Princess: Faking it till I make it
It’s raining babies again.
It appears that November must be a chilly month when Aspenites curl up under the covers and conceive children. Maybe it’s because it’s the only time of year all you psycho athletes (you know who you are) are forced to actually sit down for a minute (God forbid) and not attempt your usual eight-plus-hour workout because it’s raining/snowing/muddy/cold. So for once, even if you’ve decided you want to see if you can run from Aspen to Telluride (I mean, come on: You have to push yourself that extra mile, right?), you’re shut down by good ol’ Mother Nature. You think, “Maybe I’ll try to skin there instead,” but unfortunately the snowpack is still too thin.
So I’m thinking maybe this is the one time of year that you do some day drinking, maybe on a rainy Sunday, and (oopsie!) you tripped over your shoelace and made a baby. Because in the past few weeks, there’s been a slew of new babies who all seemed to arrive simultaneously, as if the stork thought maybe it would be cheaper and easier to just deliver in bulk.
The photos are flooding my Facebook newsfeed, these little bundles of joy with their puffy pink faces and thick eyelids, looking like maybe they weren’t quite ready for their profile pics yet. I actually feel sorry for the moms who have to deal with proud pappas snapping away when they’re still laid up in hospital beds with tubes up their nose looking way too exhausted to argue. Of course, they’re beautiful in a way, I guess. And no, I’m not just saying that to make you feel better. I really mean it. And yes, you’ll lose the baby weight in no time because you worked out harder during your pregnancy than I do. Kisses.
Anyway, I’m in a much better place now than I was a year ago after suffering our second failed round of in-vitro fertilization. Every time I see a baby, I see my pug. I mean, they look very similar with their big, round eyes and their drool and the general look of dismay. Gertie makes these little noises when you pick her up and hold her that are very human babylike. And no, I’m not crazy, because even my vet said so. “She’s not even like a dog,” is what the vet said.
I do realize it’s crazy that we treat her like a baby, putting her to bed at night and singing her lullabies and rocking her gently in her crib until she falls asleep. So when I see these newborns, I think to myself, “They really aren’t all that different from Gertie.” And that makes it a lot easier somehow, even though I know it’s about as far from the truth as sanity is from delusion.
It’s just that I got to a point when I realized it was really important that I not feel resentful about other people’s happiness. I can’t imagine a worse way to live than to deny yourself the joy that should be shared among friends when something wonderful happens, especially when it happens to someone you love.
It wasn’t that long ago (OK, maybe it was a little more than 10 months) when a dear friend of mine announced she was pregnant over dinner at an Italian restaurant in the midvalley. It was just after I’d finished my second round of IVF and learned that a) none of our embryos survived, b) we’d wasted a lot more money than we have and c) I’ll never have my own biological child.
I smiled and said all the right things. I hugged her, and I asked the questions you’re supposed to ask like, “How far along are you?” and “How do you feel?”
And then I ordered another beer.
And then another and another until the bill came and it was time to leave.
“Sorry, I didn’t know my wife was such a lush,” Ryan said, not realizing what was going on in my head and, worse, in my heart. I think the only reason I kept drinking was to force down the lump that kept rising in my throat.
As soon as we got in the car, I burst into tears, the words tumbling out of my mouth between sobs. The pain was unbearable.
I hated myself for feeling that way, so I made a conscious decision. I remembered a mantra from yoga-teacher training that’s stuck with me: “Fake it till you make it.” I would embrace every new pregnancy with as much joy as if it were my own. I would go to every baby shower I was invited to and buy a gift from the registry, even if a “Breast Friend” breastfeeding pillow was not my idea of a cool gift. I would send the flowers and smoke the cigars and smile a lot, and then once the baby came, I would embrace them, too.
And you know what? It totally worked.
With this latest round of little Aspenites, my joy has been true. I am excited for these little groms to come into my life. I’m honored to know them from the time they were born. And I am genuinely, sincerely happy for my friends whom I love so much, to see them start their families and grow and change with the responsibility that brings.
And I do have wonderful relationships with some pretty great 2-, 4- and 6-year-olds who, while being born before I might have been ready for them, are like extended family to me now.
I also know now more than ever that I still want to be a mom; it’s just a matter of figuring out how to make it happen. I can guarantee you it won’t be what you expect or even what you condone. But before you judge me, let me give you some advice: Fake it till you make it, baby.
The Princess loves you, Aspen. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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