Having a baby solved all my problems. All of them. A year ago I was just like every other slightly anxious cardigan-wearing woman in her early thirties, wondering if my life was on the right track. I was nervous about money, about my relationship, about my job. I needed a quick, easy fix—something simple I could do that would solve all my problems immediately and without too much work on my part. And that’s when I thought, “Why not have a baby?” That should fix everything, right?
It totally did.
And there are always going to be some naysayers. People who’ll say, “What are you talking about? Having a baby doesn’t solve your problems it just creates more problems,” and “Having a baby is a lot of work,” and “Sleepless nights from crying babies ends 1 in 3 marriages” and “blah blah blah postpartum depression” but you can’t listen to every whiny nobody with tons of relevant life experience and a solid grasp of statistics. Having a baby solved my problems and it will probably solve yours too, assuming, of course, that we have exactly the same problems.
Problem 1: I had too much money
How much money did I have? Think of me as a slightly lower budget Paris Hilton. Sometimes I would just walk into Pottery Barn and buy overpriced throw pillows and table runners for no reason. Pewter cheese knives? Why not, I’m loaded. Remember that Ricky Gervais/Tea Leoni movie “Ghost Town?” No? Exactly. I saw that completely unmemorable movie in the theaters because I was walking past a theater and found a twenty dollar bill in my pocket and hey, why not, I’ve got money and time to burn on a movie whose plot I’ll forget 20 minutes after I’ve seen it. I had the kind of money where I was getting mid-priced haircuts every other month while children in other countries were desperately trying to get access to basic medical care.
Luckily, since the baby I’ve been able to spend a huge chunk of my disposable income on formula, diapers and pediatrician visits where they tell me things like, “he’s gaining weight,” and “his head is kind of big but probably it’s fine.” I still walk in to Pottery Barn occasionally and am saving up to buy a throw pillow to replace the ones the baby destroyed by vomiting onto them.
Problem 2: I had no way to isolate myself from my fun, interesting, childless friends
So almost none of my close friends has kids because I made the mistake early on of befriending fun, upbeat women who enjoy life. Live and learn, right? And here’s the issue—these women would invite me to dinners or brunches or occasionally out for drinks and I would just have to GO AND ENJOY MYSELF because there wasn’t anyone at home who desperately needed 24 hour attention and care. And so I’d go out and once a conversation got started I had no choice but to relate to these women on a very interesting, human level because I hadn’t accumulated three months’ worth of mind-numbing stories about crying and milk vomit. Luckily that is now in the past and people now greet me with the phrase, “Hey, how’s the baby?” to which I respond by sobbing.
Problem 3: I wasn’t getting enough unsolicited advice from random people
I walk by dozens—maybe hundreds of people a day, and almost none of them were walking up to me and offering unsolicited advice on how to live my life. And what a colossal waste of resources—to be enmeshed in a thriving community of people who aren’t giving you constant feedback on every choice you make whether you want that feedback or not.
What are some of the things I’m doing wrong? What are my faults? Sure, my mother will tell me, but I only see her once a month. What would really make my day would be to get critiques from uncomfortably thin women who tell me between bites of their scooped out bagel that that’s not how I should hold the baby when I feed him and also I’m holding the bottle wrong and also really I should be breastfeeding and aren’t I worried that he’s overheating if he’s wearing that? Or that he might be too cold? And didn’t I read that article that said if you don’t lather your entire body in Purell before you kiss them on the forehead they have like a 90% chance of developing a strain of meningitis that will prevent them from learning Mandarin?
Problem 4: I was getting too much sleep.
This was becoming a HUGE issue. I slept all the time. I was like the Usain Bolt of sleeping and it was getting to the point where it was ruining my life—where I was TOO rested, you know? You know what that’s like when you’re just too well-rested and relaxed and you barely remember what it’s like to have an anxiety rash and a pulsing headache behind your eyeballs? I was sleeping a comfortable 9 to 10 hours a night, waking up refreshed, and all I could think was, “This has to stop.”
Again, the baby was the absolute perfect solution. Since he’s arrived I’m constantly semi-exhausted and as of last week I must’ve slept in some fucked up way because now there is something permanently wrong with my neck.
Problem 5: My relationship was too wonderful and great
If there is one thing that was stressing me out BIG TIME it was how totally great and comfortable and fulfilling my relationship was. I had met someone who I loved being around and we would do things like “go out to dinner” or “watch our favorite shows together” or “just genuinely enjoy each other’s company.” And you get to that point in the relationship where you want to go, “Look. You’re great and all, but this is getting boring. I need some tension. I need unreasonable amounts of panic and worry. I want to get both of us to the point where we are always suffering crippling physical or emotional pain and wonder how we had ever managed to enjoy life.” And that was when my husband said, “What if instead of having a wonderful loving relationship of two people with common goals and interests we create something from our DNA that is unable to feed or care for itself and we watch it in shifts?”
Problem 6: My life wasn’t enough of a shitshow.
Well good job on that one, right? It is now.
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