Mother’s Day was coming up, so I was scrolling through various lists on the World Wide Web for inspo. Pages after pages of red and pink carnations, aprons, nifty little cooking gadgets like a bread maker, macarons, candles. You know, all the usual typical things that people with vaginas like.
I’d be fucking livid if my hypothetical future child gave me a flowered apron as a Mother’s Day gift, I’d throw that shit right in the trash where it belongs. Or return it for credit.
When I tell people that I’m not too sure about kids, they all parrot back, as if from a script, “It’ll be different when it’s yours!” or “You’ll change your mind”. 10 times out of 10. But what if it isn’t, fucker? What if it unfortunately takes after the father, who I married for his sparkling wit and personality but definitely not his looks, and it’s objectively ugly, and I look at my child every day and think, “God, it’s so ugly.” Is that so very terrible of me? Or what if it turns out to be a misogynistic, psychotic serial killer who only murders women with the same name as his ex-girlfriend who dumped him in eighth grade? What if it isn’t any different when it’s my child? I can’t just shove it back up my vagina, can I, and hope it goes away? There aren’t any take backs, no handy cardboard boxes that I can pack it up in and ship back to a warehouse for a full refund.
They’re so annoying, besides. An acquaintance of mine once brought along her toddler to dinner, this kid who was really into trains, and he informed me at least seven or eight times over the course of an hour that he was holding a train. He’d hold up his model train solemnly and pronounce “Train” and it was adorable the first time, but by the end of the hour, I was like, “Yes, it’s a fucking train, now choo-choo out of my sight.” The Victorians had it right: children should be seen and not be heard.
Seen and not be heard, and yet, I’ve never related more to a character than when Mycroft in Sherlock Holmes was shown a picture of John and Mary’s baby, and he goes, “Yes, looks very…fully functioning.” Honestly, same. What the fuck else are you supposed to say? The most I manage to eke out whenever I’m put in a similarly uncomfortable situation is, “They look so much like you!” (which, duh) but to be frank, I don’t care. When I see babies, I feel a momentary temptation to pinch its little Michelin-man arms, all that jiggly fat, but that’s about it. Please don’t show me a picture of your baby, or god forbid, actually bring it and ask if I want to hold it, because I probably never will. Nothing personal, mate.
(Besides, I’ve killed at least three cactuses; I haven’t a single nurturing bone in my body. Cactuses are supposed to be really difficult to kill, but I managed to kill them anyway. )
Honestly though, the fear of being stripped of my individual identity, of no longer being me but just a mom far outweighs the fear of producing objectively ugly offspring or misogynistic mass murderers. Being forced into this cookie-cutter personality of “mom” who serves to cook and clean and wipe your ass, who likes getting generic, no-personality, sexist shit like flowers or aprons because all moms like the same stuff. Of teachers and neighbors and perfect strangers and my own child all seeing me as a mom and imposing their expectations on me to play that role to perfection. Of the bubbling resentment that will no doubt arise within me. Of childbirth wreaking havoc on my body, thus causing my man to wander off and philander about, forcing me to then ship him off to Thailand to surgically re-attach a body part, before I promptly divorce his ass and sue him for emotional distress.
I ended up getting three issues of my mom’s favorite People Magazine, a smart mug to keep her coffee warm, because she always leaves half-finished cups of cold coffee around the house, and coffee jelly, because that’s her favorite dessert. The coffee mug is apparently too heavy for her, so she says she will sell it. Currently, it is functioning as a book shelf of sorts; there’s three books on top of it right now. So clearly, I know how to pick out personalized, well-received, non-sexist gifts.
In any case, I don’t know why I’m freaking out about this when I have zero prospects of marriage or pregnancy on the horizon, and my eggs are probably expiring as I type. This is just meant to be a letter for my future offspring (if I ever choose to procreate), a fervent promise that there will be hell to pay if you don’t show your love and affection to your Creator once every 365 days by gifting me with enormously expensive and personalized, thoughtful shit. Buy me an apron and I will break you.