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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Can You Figure Out What's Wrong With Mama Bird? (Children Mentioned)

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?"


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.

Or anything.

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?


Tara said...

My 5 year old niece is very aware of the fact that we would love to have a child and is typically very sweet--includes us in her bedtime prayers and gives me Mother's Day gifts and things like that. She is often very full of questions about why God isn't giving us a baby right now. One time a few months ago we were eating dinner and she looked at me and said "You're never going to have a baby, are you?" She said it in a very concerned, sweet way, but her parents were mortified. She immediately knew she had said something wrong and began to cry...was so upset she had maybe hurt my feelings. :(

But she also comes out with some really beautiful things, the other day while she was giving me a nice big hug she whispered in my ear out of the blue "I hope you have a baby really, really soon!" :)

Royalyne said...

My stepson's babedar is in full effect. His mother keeps getting pregnant (still guessing on who actually is the daddy for babies #3 & 4), and he comes to me and asks me to make her stop having babies so I can have one instead. He's stopped coming over to me and rubbing my belly saying that I'm pregnant, but still asks me to have his baby brother or sister for him so his mom will stop.

And all random children that just love me- friends' babies, cousin's friends' babies, babies with unknown connection that just happen to be at the same party, complete strangers' babies at the mall. It hurts to see a baby smile sometimes, but I can't help but try to be the one to make it happen. My 3 year old nephew refused to go with my parents because he wanted to stay with "Mama Royal" (name given to me by my mother when my stepson and nephews were all together, the got confused when they each called me something different, now it's universal). Last weekend my best friend's daughter fell asleep on my shoulder, she still has stranger anxiety and I've only been around her 3 times since she was born (a year ago tomorrow), but she has never seen me as a stranger. It's like they know, and they have to be as close to it as possible.

I think that it's because we treasure them so much more than "fertiles" do. We crave it so much, our hearts call out to them, our hearts are calling out to tiny innocence and they respond when our own babies cannot. It's when mom and dad come over and say "you really do need to get pregnant and have your own soon" that I want to hide and cry.

Anonymous Infertile said...

I agree on the babedar. But for me its been more like I never saw kids before I was ttc and now they are everywhere. When we first started ttc I was all happy to be around kids, daydreaming about how I would soon be a mother to my own. As I took on the role of the infertile woman, being around kids just started to make me feel sad.
A lot of women I work with bring their kids in every once in a while and I swear it is just like they are drawn to me.


Piccinigirl said...

I se this all the time too, and children LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my husband. It's interesting to watch them become enthralled with him and have him just as smitten. It drives the daggar deeper. I also have a way of just noticing babies, children, PG women everywhere. I often joke that " at least we won't see a PG here"..and inevitably there she is , in a place that she would never be unless I was standing here.
I have had our neices (my DH's neices) say to me , "I just want Aunt Kir to have a baby, she 's cool and seems like she'd be a good mom" that is a reason to KEEP TRYING.


Ella said...

My 10 yr old nephew was playing with his cousin (not related to me) and when the cousin said...oooh, youre so nice why don't you have any kids, my nephew responded with ...She had a baby and it died. I guess this is the way my sis in law communicated to her son that I had a miscarriage. She put it in context that his 10 yr old brain can understand and process. It really stung.