Kids? Well back in the day, it was just what you did. You had kids. It was expected. I never thought to question societal expectations. In fact, I had no idea what else I was going to do when I grew up other than have babies. The only things the women in my family did was have babies and watch soaps.
I played with dolls, growing up. All you really do with them is dress them. Everything else is pretend. Pretend to feed, bathe, change diapers. Other than that, you can throw them in a corner and ignore them. They don’t grow up, get into trouble, talk back. Playing with dolls doesn’t really prepare you for being a parent. And I never had one of those random crying dolls or eggs to take care of for a school health class like you used to see in those Afterschool Specials in the ’80’s.
When I had my son–my starter kid–I changed that baby’s outfits at least fifteen times a day and took so many pictures. I went to the store with him just to walk around and show off my cute baby. It’s an attention thing for girls with no other purpose in life. You get the pregnant belly attention and then the cute newborn awwwtention. And you get to fulfill the desire to be needed by someone. You define yourself by your baby. “Mommy” becomes who you are. It becomes your profession, your job title. Your purpose.
It’s a whole new ball game once the kid starts thinking for himself and is no longer just an extension of you. He starts running from you, saying no, back talking, kicking, screaming. He no longer needs you as much and now you’re getting negative attention, disapproving stares in the grocery store, and you’re like, wait…this isn’t working anymore. I need a new baby. This one’s broken.
So I was essentially conditioned to have babies. My mother constantly told me someday I’d fall in love, get married and give her grandbabies. Now, I knew that wasn’t how it was done. My mother got knocked up at 19 by a 17 year-old, and their parents forced them to get married when my mother was four months pregnant with me. A few years later they must have had a fight and make-up sex because then my sister was born and they were separated a year later and soon divorced.
So in my family (and maybe this was and still is common in certain socioeconomic circles like mine–white trash) if you couldn’t get a man to marry you in the conventional way, you snagged a man by stealing his sperm. Then he either had to marry you or fork over a large percentage of his earnings, prompting him to find work under the table so he wouldn’t have to report everything. If you could get a man drunk enough that he’d let you ride him bareback even if he knew you weren’t on birth control, you were golden. You found your soul mate for at least a few years. I think we got a lot of ideas from watching soap operas.
This was my golden age.
I’m 18 with no career or college plans. Straight out of high school, I’m a counter girl at a local pizza joint. No idea what I’m going to do with my life. Girls from school are having babies left and right. They happily stroll their babies around all day and talk about their hard-working man who takes care of them. Or the deadbeat who doesn’t, but it’s okay because they still get free rent, free food, free this, free that.
I never wanted to be that girl though. My mother was like that. After my dad was gone, she started getting state benefits. Eventually they tried to get her off the dole but she wasn’t having it. “No. He’s supposed to pay child support. You just give me my check. I ain’t gonna work.“
One night when all of the pizza twirlers and delivery drivers are talking about college parties and drinking games, neither of which I have any experience with, I pipe up, “Oh my god, you know what I’ve never done before? Tequila shots.”
“Wanna do some with me?” One of the guys, an older guy–like 22–who’s a college dropout because it was ‘too fucking lame’ and who dreams of owning his own pizza shop, says he’ll buy some tequila and take me to his place to do shots with him.
“That would be totally awesome.”
We get to his place and his roommates aren’t home. We sit on the living room carpet and play some card game he knows at the coffee table while we do shots.
“Mmm… I could really use a massage. Will you give me one?”
I take off my shirt.
I lie on my stomach and he gives me a back massage for while until I roll over to get him to do my front side. I slide out of my pants to get more comfortable. He can’t help but kiss me when he starts squeezing my tits.
But then he’s like, “Uh, I don’t have anything.”
“Like, diseases? Me neither.”
“No, rubbers. Well, no, no diseases either.”
“It’s okay.” I make him kiss me some more.
“Are you on the pill?”
“No, but I’ve been having sex for like years and I’ve never gotten pregnant. So I don’t think I can.”
“Oh. I don’t think this is a good idea.” He sits up.
“Okay.” Time for another round of shots then. I pour them. “Your turn. I’ll give you a massage now. Here.” I help him take his shirt off and hand him the shot glass.
I rub his back for a while and then get him to take his pants off so I can massage his leg muscles which must be so tired and achy from standing at work all day.
“Roll over and I’ll get your front,” I tell him.
Somewhere in the process, I’ve managed to get my panties off. I straddle him, grinding into his package as I massage his chest. I run my fingers through his chest hair and he slowly starts grinding into me. His boxers aren’t even off, but suddenly I feel skin instead of fabric when his cock finds its way out the front opening. Before he even realizes it, I’m riding him and it’s a done deal. There’s no going back. Once he’s inside me, whatever brain function he had left after the tequila shots is gone.
After a few minutes, he’s done. I dismount. and we’re both like, “Fuck. We just did it.”
“What if I’m pregnant?”
And these are the days before Plan B and the days when I was still pro-life but apparently anti-birth control, and he’s like, “You’re not.”
“I’m not? What are you, a doctor? A psychic? A wizard? How do you know?”
“You said you couldn’t get pregnant.”
“I said I didn’t THINK I could, but I don’t KNOW.”
“Well, fuck! You won’t have it, right? If you are?”
“Well, I would never have an abortion if that’s what you mean.”
“Whatever happens, happens. If I do get pregnant, it’s just meant to be.”
“I mean, I’ve never gotten pregnant before and I’ve been with a few guys so if I do now, it’s like… a sign or something, you know? It must mean you’re the one.”
“Oh fuck. You need to go. My roommates are gonna be home soon.”
“But you brought me here. I don’t have a way to get home.” I cry. “And…” I sob. “… I might be carrying your child.”
Cue soap opera cliffhanger music.
So he begrudgingly lets me sleep with him in his bed and one night turns to a week, turns to a month. I miss my period and soon he spends the next several weeks trying to convince me not to have his kid. He won’t accompany me to the ultrasound. He won’t even give me a ride so I end up taking the city bus there and back. I show him the pictures and all he has to say is, “I was hoping they’d tell you there’s something wrong with it.“
When the crucial decision-making window has closed and he realizes I’m having it, he gives in and goes to look at an apartment with me. He provides his information for section 8 paperwork because it’s a better option than being forced to pay child support for a kid he’ll probably never see while some other guy comes along to live with me and help me spend his money.
But that’s the only reason he’s with me and he makes sure he reminds me of this every day. He tells me he doesn’t love me and he won’t be with me forever. He’ll find someone better someday.
But for now, he pays the rent. Buys the food and diapers. So what can I do? I have a baby to take care of and he’s adorable and I just know someday his dad will change his mind and come around to realizing he loves me and he’ll marry me and we’ll have more babies. We don’t call ourselves a family. It sounds awkward. I know he doesn’t feel like we’re a family.
We do still have a lot of sex though. He even taught me how to have orgasms once he called me out on faking them and got me to stop doing that. So, he kind of cares, right? Like, with all of the sex I’d had before, no one cared if I was actually enjoying it. I only faked because I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought maybe I was deformed and didn’t have the ability to cum (but then again I was wrong about not being able to get pregnant, too). I just wanted him to think I was sexy and that I knew what I was doing. More than that, I wanted him to love me. I just wanted him to fall in love with me, the mother of his child. I mean, was that too much to expect?