So last week I was sitting in a park, watching babies luxuriate on swings like chubby little sultans and I resented them for it. The next day, I was outside one of the hospitals on my “evening rounds” thinking about babies, still. I was there in that dumpster full of bio-waste, careful not to touch any needles, in search of delicious hospital Jell-O, and thinking, “God, babies are the fucking worst.” And then I looked up into that brick fortress above and I thought, “There’s a lot of babies about to be born in there. There’s a lot of babies inside a lot of women. People inside of people. Like some gross fleshy MC Escher puzzle.”
And then it dawned on me. It was there, crouching on plastic bags bulging with fluids of uncertain origin, that I realized all at once why people have babies. It’s not because people want babies. Nobody in their right mind would want a pet meatloaf that shits itself. Everyone understands babies suck, but that’s the rub: people don’t have babies because they want to have babies.
People have babies because being pregnant is awesome.
I was a little dizzy from the fumes at this point (which is a pretty solid bonus to all the free snacks in there) but it was the greatest epiphany ever. Like realizing you don’t have to live by society’s rules and do dumb time-wasting shit like take showers, like realizing you can run up and down subway tracks and never get electrocuted or eat spray paint because you fucking want to. You don’t even have to make up flimsy excuses about how you like the colors it turns your mouth. Everyone knows you’re a liar. Everyone knows you just want that delicious paint.
So people who are really literal have this crazy idea that being pregnant sucks, but that’s because they’re dumb. Sure, you have to endure morning sickness, swollen feet, weight gain, even a parasitic organism developing inside of you, gnawing your flesh, slowly absorbing your essence until you jettison that selfish little fuck and it takes a part of you with it that you can never recover.
In fact, it seems like the benefits to pregnancy are cold comfort in light of the whole swollen feet thing. Like, people will give you a seat on the subway (which, granted, outweighs the soul-sucking parasite aspect) but still. The only other benefit that I think people commonly recognize is getting to paint funny faces on your stomach and walk around in half shirts being like, “Bonjour, I’m Monsieur Pudgy Face, I’ve come to collect your taxes!!” That and getting seats on the subway.
But people don’t ever think past that. Until now. Imagine, if you will, you’re walking home, it’s late at night, you’ve had a few and you live in a pretty gnarly neighborhood so you’re a little vigilant. You come into your darkened apartment and turn the lights on… only to reveal your place completely trashed: tables overturned, lamps broken, your commemorative plate collections scattered across the floor. Your blood runs cold. You hear noises coming from the kitchen and you follow the commotion. You find your kitchen in the same state of horrifying disrepair: cabinets open, sink overflowing, garbage all over the floor.
But in the center of your kitchen is a pregnant woman. She’s squatting over a 5 lb. bin of Red Vines which she is eating using a fistful of chocolate cake as a spoon and a sour pickle as a knife. And you stand there, and you regard her, and your stomach turns slightly, because in a small way this is detestable to you. But I ask, what can you say? What can you do?
The answer, my friends, is nothing. Because that woman has the gift of life. Fucking inside of her.
You are powerless to her insane whims because there is a developing human within her folds and that is more extraordinary than all the commemorative plates and runny hospital Jell-O in the world.
Pregnant women can unapologetically do whatever the fuck they want and everyone has to scrunch up their faces sympathetically and nod and say, “When are you due?” You could do whatever you want when pregnant and nobody can say anything.
Want to go to a museum and fuck up a masterwork with grape juice? You can and people will watch and nod knowingly and say to each other, “She’s just glowing.” Want to eat an endangered species? You have cravings. Want to throw clods of grass and dirt at strangers? You’ve had some morning sickness and feel a little uneven. Want to run through libraries pulling books off shelves? You’re “over the moon” and picking out swatches for the nursery. Want to kill a cat? Do it with a person inside of you.
I can’t wait till I’m pregnant because I really see it as free license to do whatever you want however you want without making any stupid excuses for nine months. I guess at the end of those nine months, you have a tiny human life that depends on you for everything, but I think I could teach a baby to have interests at least consistent with my own. They like Jell-O, right?