Dispatches from the Last Empty Uterus in America

The blogger earlier this year.
The blogger earlier this year.

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.

Many thanks to my cousin and her adorable daughters, who have helped keep the pressure off of me for the last few years.
Many thanks to my cousin and her adorable daughters, who have helped keep the pressure off of me for the last few years.

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.

I will probably keep blogging as long as I’m childless, so scroll down to subscribe, or find me on Twitter

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13 Comments

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  1. Hi Laina. …
    Man…you can stich the words together…
    Great job.
    And……no pressure. Promise!

  2. All in good time – grand dogs are welcome 🙂

  3. Oh my goodness do I relate!! It seems every social function I attend I’m somehow stuck in conversation with all my pregger friends laughing about babies kicking their bladders, missing sushi, inability to tie their own shoes, etc. Though, those situations make me oddly proud of my single-spinster-childless body’s ability to poop regularly, so I guess there’s that as consolation.

    • Yes, if I start to feel down about my lack of a contribution to the human race, I just remember that I can sleep in or take a nice, hot shower anytime I want, deadlines allowing.

  4. Parenting sucks. Don’t bother. Unless you really, REALLY want to. ;-P

  5. You sweep under the couch??

  6. Hey that’s my name in there! Dude, Jason and I were married for so long before we had Colin that people stopped asking us when we were going to have kids. Don’t sweat it. If you’d like I can send you photos of me sporting my best scary new mommy look. It involves unwashed hair and sweatpants. It is bound to scare you off from having kids for at least a couple more years. And, for the record, I’m pretty sure the dust bunnies under my couch have grown legs and are about to stage a revolution.

    • I’ve been married for about six and a half years, which is an eternity to be childless compared to most of my married peers. I personally don’t understand why people rush to get pregnant right after the wedding – don’t you want to enjoy yourselves for awhile? I’ll take your word on the sweatpants and dust bunnies. Thanks for weighing in!

  7. I had my kid at age 34. I wasn’t ready before then. He turned out great.

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