Single Mom Diaries: And Baby Makes Two
I WANTED A BABY MORE THAN A HUSBAND
By Barbara Jones
"Poke a hole in your diaphragm," my friend Jackie advised.
"Once you have the baby, he'll love it."
I'd heard stories of women who manipulated various forms of birth control
and everything worked out — the disgruntled husband instantly besotted with the
kid. I wanted a family, and my husband didn't. If a baby had "just
happened," I'm sure he would have loved it, but I'm not a
diaphragm-puncturing kind of person. To me, parenthood should be an
all-volunteer army. I couldn't draft a man I loved into a lifetime of service
that he didn't want.
My husband and I had been college sweethearts, married at 25. My baby lust
started up suddenly when I was 27 or 28. In the city in spring, taunting
cherubs show up everywhere — in the cafés and parks, on the sidewalks jammed
with strollers. One weekend, we took care of a friend's 9-month-old, face round
as a ball, coffee-colored skin, crimson lips and cheeks — like a child in a
picture book. How happy we were, carrying her around town in the backpack,
singing to her, bathing her. When her parents returned, we were grief-stricken.
"Let's get the hell out of here," my husband said, grabbing our
suitcase. He knew we had to tear ourselves away before the startling sadness
Still, he wasn't ready for children of his own. He said, "Not yet,"
and "Not at this point, honey," and "You, of all people, know I'm
not ready." We talked and talked, but "now" stayed a far-off,
unnameable date. Meanwhile, friends old and new were sending out birth
announcements. I once received three of those 4-by-8 baby-photo postcards in
one day. On and on the babies were coming, none of them mine.
Then one night, I dreamed that I was a single mother, and happy. The next
day, when I told my therapist about it, she surprised me by saying, "Have
you thought of raising a child on your own before?" Before? I'd never
thought of it at all. It was only a dream.