My husband and I left for a trip to Mexico last week. “But Zika!!!!” The world seemed to proclaim. “Not a present concern!” we silently replied. And so we were off. To enjoy sun, margaritas, enchiladas, and a mostly free timeshare that my in-laws couldn’t use.
While there, we had serious plans of having no plans. And topping the list of our no-plan plans were no babies, no other people’s babies, no talk of other people’s babies, no doctors talking about babies, and no uncomfortable medical devices to fruitlessly produce such babies. Babymaking commenced without the mention or thought of actual babies.
And other than the daily game of me having to stash a box full of syringes somewhere in the room where the hotel maids wouldn’t spy them and trying to quickly and secretly down a baggy full of pills in every restaurant, it was like we were any other couple who didn’t have a daily reminder of the one thing we couldn’t figure out.
On our fifth day, we met another couple by the pool. They were our age, which was a big deal in this resort full of blue-haired timeshare owners, they just happened to be from our city, and they had all-inclusive wristbands they could use to order our drinks. We hit it off instantly.
That is, until they started talking about their kids. Yes, this fun, young, cool couple started telling us about how they had four kids back home who were just the cutest. And that they were so close in age because they wanted to have their babies close together and how two of them were VBAC babies (and luckily my husband had no idea what that meant) and on and on as I smiled and nodded and “that’s great”ed and “so happy for you”ed and secretly eye-rolled behind my ray-bans. Here it is, I thought, we came to paradise and befriended the very thing we wanted to escape.
But then they started telling us about Molly,* their second child who has down syndrome. And how they had no idea until the day she was born and the nurses and doctors all went silent in the delivery room. They told us about how they had to sell the house they had built so that Molly could be in a different school district and get the attention she needed.
Then, they told us about Beth,* their youngest, who has brain cancer. And how they took her to the doctor after she had a bloody nose and said her head hurt. And how a simple MRI turned into the worst day they could imagine. That she was only 3 and a half and couldn’t understand what was happening. They told us how it was stage 3 and doctors didn’t know what to do, but that they searched and searched and didn’t give up until they found the right doctor who successfully removed the tumor and continued to treat her.
They told us all those things. And then they asked a simple question, “Do you not want kids, or can you not have them?” It was the simplest, most straightforward way I’d ever been asked before. It cut right through the crap. No “why are you putting it off?” or “clock is ticking” or “just wait til you have kids.” It was just a bit of simple understanding from one couple who’s dealing with their share of shit to another. So we revealed our own steamy, fly-infested pile of turds.
And as we flew home to resume our normal lives, childless woes and all, I got to thinking that we all have our shit. Our own just stinks a whole lot worse to us sometimes.
And since we’re on the topic: no, we did not drink the water and our poop was just fine.