“Farah* is pregnant,” the words taunt me through the tempered glass of my Sony Xperia.
*Name has been changed.
You could be next.
“They just found out. She’s grounded now.” Farah is a fellow pilot (female, obviously, in respect to biological stipulation) who is happily married. She did a flight and night stop with her husband (who is also a pilot). The destination of their layover was obviously a boring one, which led us to scene number 2: The miracle of life.
Three days. Three freaking days.
I’m happy for Farah, I really am. But…
Is it contagious?
I mean, duh, pregnancy is not contagious. Or is it? A study in the American Sociological Review concludes that “a friend’s childbearing positively influences an individual’s risk of becoming a parent”. Yes, I checked.
Sure. The risk stems from the psychological influence of staring down drooling babies on Instagram. But could this be a gestation epidermic preying on female aviators? Like, maybe, Aphrodite, goddess of fertility, floats around going “aha! Female pilot! Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo! Implant embryo in womb!”
Really, one can NOT be too careful.
Speaking of caution, we even took extra precautions this month! (Condoms. Durex fetherlite, if you must know)
But now my period is 3 days late, and I’m shitting bricks.
My friends go for drinks (my choice activity). But instead, I drive to the pharmacy with a smiling cashier (“miss, would you like to join our membership?”). I slam a pregnancy test on the counter and slur “no bag. To go.”
I race home in record time. “You pee on a stick. It’s idiot-proof,” according to Anna Kendrick on What to Expect When You’re Expecting. How hard can it be?
I position the plastic covered stick under a stream of urine gushing out of my lady part at impressive manifold pressure. Then came the worst bit: waiting. Longest-three-minutes-of-my-life-ever.
The verdict is swift.
And I sight in utter relief. (One line = no preggy)
I remain convinced for the next week or so, before worry rears its ugly head again.
By now, I’ve wasted 7 sanitary pads and 3 panty liners.
This time, I get the pregnancy test with the bowl.
Pee in bowl. Put stick into bowl. Stare at stick in bowl. Keep staring blankly at stick in bowl. 3 minutes…
Yes! *Pumps fist*
Because twice is not the charm, the third test I took cost RM28. My best friend, Jo snapped one off the shelf because it’s “the best in the market”. Jo, hubby and I stood in our bathroom blinking at the idle stick against a timer next to it.
Time dragged its feet and the decree is finally announced: not pregnant.
We twist and turn the test under the fluorescent lights just to be sure. And I feel like I’ve cheated death thrice.
PERIOD, PERIOD, WHERE ART THOU, PERIOD?
My period (or, uterus season, as I christened it) has been regular for as long as I can remember. But then again, I didn’t keep meticulous record of my menstrual cycle till the day I got married and gave my flower away, hence opening myself up to the prospect of motherhood.
And for the past 146 days (that’s how long I’ve don the Mrs. title), my uterus shed very comfortably within the envelope.
Then I began command training and plunged into sea of veritable stress (mostly self induced, I admit). The husband even remarked that he has never ever seen me so stress before.
The stress is a logical explanation to my halted cycle, and coincidently exposed my lack of desire for offsprings.
where are my maternal instincts?
I’ve become increasingly aware of the insane number of baby pics flooding my Facebook feed. The days of overflowing college assignments and clubbing till the sun comes up are over (mostly). Now are the days of baby showers and socks the size of three fingers.
Not to mention the baby bump and we-are-one-big-happy-family pictures.
Off my head, I count 2 friends with motherhood-is-so-rewarding blogs. And I believe you, motherhood IS rewarding.
But is it worth it?
here are the facts
Hello, obvious. Who is going to care for the baby? Me, of course. I should give up flying, stay home, and tend to my baby’s needs day and night. Really, it’s my God given responsibility as a woman, right? In doing so, I forfeit everything I have worked so hard for. I pour my sweat and tears down the drain, flush it down the toilet, tuck it safely into a coffin to be lowered 6 feet under. Sure.
Maybe my husband should defy social norms, quit his job, pick out a macho looking apron and become a house husband. As supportive as he is of my career (one of the many things I love about him, other than his broad shoulders and habit of farting in his sleep), I am reluctant to subject him to the negative stigma surrounding homey-papas. Besides, providing for his family is one of the pillars that props the male ego (although his lack of ego is the other thing I love about him, on par with his ability to consume excessive potato chips).
In Sweden, parents are gifted 480 days of paid paternity leave till their child turns 8, which can be taken by either parent. This policy promotes workplace equality, as is evident by the common sight of “latte papas” on Swedish streets. Now, if Malaysia have laws like that, I just might try for a little one tomorrow (or near future). Unfortunately, that’s not the reality we live in.
“What about your parents?”, one may ask. Well, it is my personal opinion (one I would not impose on another) that our parents have paid their dues. It is unfair and irresponsible to unload child rearing responsibilities on them. Besides, let’s put it simply: it is not their job.
Also, too many unfit parents are bringing children into this world. And I don’t mean the lack of financial means, because if anything, shortage of money builds character. What I refer to, is infidelity and immaturity. In my previous post “The Adulterer“, I lamented about the adverse effect of unfaithfulness on families for generations to come. I’ve seen this too many times (a regrettable norm in the aviation industry). Really, people, if you can’t be loyal to your spouse, don’t have children.
And if you have trouble with basic human decency, do not reproduce.
Which brings us to a follow up question: am I ready?
Besides, I’m not equipped to have an extension of my heart strolling down Bukit Bintang, kissing heartbreakers and speeding down the Plus Highway. Confession: I’m a control freak. How long before I double over with a heart attack?
But another part of me wonders, if a second line materialised in that little window of my pregnancy test that faithful day, would I sing a different tune?
Will I ever know?