“I think I have a urinary tract infection.” That’s what I was thinking yesterday at one point when I sat amongst 17 women (one by laptop proxy) who are my fellow castmates in Listen To Your Mother. This was after making a minute late appearance after hustling to get there on two buses and a train — the train which just stopped forever for no apparent reason. To which I thought, “Oh, for crying out loud, there’s always one late person, and this time, it’s going to be me!! FUCK!” Guess I’ll have a little more sympathy for Latey McLaterson next time.
But I sat there and thought about my UTI and didn’t really mind, because I was so happy to be there. Happy to be in the energy of so many crazy talented ladies. This was the first time we were hearing each other’s stories and man, were they powerful. Tackling so many different topics and so many different aspects of motherhood — being a mother, having mothers, being children, having children, losing mothers, losing children, crazy children, crazy mothers, wild experiences with children, wild experiences with mothers, laughing, crying, singing, dancing, driving, moving, loving. You are in for a real treat.
However, I do think I have a urinary tract infection. Well, I know I do. I’m getting the little jabs of pain in my lower right abdomen just like I did this time last year when I was writhing in pain in the hospital with a full-blown kidney infection, thinking about how the two reasons I’ve ever wanted children were to 1. see if I could heroically withstand the pain of natural childbirth and 2. to create a better, smarter, kinder, more awesome version of me. I know. Both are ridiculously, crazy, self-centered, vain, stupid reasons to the max. Aren’t you glad I’m not having any children?
I’m the only one in the cast that doesn’t have a child. Ever since I was a child myself, I knew I didn’t want kids. I was always so pissed when people would tell me that I was “going to change my mind.” Wow, that was so freaking presumptuous of them to tell me what I was going to do with MY BODY. I know now that many things radically change from when you are 12-years-old to being an adult, but I feel like I am an old soul and have been pretty fully formed from the get for some reason. For instance, my parents say I was reading at 2.5 years old. So, I was highly offended at the idea I didn’t know what I was talking about.
For years and years, I outright hated kids. Just despised them. After getting sober, that very slowly started to leave me, and then working for a midwife for two years really helped it wane away. The other part in that process was identifying the sensation as not so much as a loathing, but a fear. I just have a big old baby phobia. I have a lot of weird phobias (including but not limited to: tumbleweeds, sinkholes, big signs, band-aids, ketchup in certain circumstances, and sticky things), but babies are definitely fairly high on the list. But even that is fading. So, miracles can happen.
But as I laid in the hospital in the worst pain of my life, I thought, “This must be my punishment/reward for wishing I could experience childbirth.” I also thought that I probably could do it. Being that I’m not allowed to have the mind or mood altering drugs anymore, I was in pain for a very, very long time (over days) before I finally succumbed and asked them to give me something. And in retrospect, if I was going to a soft place for a little bit, I wish I had asked them to give me something a little happier and softer, seeing by the time I left the hospital, I was in the same searing pain I was when I left — doubled over, cramped up, fighting to walk.
And I’m not confused today — I know that no matter how much pain I was in — I still had many more notches to go before I was reaching contraction-level pain. I was in pretty good, though. I was all by myself and the pain was, oddly enough, coming in waves. I would breathe through it, and just pant like a dog. And also let me tell you — I get why ladies are so exhausted right before they give birth. It’s the contractions and the pushing — but it’s also just fucking exhausting TO BE IN PAIN FOR SO LONG. Seriously. I had a couple little mini meltdowns where I just cried for a bit — I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself or feel like a baby, but for fuck’s sake, it was just so exhausting to be in continuous pain for over a day. Not being able to sleep, not being able to be in any position that was comfortable, not being able to get away from this constant, sharp, terrible pain. Just thinking about it makes me sort of ill.
When I was younger, I was super critical of people who had children. They were tied down. They were worried about money. They couldn’t have sex in any room of their house whenever they wanted. At 39, I still don’t want children, and if I have the opportunity to ever get married, that would be just fantastic … I’d still like to be able to have sex in whatever room of the house I’d like. But in an unexpected twist, I felt odd-woman out for being the only one *without* a child. Here they were, with careers and degrees and blogs and homes and lives AND still managed to raise a bunch of small humans. Crazytown. I don’t know how people really do it, honestly. I can barely fend for myself still.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to know these ladies. I feel like I’ve known them forever. Our souls have crossed paths somewhere along the line. I hope long after Listen To Your Mother, we’ll be collaborating on writing projects and improv scenes and webseries and live shows and podcasts and all sorts of things. I have big plans for us all, ladies, big plans.
*One of the women that I sat next to at our post-rehearsal dinner had a daughter WHO WAS IN THE MIDST OF HAVING A KIDNEY INFECTION!! Which was crazy, because this time last year, I was in the middle of said hospital-having kidney infection which was so terrible and then I am also having a UTI and I’m praying it doesn’t get worse so I don’t get the kidney infection!!
**The title — I’m not getting married, but I just feel like I’m getting married to myself this year. Something old — the blog, something new — LTYM, something borrowed — the wisdom and energy and confidence and experience of the women I’m meeting, something blue — it’s my favorite color, people!!