Y’all were busy on Valentine’s Day this year, weren’t you? I know because at least four of my friends have given birth within the last two weeks.
From where I sit, Jonathan Last, author of What to Expect When No-One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster, has it all wrong. Whether the US population really is shrinking to a worrisome size, or conservative pundits have just found one more reason to wring their hands about independent women these days, I’d like to point out that as far as population growth, things are looking pretty stable on my friends list.
Last weekend, I enjoyed a family party where I met my newest cousin, Lila, who is approaching three months old. I also went to a baby shower for a college friend who’s due in January.
“I want to go to yours next,” another friend informed me after I arrived.
I’m sure you do.
Here is a replay of the last two weeks of my life: Work. Feel frustrated about work. Clean apartment. Look at latest birth announcement. Feel joy tempered by the anxiety and slight wretchedness of potential career stagnation and natal pressure. Repeat.
Of course I’m delighted for all my dear pals who managed the physical and financial wherewithal to reproduce this year. Heartfelt congratulations (in alphabetical order) to Abigail, Ali, Amanda, Anna, Anne, Brynna, Erica, Erin H., Erin K., Julia, Kira, Kit, Rebecca, Sibongseni, Susie and Talis (and your partners)! Sorry if I left anyone out; it’s hard to keep track. My news feed appears to have been hijacked by a tribe of tiny, flushed, wrinkled, towel-wrapped creatures.
By my count, that’s an average of one birth every three weeks or so from January to November. And that’s not counting at least five people who are still pregnant (I’m assuming there are many more, lurking silently until they hit that second trimester). See you guys in five or ten years.
Since I began working on this essay today, one friend has given birth, but the roster held steady because another one announced her pregnancy.
I know, I know: It’s not a race. But my own parents had two kids long before they hit 30. It all makes me feel as if I oughta amount to something more by now. Since I’ve failed to add my own newborn to the feed, shouldn’t I have written a best-selling book, founded an international non-profit, made a million dollars, created a viral website, earned a PhD, or at least learned to sweep under the couch more than a couple times a year? What the hell have I been doing with myself for the last thirty years?
I hope that whatever it is, it’ll make me a decent parent, when I decide to take the leap. In the meantime, babies, enjoy your first holiday season. Mamas, may you not go into labor before the Christmas shopping is done and the turkey’s in the oven. Love to everyone. Especially if Thanksgiving brings us all a little baby break.
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