Kids just know. They smell infertility on you--it's like they have babedar. Thirty adults in the room and they'll make a bee-line for the infertile woman. Cling to her leg. Stare up at her with those big eyes. I once was throwing a dinner party. We were having cocktails and I was sitting on the floor because we're too cheap to buy more chairs. A friend's daughter crawled into my lap and said, "let's pretend you're my mommy!" Excuse me, little girl, but you sort of have your knee exactly on one of my stomach bruises from the Follistim while you twist that dagger into my heart. If you wouldn't mind scooting it a bit to the left...
My niece once made me watch the "Baby Mine" scene in Dumbo three times in a row with her. It's like she had caught a whiff of something and couldn't quite put her finger on it. But it certainly clicked on our third viewing when she started asking, "don't you want a baby? Don't you want a baby to love and hold? Don't you want a baby, Aunt Rissa?"
FOR THE LOVE OF G-D!
I was staying with them and my sister went to work, leaving me at home to play with her daughter. In the middle of a game of dress-up, my niece asked if she could call me Mama. I told her that she already had a Mommy and that I was her aunt. She kept asking why she couldn't have an extra Mama; why I couldn't be that Mama. I mean, come on, Aunt Rissa, it's not like you have children.
After my final "no," she responded with an exasperated: "well, can I call you Mama Bird?"
How do you answer that? It didn't feel right, but yet I couldn't put into words why (1) that still wasn't appropriate and (2) why I couldn't even handle the concept of motherhood in another species. She had worn me down to a nub with her questions, obviously fueled by her babedar. I caved. I became Mama Bird for the rest of the day.
She laughs when I tell her these stories now. She's six. She seems to have lost a bit of her babedar. Maybe it's one of those senses that dulls as you age--sort of like smell.
But my daughter yesterday took over the job. She spent the afternoon reminding me: "no baby in Mommy's belly." I hear you, sweetheart. Loud and clear. I'm infertile! I'm barren! Thank you for reminding me! Okay! Please stop! "No baby. No baby. Mommy's belly? No. No baby in Mommy's belly."
Is it an evolutionary survival instinct? Drive women crazy and they'll be too depressed to continue trying to reproduce, therefore leaving more food for the exisiting children? Seriously, where are the social scientists to study this phenomenon?