You’re Not Having a Baby

5 Oct

Congratulations on your pregnancy, but you’re not actually having a baby. It will be a baby when it’s born, but that will likely comprise the shortest period of his or her life. You’ll feed, bathe, and teach this baby in its most formative years, and this will help form a lasting bond between the two of you, one which you will attempt to strengthen throughout your lifetime and your child will diligently attempt to reject.

Say you’re having a child, that’s more truthful. You’re having an actualized, self-aware human being who cannot wait to test his or her new art supplies on your nice clean walls. A child you will have to chastise for furtively clutching their genitals in public. A child that introduces you to a world of kid-centric inanity of which you could not previously conceive. Whatever you enjoy doing now will end when this kid is born, it will be replaced by trips to the toy store and incomprehensible children’s movies and long, rambling stories about what happened in some cartoon that day, and why this means you need to buy the new Sgt. Slutbag of the Jersey Shore Patrol doll. But it’s not all horrors and trials raising children, there are many rewarding moments like when your offspring mispronounces “pasketti.” No, it’s not so bad having a child, which is why I think people should announce that they are having a teenager.

No one can possibly like a teenager, they will simply not allow it to happen. Prepare yourself for shitty attitudes and deep, hair-blowing sighs heaved in your direction. You will never know how stupid you really are until you have a teenager, and then they will remind you of this fact at every turn. Appreciate having your wallet rifled through, your clothing purloined, your newly-purchased food mysteriously vanish just as your teenager asks what’s for dinner–a meal that he or she will absolutely despise, no matter what the composition. Try to feel enchanted when your darling baby tells you that he or she didn’t ask to be born. Embrace the fact that your kid is going to want to fuck, constantly, and you will have to stoically ignore their crusty underwear stains and obnoxious pornographic materials. Still, you can probably remember being a teenager, and knowing that folks often come out the other side of puberty perfectly cordial. So if you can muddle through this period (heh), then you can begin the next stage of development, one which you likely did not consider before getting knocked up or doing the knocking: the clinging young adult.

The legal responsibility for your child will end when he or she turns eighteen, but realistically you’ll be supporting them for a while beyond that. Be sure to scrimp and save for an overpriced college tuition so your progeny can blow it all on a degree in Medieval Literature. You’ll know that cash has gone to good use when the student comes home on break and reinforces how clueless you are. Anticipate coming home from your regular workday to find every dish in the house sullied and left in clattering heap that towers over the edge of the sink. Get used to the smell of marijuana wafting through your household and listening to your offspring detail numerous hare-brained schemes, many of which will require an investment on your part. Luckily for you, your legal and a large part of your social responsibility to your adult brat has concluded, and now you can show him or her the door.

Which brings us to what you’ve really had all along: an ungrateful, bitter adult, one who will never call and might visit once a year, if their partner allows. After all the shit you’ve been put through, this bubbling baby, this cranky child, this morose teenager and shiftless young adult now blames you for his or her existential anguish, and the best evidence for your kid’s spiteful attitude is that you will see him or her maybe two dozen times in the last twenty years of your life. This is what you’ve wrought, not a loving, needful baby, but an angry, mordant adult whose absence serves only to make your twilight years lonelier than they might have been had you been childless. Though I suppose if we choose to look at it in these terms, no one would have children ever again.

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