I call this The Conversation. However, it’s really an amalgam of many conversations, dare I say arguments, that my husband and I had for about a year. They were really all the same conversation, though, and it went like this:

Him: How long can you be a fine diner, copious drinker and all round party person without getting bored? Eventually we will tire of going out and going out and going out…. As our friends move on, we’ll be in stasis….

Me: That’s the whole point! I want to keep going out and living a fabulous life. Besides, how can you get tired of Manhattan? There’s something new every week.

Him: There has to be more challenging stuff to life. You can enjoy kids, really! You know, kids are a shared project. It will bring us closer together.

Me: Ha! What about reason number eight?

Him: We are not going to be One of Those Couples. We will have babysitters, a nanny if you want. It didn’t do you any harm to have a third caregiver in the household, and it freed up your parents to continue to enjoy life with friends sans children. Believe me, it can be done. I mean, look at your own family.

Me: But it will totally disrupt our lives – and definitely at the beginning. Who knows what opportunities might come along while we’re busy babying.

Him: Neither of our careers will be hurt by children. You’ll eventually move on and maybe do all the things you’ve been wanting to do but can’t right now because you have to earn a living.

Me: I think you’re being totally unrealistic. Do you know how much work babies and teenagers are? Do you? They will own us; claim us like we never existed without them. You’ll have to cut back on work hours; I won’t have a minute to myself to do anything. And what about our fantastic trips? We won’t be able to go on those anymore. It’ll be Disney World and cheesy hotels and overcrowded beaches in Yucatan.

Him: Okay, I’ll concede that travel might be a bit difficult, but only for the first few years. In fact, you can take a baby almost anywhere. They just need a place to sleep, and they need to eat and shit. They have very simple requirements.

Me: But what about us? What about couple only travel? Time alone?

Him: We’ll ask my mom to come and spend a week with the kid so we can get away. Don’t worry; we’ll find a way.

Me: Well, congratulations, you’ve solved all the problems. But. I am not. Going. To get. Fat.

Him: Christ! You are NOT going to stay fat. It’s impossible. You’re the skinniest thing I know and you don’t even have to work at it. You’ll lose all the weight within weeks. And if you really have a problem, we can book you for a nip and tuck. Besides, you’ll be a sexy mummy, he says and slaps my bum.

I harrumph.

Him: Besides, I don’t want to spoil other people’s kids. I want my own kids. Why can’t you understand that? Do we have different goals, or something? This may surprise you, but I want the responsibility of raising kids. It’s the one inherently challenging thing about life and I want to experience it. Kids are the only way of having your genes live on. It’s the only eternity there is.

Me: Well, if you’re going to pull that on me… Listen, how come I didn’t know you felt so strongly about this?

Him: Maybe you weren’t listening. I thought I was clear that kids are the only reason to get married. Otherwise, why not just live together and change partners whenever you get bored?

Me: You know why we got married… it didn’t have to do with kids.

Him: Look, I can understand your fears about pregnancy; it’s a pretty scary and unbelievable thing to go through. But you Will Not Die. I promise. I want us to have kids – our own – not adopted, not surrogate. Ours.

So I try one more argument, knowing full well it’s easily solved.

Me: We live in a fifth floor walk-up. With no storage. How do you expect us to have a baby up here, hauling it and the stroller and diaper bags and bottles and clothing up and down these freakin’ stairs? If it’s just me, am I supposed to leave the baby unattended upstairs while I do the stroller thing, or take the baby and leave it alone downstairs, then run back up for the stroller? And what if it’s birth by C-section? I’ve heard that women can’t even walk for more than a month after that.

I’m out of breath just thinking about it, never mind expressing my worries.

“You know we can move,” he says.

And that’s the discussion that led me to stop taking the Pill. I figure I ought to give it a try, for my husband’s sake.

Seems like ages ago that I first started to think about having a baby. Actually, let me clarify: when my husband first started prodding me to think about giving up the pill. At the time, we were having a blast. My reasons to maintain the childless life, way back then:

  1. My life is perfect. I don’t want kids to ruin it. I have a happy and stable marriage with lots of friends that want to do the same things we do; that is, go to great restaurants and great shows and great weekends away, and are available to do these things at a drop of a dime.
  2. Kids mean no time for friends. We always complain that we never see our friends who have kids. When we do, we don’t like it when they bring their screaming kids to restaurants and we notice that our visits with them are not about our friendship but all about their kids. We find this tedious.
  3. Kids disrupt perfectly good careers. Of course, not the man’s career!
  4. We are globe-trotters. I am always dragging my husband to further reaches of the earth where he does not want to go but is happy he did, later regaling friends with our crazy adventures. You can’t travel with kids; it’s a big part of our lives and it’s my intention that it remain so. Kids would  probably have to go to a boarding school, which would make us seem like bad parents, so it’s out.
  5. I don’t want to get fat and saggy and never regain my youthful physique. I’m not kidding. It may sound selfish – okay, it is selfish – but at 35 one can never guarantee that one will ever be more fit than right now. Fitness is tough. I’ve worked on it for 20 years. Not only would heaving reminders of a pregnancy around my hips and thighs be unattractive to me, I’m pretty sure my husband would not find it attractive either.
  6. If we don’t have kids, we can spoil the kids we know. Being the cool auntie would be my favorite role. I have an aunt who held this role in my life and I think she is a fascinating and hip woman. We were like her kids on an as-wanted basis. Enjoy, entertain the kids, but send them back when you’re tired of them. This clearly is not an option for parents.
  7. Which leads me to reason number seven: kids take over your life. Never again do you have control. It’s remarkable that as children, my sister and I never truly caught on to this fact, otherwise I am sure we would have tortured our parents far worse than we did. The fact is that our parents probably endured us for longer than their parents did them. They supported us financially and emotionally during those tortuous first career years. In the long run, the kids will be taking care of you when they’re supposed to be happily retired. Lovely. For some people, this is the meaning of life; for me it is not.
  8. Kids ruin relationships. Part of what makes my marriage so great is that I get quite a large percentage of the attention, so why would I want it to be diverted? Seriously, I’ve heard of couples that cannot even have a conversation with each other when the kids are not around. They grow so far apart and share so little together that they are practically complete strangers without the common identity as parents. Where do you end up as a couple? If not divorce court, then one of those couples we always pity, the ones who sit at a meal together reading their own papers, never once looking at each other or sharing a thought.
  9. Kids are not a “must-do” experience. I am not one of those people who believe that a woman should experience motherhood or pregnancy. It’s never been on my to-do list.
  10. I could die. Okay, it’s far-fetched, but… the pro-pregnancy brigade touts birth as a health benefit and a natural experience. I don’t know a single friend that didn’t ask for drugs. I also know several friends who almost did die, but thankfully lived in a major city in the first world. It’s a risky, risky thing.

So, as you can see, it’s quite remarkable that I ended up doing fertility treatments and am in the queue for an egg donor. How did that happen? Believe me, I ask myself all the time.

Next: The conversation that bested me.