Friday, February 25, 2011

The Big Ask

So it finally happened. The question. The one that almost every parent of a singleton has had to wrassle with, and yet I still didn't see it coming.

"Mama, why don't I have a brother?"


For the record, there's no good answer to a question like this. I know because I tried my damndest to come up with one. You don't have a brother because our family consists of three people in it instead of four. You don't have a brother because we live in a tiny apartment in New York City. You don't have a brother because I got a BFA instead of a BA and have few career prospects unless I return to graduate school, which is a daunting prospect regardless of the fact that we cannot afford childcare. You don't have a brother because the first year of your life was a misery cocktail of colic, breastfeeding hell, 40 minute sleep sessions and postpartum depression. You don't have a brother because, contrary to what I'll tell you when you're 15, it's actually very, very hard to get knocked up.

I settled on, "You don't have a brother because you don't have one." I mean really, what else is there to say?

Of course the punchline to all this is that I don't appear to be ovulating this month. I recently turned a year older and I can't shake the fear that this is the beginning of the end of my fertility. I may still get carded (occasionally) but bottom line, Nature doesn't want us getting knocked up past a certain point. According to the internet, I'm more likely to give birth to basket of chicks than a healthy baby. (Totally unverifiable facts: At 30, there's only a 15% of getting pregnant each cycle. By 40, it's down to 5%. By 45, experts say it's almost impossible to get pregnant using your own eggs.) I'm not opposed to a medical intervention; most of my friends have had to go that route and have beautiful babies to show for it. Unfortunately for many stupid reasons that's not an option for us. And before someone sends out the hate mail, I know how lucky I am to have one healthy child. Trust me, no kid (except yours) is more wanted or loved.

I hope it changes. I hope this month is a fluke. I hope that the fact that I was really, really sick last month caused my cycle to go wonky and the years of set-your-watch-by-it ovulation days aren't over. But it all still feels like a punch to the gut.