Monthly Archives: February 2013
My dream skipped pregnancy. It skipped how it progressed, how I dealt with it, and how it could have even happened in the first place. My dream also skipped the violence of birth, which I am thankful for. In my dream, I was already a mother. My boy was already here with me, in my arms.
In my dream, I was seated, on a city bus, of all things. I haven’t had to ride one of those in years. I hate them. And I love my sports car. The seat beside me was conspicuously absent. My boyfriend has always said he doesn’t want to be a father. Worst of all, I was also in my home-town, the place I grew up and where my parents still live. I had long ago grown out of this town and left it behind me as I started my own life. And now I was back.
These details alone pretty much told me everything that I needed to know about my living situation. It seems my life had been blown far off-course. I was alone, dependent upon my parents, and quite broke.
I sat there and lost myself in thought. What happened to my goals of perusing an education and bettering myself through learning? What happened to traveling and seeing the world? What happened to my future with the man I love? What happened to living the life I want? What happened to my freedom? What happened to my bright future? It was all gone. I’d apparently traded it all for motherhood, and I couldn’t imagine why.
How could this have happened? I never wanted to be a mother. I realized and announced this proudly from an early age and had never waivered. I had always been responsible with my birth control and my planning. I’d even recently had myself surgically sterilized. I even had a sound back-up plan in the improbable event of an accidental pregnancy – an immediate abortion. How is this even possible? How could I have let it come to this? What had I done?
What about my friends? What will they think? I’d been so adamant about not wanting kids, and prideful in my promotion of my childfree life. They’ll roll their eyes and never believe another thing I say. My elders who had always insisted I’d changed my mind would look at me smugly and say, “I told you so.” And what about my younger siblings? What kind of example am I setting for them, being so irresponsible and quitting on my goals?
I sat there, miserable and lost in despair. I hated myself. I hated everything. My life was over.
I felt something squirming against me. I looked down at my baby boy as I held him in my arms and he looked back at me. He looked like any baby, I guess. Small, pudgy features. I suppose he resembled my brother as a baby, with a pale face, blue eyes, and wispy tufts of blonde hair. He was quiet, not screaming at the top of his lungs as I imagine babies often do. And he didn’t smell either, requiring no diaper change. He just stared back up at me with those big, round, uncomprehending baby eyes. As far as babies go, this one wasn’t so bad, at that moment. It seems like, in my dream, babies were shown in the best possible light. Quiet. Un-demanding. Non-smelly. Content. Sweet. Innocent. It’s like he was the perfect child.
I remember what people used to say to me, when I was young and not yet sterilized and breeding was still an option. They’d make arguments which I called “bingos” because they were so cliché, I could fill out a Bingo game card with them. Arguments like: ”You say you don’t want kids now, but you’ll love them when they’re here,” and, “It’s different when it’s your own.” I gazed upon the child inexplicably in my arms and considered these words. The boy cooed and reached one clumsy, stubby arm up at me, trying to touch his mother’s face.
I pulled my head away from him, repelled. No, it wasn’t different. I still didn’t want him. At all. I felt absolutely no love for him. I didn’t even like him. In fact, I resented him for existing, even though I knew I had only myself to blame for that. He was just an uninteresting object to me, representing a burden I never wanted and thought I had long ago rejected. He was everything that went wrong in my life. I never wanted to be a mom. And in this dream, my nightmare, in which I had what seemed like the most unnaturally peaceful baby in the world, I still didn’t want to be a mother.
I signaled for the bus to stop at some random point along the route. I stood up, turned, and laid the baby back down on the bus seat. I left the baby behind, stepping off the bus and into the sunshine, a free woman. And I didn’t look back.
Then I woke up, glad it was over. I lifted my shirt and checked my tubal ligation scars. Still there. Still sterile. Still safe. People have insisted that childfree women secretly, perhaps subconsciously, desire children, despite our vocal insistence to the contrary. It seems my own subconscious disagrees. Relieved that the nightmare was over and would never and could never become reality, I resumed my rest and slept in late, as I often do. I was never awoken by a baby, real or imagined, ever again.
I’m very happy in my new home. I’m especially happy with my large yard. I’ve already picked a small patch for gardening, and may try to weasel my way to expanding the borders if I can get the BF to cooperate with my plans. As spring planting time is nearly upon me, I’m gathering all my supplies. Reclaimed wood, containers, seeds, and information.
As I’ve been researching for things to plant, I’ve found that some are being claimed to have special properties. For instance, I’ve often heard it claimed that marigolds repel aphids and that nasturtiums repel rabbits. Such a thing is incredibly useful to gardeners, if true. And even if it isn’t true, there’s no harm in pretty flower borders decorating the veggie patch, is there?
Still, I would look very silly if I said to someone who knew better that this magic flower over there kept pests at bay, only to have him turn around and tell me that it’s doing no more to ward of pests than it is to ward of tigers. Just because the pest isn’t around doesn’t mean my plant actually put up an effective force field. Why did I think it would? Because someone told me?
When I first heard claims of pest-control plants, I was eager to accept it as truth. After all, I heard it from gardeners, people who have been working the land longer than I’ve been alive so I’d think they know a thing or two. It would certainly benefit me if the claims were, indeed, accurate. But just wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so, nor does hearing it from a perceived authority. This is something I gave little though until I considered another kind of plant use claim, on that I doubt, that being medicinal plants.
I’ve always found the effects certain plants are said to have for humans very interesting. Some flowers and herbs, I am told, have medicinal properties and can cure things like headaches and stomach upset, can promote healing, or can help you lose weight. I’ve even heard such lofty claims as this or that plant can prevent or cure cancer.
Do some plants really have the medicinal effects claimed? Maybe. I mean, it’s known that some plants can have an effect on animals. I mean, as an example right off the top of my head, the effects (medicinal and otherwise) of cannabis on humans are well known. And if I’m not mistaken, the developers of pharmaceutical have been known to look to plants, on occasion, in the development of new drugs. Plants can affect people as more than just a source of nutrition, and sometimes do so in some pretty strange ways.
I’m not questioning whether or not plants can possibly have medicinal uses. It’s whether or not the specific plants claimed really work as claimed, and whether or not they are really more effective and safer than commercial drugs. I’m not one to just believe whatever I’m told. Not without proof.
Sadly, I’m finding research on the matter a bit difficult. Actual scientific studies on such matters are hard to come by, and definitive conclusions harder still. Meanwhile, there remain so many claims out there, and it seems like more are sprouting up all the time as the “alternative medicine” movement gains steam online. It is therefore difficult for me to determine which claims are true, or at least plausible, and which are just “alternative medicine” hogwash. Honestly, I’m inclined to doubt “alternative medicine.” I doubt that any plant is medicinal until I can verify that it is.
It would be nice if I could grow my own personal pharmacy. However, until I can find proof that the herbs and flowers I’ve been told can do this or that really do as advertized, I will have the lingering and uncomfortable suspicion that I’d just be doing the gardening equivalent of superstitiously throwing salt over my shoulder, getting, at best, a placebo effect.
This doubt in herbal medicine makes me also wonder about the pest-control claims of companion plants. These claims too would be nice if true, but are they really? I don’t know.
This feels like an odd post to write because I’ve basically proposed a problem and then didn’t follow with a solution, making this post seem somewhat incomplete. The truth is, as of right now, I don’t have an answer.
Dear Natalist World,
Guys, I need to rant. A friend of mine wrote a post on FaceBook complaining about something unrelated to my rant, but did so while making a comparison along the lines of: “If you were childfree, you wouldn’t tell an infertile person that you envy them.
I commented that yes, I actually would say that. Getting fixed wasn’t easy. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to accomplish. Society and the medical establishment at large like to throw up all kind of barriers to permanent sterilization (hell, even just temporary birth control. )I WISH I was naturally infertile. And I’m betting she wouldn’t have had a problem with infertile people have no problem saying that they envy the fertile (CF or not.)
Am I the only one who has no patience for infertility whining? These people aren’t martyrs or victims or anything of the sort. It’s not like anyone needs kids. I mean, what’s the worst real affect of not having kids? No macaroni pictures? Too much money to spend? OH, boo-fuckity-hoo. You know, if someone really wants kids, they could still adopt. What does that tell you if they won’t?
People like to get all dramatic and say that these people are “suffering.” No, no they’re fucking not. People which chronic pain are suffering. People who are starving are suffering. Not getting some petty want in NOT suffering. Who would say that I’m suffering because I can’t have a Ferrari? (at least transportation is actually a practical need.
The way I see it, anyone who bitches about being infertile has some serious growing up to do. They remind me of toddlers throwing tantrums in stores because mommy won’t buy cookies. Seriously, it’s more than just the infertility that I envy. It’s the ease of existence someone would have to have to complain about it. If not being able to breed is really all someone has to complain about in life, then I’d envy them for having no real problems.
And anyone who actually gives these people undeserved sympathy is feeding into the drama. You’re not helping. In fact, you’re making it worse. Stop feeling sorry for people who aren’t actually suffering and maybe they’ll stop feeling sorry for themselves and maybe even realize breeding is not actually as big a deal as our natalism-obsessed culture likes to pretend. Maybe if you stopped pretending that there was anything wrong with being infertile infertile people wouldn’t get so dramatic about it.
I would say this whether I was CF or not, but apparently, saying this while CF makes me the devil.