[This essay first appeared at LadyClever.com.] “Did you think,” my boyfriend laughed, “that they’d think you came in to buy dish soap, but just decided to pick up a pregnancy test?” It was a valid point. But standing in line late that night at CVS, I couldn’t handle being that girl with a store brand box of pregnancy tests clutched in her clammy palm, so I grabbed a bottle of Dawn from a nearby display to offset it. No, I didn’t think too much about how it looked. I could only think about the butterflies frolicking merrily in my poor anxious stomach. I could only keep considering the conflicting ideas of us maybe living happily as a thriving young family, versus potentially growing into resentful middle-aged parents who have to live their unfulfilled dreams vicariously through an emotionally overwrought kid.
Ironically enough it was Easter, whose less religious symbolism is firmly rooted the celebration of fertility and Spring renewal, with brightly colored eggs and virile rabbits. I guiltily stuffed my face at our family’s Easter dinner– unsure if the unrelenting need to keep hitting the cheese platter was lingering PMS from the period that was past due, or the longings of a tiny growing child who’d love rich cheese as much as his father and I. We hadn’t been careless with ourselves and have always taken the proper precautions. Something must have malfunctioned, was the best we could guess.
Two weeks prior, strolling through a hip L.A. borough with a girlfriend after lunch, I’d engaged in some silly face-making with a teeny toddler on the sidewalk. With her adorable Anna Wintour bob haircut and a darling striped sun dress, she was irresistible to giggle at and play with. “Really cute kid,” I remarked absently as she and her companions passed. “Did you see who she was with?” my friend asked incredulously. I hadn’t. Apparently, it was Max Greenfield, Schmidt from New Girl, a TV show myself and pretty much everyone I know is enamored with. But I was too busy playing with the kid to notice the good looking celebrity dude with her. How old am I? Old enough that this stuff is starting to really matter.
I’m old enough that the episode of New Girl, incidentally, where Cece and Jess get their fertility evaluated to gauge their egg count since they’re over thirty scared the crap out of me and apparently everyone with a uterus who tuned in. I’m not eager to have a baby, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t welcome one. I’d be terrified of squandering the opportunity– because I’m old enough to think, what if it’s my last chance? But while I know that life doesn’t come to a screeching halt when you begin a family, I do realize things change and sacrifices have to be made. We’d have to grow up. Fast. What would become of our hopes and aspirations? Could we overcome the luggage store inventory of emotional baggage we both carry to raise a child without afflicting him? How do people know they’re ready for this?
Thankfully, the test on Easter was negative, so was this morning’s test. I’m not pregnant, probably just a little stressed. So all of these are problems are to be sorted out another day, hopefully not too soon nor too far away. Now I’m glad I bought that dish soap. ––Casandra Armour