Marion Winik finds herself in a place she thought she'Â’d never be -Â— again.
Just a year ago, I was at my OB-GYNâ€™s office to get a Pap smear. Dear Dr. Diana, who has seen me through so much.
â€œYou still have that IUD,â€ she said, her head between my legs, no doubt staring the thing in its shiny eye.
â€œYep,â€ I replied, in the laconic way of one in stirrups. A speculum doesnâ€™t do much for conversation.
â€œAnd you turn 40 this year, right?â€
â€œWell, if youâ€™ve been thinking about having any more kids, youâ€™d better get a move on.â€
â€œWhat?!â€ I squawked. â€œAre you crazy?â€ I was the single mother of two elementary-school-age boys. I had a boyfriend I had no intention of marrying. I was almost 40 years old. If it werenâ€™t physically impossible, I think my knees would have snapped together for emphasis.
â€œWell, Iâ€™m just mentioning it because youâ€™re coming to the end of the line. If you want another baby, you should be aware that things get more chancy after 42.â€
â€œYeah, well, 42, here I come,â€ I grumbled.
â€œDonâ€™t take it personally,â€ she said. â€œI say this to all my patients your age. Just in case.â€
Just in case. Amazing how these far-fetched â€œcasesâ€ become as inevitable as rain on a Cub Scouts camping trip. Yes, indeed, letâ€™s fast-forward the tape one year, to yesterday. Driving home from a weekend at the Texas coast with my friend Jessica. Weâ€™ve got a couple of 8-year-olds
snoozing in the back; ahead of us in another car, her husband has the 11-year-olds and the dog.
â€œMaud without an e is nice,â€ I speculate.
â€œOh, yes. Itâ€™s kind of like Nell,â€ she agrees.
â€œNell, thatâ€™s beautiful. I used to love Sophie, but now itâ€™s gotten too popular.â€
Yes, believe your ears. Jessica and I, now fully 40, were discussing baby names. And why is that? Because Iâ€™m thinking of having a baby. My mother says Iâ€™ve lost my mind, my children are looking at me oddly, but my peers, the 40-something ladies, seem to know just what Iâ€™m talking about.
In the past year, I have been the subject of a transformation strangely reminiscent of one in my mid-20s, when I went from hardly noticing babies to snatching them from their Snuglis. From glazing over during discussions of diapers to trying to figure out whether I was a cloth person or a paper person. After developing this case of stroller lust, I soon found my 24-year-old self â€” surprise! â€” married, and then, a few years later, pregnant. But once my kids were walking and talking, babies went off my radar screen. I was back to jogging around carriages without even peering into them.
Well, I tell you, itâ€™s happened again. I canâ€™t keep my hands off the little pink-and-blue cuddlemuffins. And I went from a relationship that had nothing to do with having babies to meeting and getting engaged to a guy who practically makes my breasts ache with the desire to reproduce. (Weirdly, once youâ€™ve breastfed, stroller lust expresses itself in this way.) Just like the first time around, except 15 years later, my life and heart seem to be rearranging themselves around the possibility of a wee bairn. This biological clock works like, well, clockwork.
Did finding my boyfriend make me want a baby, or did wanting a baby make me find him? Whether we remain married to the father of our older kids, are working on a second family or are still gamely trying to locate Mate
No. 1, women my age are turning into the people I saw waiting in the doctorâ€™s office when I was pregnant the first time around. I used to tell my husband that those aging preggos made me, at 30, feel like a teen mother. And now I tell myself to shut my fresh mouth.
Tomorrow, Iâ€™ll be going in again for my annual Pap smear. Boy, wonâ€™t Dr. Diana be surprised when I tell her what I want to do with this IUD.
Or maybe she wonâ€™t be surprised at all.