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The end of the Baby Train

Alison Berkley Margo

So I found out a couple of days ago that our little attempt at sci-fi baby-making has failed, and my road to having a child (at least one with my own DNA) has come to an end.

Yeah, you could say I’m pretty bummed. Like, imagine if you bought a brand-new car and then lit it on fire or you dropped your diamond ring into the sewer or you put your heart on the line and someone in a white coat who makes seven figures a year because you believed he could help you, shattered it. That’s pretty much what it feels like.

We knew we were taking a chance, gambling with odds that (let’s be honest) weren’t exactly in our favor. That’s not to say every other 40-plus-year-old woman I know in Aspen is getting knocked up just like that and then skiing or biking or even running her way to the delivery room and then flitting around Food & Wine five days later in a tight dress as if nothing unusual ever happened. (“That’s why they call her “All the Way May”).

I know I’m in a bit of a state right now, but I literally feel like a Sneech without a star on my belly, and all I see are bellies with stars.

Here’s the thing. I sort of knew this was going to happen. If there’s one thing I learned from my years as a danger slut, when the lines between fantasy and reality were as blurry as my vision after a night of hard drinking at Bentley’s, you can’t always get what you want.

I would choose some highly dysfunctional derelict with either a serious substance-abuse problem or a mental disorder, or both, and project all my fantasies onto him. I would fix him and polish him and make him shiny, and after he got out of rehab and got on the right meds, we’d live happily ever after. He would sort of tolerate me because I showered him with love and gifts and home-cooked meals and booze-fueled romps that can happen only when you know the moment can’t last because it always ended badly.

But you guys know all about that already.

After I got married, some of that fantasy life got channeled into this idea of having a baby. I already had names picked out. I had nursery colors in mind and already was drawing up plans in my head for how to manage a baby in a house that has a spiral staircase and a trapdoor in the ceiling that goes to the second bedroom.

It should have occurred to me that when you get married at 41, your family-planning program is probably already a little askew. But I had plenty of help keeping my fantasy alive.

“I have this one friend who got pregnant when she was 43, and all she had to do was close her eyes, put on a pair of glittery shoes and click her heels three times,” people would tell me.

“As soon as you stop trying, it will happen,” friends would say. Or it was, “Try not to think about it.” That never worked for me. When you have a pink elephant sitting on your chest with a monkey on its back that is banging a tambourine very loudly, it’s kind of hard to ignore.

The best is when people offer the kind of wisdom you might find in the self-help section of a store that sells rocks and patchwork skirts and patchouli oil. “If you keep a diary of your bowel movements and eat dried insects at least twice a week, you’ll get pregnant just like that. And it’s really good for your skin.”

Just a few weeks ago I was telling an acquaintance I was about to undergo in vitro fertilization, and he goes, “My wife has this book about taking care of your own fertility or something like that. You’re supposed to take your temperature every day and chart your cervical mucus.”

I wanted to say, “I really hope I never have to hear the words ‘cervical mucus’ come out of your mouth ever again.” But I just stood there and nodded my head.

“Dude, I’m so far past that point. I’m about to donate my body to science,” I said, but I could tell he wasn’t really listening.

What’s really ironic is that for the thousands of dollars we spent going to the designer baby ,aker, my yoga teacher Marlon had the answer from the start.

“You either have good eggs, or you don’t,” she said one day when I told her my plans to seek medical intervention. This coming from a woman who, at 42, decided to have a child and got pregnant by blinking her eyes six times and wrinkling her nose like that lady from the 1970s TV show “Bewitched.”

It turns out Marlon was right. I still have plenty of eggs, but it turns out they’re all bad. It’s like that carton of eggs in the grocery store that are all cracked and broken so no one buys them until someone finally comes and throws them away.

It’s hard for me not to beat myself up or to feel bad. I feel like I am the bad egg.

But if there is one thing I’ve learned from finding my true love, it’s that the best things in life happen when you least expect it. You can try injecting yourself with hormones, and you can go to the best doctors on the planet with the highest success rates and spend a million dollars, and you can pray to a God you never really believed in to begin with. But there is something about manufacturing your destiny (or your fantasy or your baby) that never sat right with me.

If I can’t have a baby of my own, there’s only one thing left to do: go buy myself a pug.

The Princess has always wanted a pug. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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