what we destroy.” I think having a child is the ultimate chance to create something or someone good. To add something good to the ocean. To give life another chance.

    I love what Faulkner said in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

    Good luck! You’ll make good babies.

    • I nearly cried when I read this. Your words sent shivers up my spine, the good kind of shivers. Thank you for sharing this wise, loving, beautiful point of view.

      I can’t wait to meet you in August! 😀