“When is it going to be your turn to have a baby?” your auntie asks at your cousin’s fourth baby shower. The correct answer is:
A. When I can smash this diaper-shaped puff pastry in your face
B. When everyone stops stressing me the f* out about getting pregnant
C. None of your business, you smug hag with your fertile Myrtle daughter
D. All of the above
I swear there’s nothing worse than well-intentioned people asking about your uterus’ occupancy status in the months and (gasp!) years following your wedding. It’s worse in some American subcultures than in others; I have a Mormon friend who, six months after tying the knot, was beside herself because she and her husband hadn’t yet conceived. “I feel more pressure than the heroes in Star Wars when they were stuck in that trash compactor” she finally posted on her Facebook page. “I assure you, we’ll get there, but please…stop asking.”
Those of us who are trying to get knocked up always appreciate the encouragement, but jokes about us “not doing it right” or winks and elbow jabs from middle-aged casual acquaintances aren’t going to get us closer to our goal. Trust me. We’re doing everything right, according to the fertility apps on our Smartphones, and when we have to “put out” at the drop of a hat, the image of Grampa’s waggling eyebrows isn’t going to help us get the job done.
If someone in your life has been trying to conceive long enough that it’s become a topic of discussion, then it shouldn’t be a topic of discussion…period. Unless they bring it up. And when they do, they’ve got the talking stick until they very deliberately give it to you. You’ll know because you’ll be whacked over the head with it…requests for permission to cry on your shoulder, long-winded emotional rants or recommendations for bulk lubrication products. Hang on and go with it. And pretty much just shut up, unless you’ve actually been there and have useful advice to offer, and you’ve been asked.
Those of us who are going through fertility treatments are wildly hormonal and insane. Sorry, but chauvinistic rhetoric is in play when we’re getting stuck in the ass with shots, and stuck in another place at the sound of a phone chime, whether we’re up for it or not. It’s not sexy time when it’s on a schedule, and after months, we lose that naughty gleam in our eyes. Ever watch Clan of the Cave Bear? Yeah. It’s like that, but with a little less romance and, if you’re like my cousin’s husband, a lot more hair.
We’re told to play it cool, that anxiety and stress affect conception, but when we’re paying out of coverage and out the nose for treatments, pregnancy tests, vitamins, sacrificial small ruminants and “conception diets”, there’s a lot of pressure to get it done right this time.
Pressure takes the squee out of sexy time, every time.
“When my husband and I were trying to get pregnant, things got so routine that we surpassed the desperate ‘lingerie’ mark, rocketed past the fantasy role-playing mark, and eventually just settled on playing ‘Business Time‘ by Flight of the Conchords,” said Nadine, 32. “Because when it came down to it, embracing the reality of mundane, ‘f*ck it’ sex actually helped us get over ourselves and, well, get it on.”
Here, Nadine paused a few beats before continuing: “Get it on, get on with it…whatever.”
It’s one thing to hook up with your beau in a parking lot and hump like bunnies in the backseat because, well, you’re a nasty girl, it’s thrilling, he’s hot and it just feels good. It’s another thing make an appointment with your honey and his Honda on your coffee break, behind the industrial complex at work, because your iPhone’s ovulation calculator told you to do it.
So next time you’re out to lunch with your wanna-be Mom friend, refrain from asking if her Easy-Bake Oven is cooking a muffin but do ask how she’s feeling. Break a rule or two and treat her to a glass of wine, or support her pro-preggo diet with a nice salmon dinner. Go easy on the bullshit about how wonderful motherhood is, and what your precious angels are up to. In fact, you might consider going overboard at the other end of the spectrum. If you go off about how your kids set your backyard on fire, after all, she might stop trying so hard and end up getting knocked up by next Tuesday.
As for you couples who lose heart every time she pees on a stick, gather ’round. Listen. Sex will, one day, be sexy again. I’m not going to tell you to try and make it so now, while you’ve got the whole…agenda working against you. I won’t kid you and promise you’ll be back to flowers and chocolates after you conceive, either. Like with everything, nature takes its course, if you let it.
And because I can’t resist, I’ll leave you with some advice of my own: Ignore everyone else’s advice, unless they have a medical degree, and just be good to each other. Enjoy the time you spend alone together whether or not you’re actively (cough) trying to conceive because with any luck and before too long, that time will be pretty damn scarce, and you’ll be back to humping in the back of the Honda, just to get away from toddlers busting down your door.