Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’s Palate
Aspen CO Colorado
So on Friday I had my womb renovated.
Yes, that’s what I said. Not my room but my womb.
This is what happens when you spend your 30s bebopping around discovering that you love partying just as much as you did when you were in high school, and no, you haven’t had enough powder days yet. This is what happens when you spend half your life trying to get hot at hot yoga and the other half flitting around Aspen pillaging the sale racks at Free People or Quiksilver to see what clothes you can still squeeze into that a teenager might buy just so you can prolong this notion that you’ll never have to grow up even longer.
Then one day, you turn 40 and it’s like, “Holy sheet, I’m, like, middle-aged.”
I was at my mom’s 70th birthday party Sunday and realized that if I do pull off having a baby in the final hour, my kid will only be 27 when I turn 70, not 43.
Still, when I look at my mom, whose big birthday gift was a new skate-skiing ensemble by Salomon from my dad, I actually think I might be able to swing this. Just last week, I took my mom snowboarding through trees so dense that you literally have to switch to animal mode in order not to hit one. Halfway down, it sort of occurred to me, as my legs were burning and heart was pounding, more out of fear than lack of fitness, that maybe this wasn’t such a great idea.
But sure enough, when I popped out at the catwalk, I was both relieved and thrilled to see my mom explode from a cloud of powder with a gigantic smile on her face, blond hair sticking out of her helmet as if from all the excitement.
That gave me hope. That made me think maybe this isn’t so insane after all, thinking we can give this baby-making thing one last try.
I know I probably shouldn’t be telling you guys this, more than anything because I know what’s going to happen. Every time I run into you on the street, you’re going to casually look down at my belly the same way a man tries not to gawk at some good cleavage. Hello – it’s that obvious. Then I’ll have to stand there and pretend I can’t read your mind as you’re thinking, “Is she pregnant? I can’t really tell. Should I ask?”
The answer is no. Unless my stomach is at least six paces ahead of me and I am as wide as I am tall, you should not ask. Chances are I’m just bloated or overweight on account of my weakness for spelt pretzels.
Besides, it’s going to be a long road, and there’s a chance we might never even get there. We could end up with nothing. We know that, but no one has ever accused us of being the rational or sensible type.
Like thousands of entitled blond women before me who pull up to the fertility clinic in Denver in their black Audis, hair shiny from a recent Brazilian blowout and 40-year-old faces young from regular Botox injections, we sit in the well-appointed lobby that looks more like a spa or a fancy department store to see if we can test Mother Nature once again while our husbands sink their noses into their smartphones, trying not to think about having to provide another “sample” of their DNA.
I have given my body over to science. I have opened Pandora’s box. I have signed the dotted line. I don’t know if I have sold my soul, but if I get my way, I might have bought one, tucked inside a little designer baby whose name should probably be something like Gucci or Dior. Gucci Margo actually does sound kind of good.
So now, we get to pay the already very rich baby-maker man even more money to put me through various forms of torture over the course of the next several months in order to try to have a child. (I repeat: Unless you catch me doing Lamaze breathing in the produce aisle at the supermarket, do not assume I am pregnant.)
This includes but is not limited to: injectable drugs, surgical procedures, having my uterus plated in gold and little red satin bows tied around my ovaries.
My friend Lisa went through this whole process at my age and knows a lot about it. She got a daughter out of the deal and refers to her as “the million-dollar baby” because it took seven rounds of in-vitro fertilization to get her.
Lisa tried to warn me that the baby manufacturer would find something wrong with me and want to do surgery, and sure enough, she was right. So last week I went down to Denver to have what Ryan calls my “heart-shaped box” retrofitted to become a more suitably shaped womb.
It has occurred to me that this is a crazy idea, trying to buy my way out of a situation I got myself into in the first place, waiting this long to try to have kids. But something is propelling me forward, a force much larger than I am. I don’t want to get all goopy spiritual on you because that is so not me, but it’s true. It’s like I just surrendered and let this higher power take over.
Then the other day I woke up and Ryan was lying there, propped up on one elbow, staring at me with that half-cocked goofy smile on his face. And that’s when I realized it’s not God’s will. It’s mine.
I looked into those big, round, gooey, chocolate-brown eyes and knew exactly what’s been driving me all along: the hope that one day I might see those very same eyes in the face of my child.
The Princess has no secrets. Email your love to email@example.com.
“2023 predicted to be the Vintage of a Lifetime in Napa Valley,” proclaimed the headline this week in a press release sent out by the Napa Valley Vintners, the trade organization that represents the growers and producers in America’s most famed wine region. If there is anyone more optimistic than winemakers, it is the group that represents them.