No Baby (49)

I wake up Friday morning with a sentence in my head. “I’m never going to have a baby.” I always knew I wanted to be pregnant, knew I wanted to carry a baby inside me, grow round and heavy, even when I was afraid of giving birth, even when I waffled about raising a child. I’ve known for years it wasn’t happening, not this lifetime. I don’t know what odd fitful spitting of neurons, what elusive dream has me recognizing it again now before I am fully awake, as I lay belly down in my warm bed, the birds making a lovely racket outside my open door, my two furred ones nestled against my calf and curve of back. I think about how I’d decided to have a child on my own, had begun to do my research. Then I met Joe. The day I first laid eyes on him on the bus, I came home to a message on my answering machine from a potential sperm donor. I turn now on my side, trying not to jostle my felines, remembering the voice on the machine, the bizarre timing. But Joe didn’t want anymore children, and I wanted a life with him more than I wanted a child on my own. I chose Joe. I remember standing in the doorway looking across the bedroom at him, wondering if he had saved my life, if I would have died in childbirth. I stretch and extricate myself with care, kiss my companions, crawl out of bed.

Hours later, my morning walk behind me and my chores almost done, I am mixing oats and tuna juice and medicinal tea together for the cats. I am ready to be done, longing for my own first cup of tea, my dreamy downtime on the courtyard patio. I place their bowls on the kitchen floor. Sable tastes his, then returns to glare at me where I stand beside the stove. He sits there, waiting for rectification. I added a few grains of cayenne to the mix this morning. How could it possibly make that much difference to him? Seven grains between the two of them? I am angry, then, maybe because I am feeling behind in my day, maybe because I am cranky, too long without a proper breakfast, only one tablespoon of almond butter in me yet. I yell at him, maybe because it is so damn frustrating to have him waltz away from his full bowl when I already worry he is too thin. I don’t want him skipping breakfast, am afraid he can’t afford to, so I take out tomorrow’s oat concoction to start over, no cayenne this time. I place the glass bowl on top of the toaster oven to warm it. But I don’t just sigh my helplessness, my worry–I yell at him some more. I say things to make him feel guilty for not liking the food, for making all the work I just did be for nothing.

Sable (black cat) lounging in colorful pillows“I work hard for you,” I yell. I know how ridiculous I am, but I don’t stop. “This food doesn’t just materialize,” I say. He looks at me like I’m crazy, which I am. He walks outside, and I make my tea while the oven takes the chill off the second batch of food. I sit under the little red umbrella and sip the hot, sweet tea. I let things slide off me. I remember my waking thought, and I think about how good it is I don’t have children. I would have yelled at them the same way. It would have been bad, doing that to a child, making them feel wrong. I want to learn not to yell at my cats, but they don’t take it on, don’t take it in the way a child would. They have thicker hides. And they don’t speak English. They avoid me until my sanity returns. I apologize to Sable while he inspects a cluster of rocks beside the small palm. There must be signs of invasion because his sniffing is serious. “I’m sorry, Boo,” I say. I tell him a few times. He blinks at me. All is forgiven. I’m never going to give birth, I think again. This is a good thing. I have my hands full learning how to tend to the little ones I already have.

About Riba

I'm a writer and a teacher, though I usually say it in reverse. I hope to find more of a balance between the two. ;-)
This entry was posted in Animals, Cats, Daily life, Family, Life, Musings, Thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to No Baby (49)

  1. Dani says:

    you don’t know me. I am a friend of Colleen’s.
    Thank you for this. It has touched me deeply.

  2. jmgoyder says:

    This post really got to me – you will be okay!

  3. I’ve never had a child either but that was a choice, but I have to cats which somehow I’ve become their housekeeper.

    The clock ticked loudly for some time, and there were times when I thought I’d succumb, but my fiends whi have families allow me to share, and for me I realised it was enough, and my two kitties keep me occupied although they don’t really need me, but the cuddles and the loud appreciative purrs and taking up all the space at make me realise I chose another way to nurture.

  4. Riba says:

    Goodness! I am moved and honored by each of your comments here.

    I hope the overall feeling I expressed wasn’t of regret or feeling like I didn’t choose. I did choose, too. And I love my cats, love my life. I was only reporting/revealing my morning. And this sentence was what surfaced (from the depths!??!!).

    So. Thank you for reading and for letting me know my words reached in. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

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