The other day while the doll and I were out shopping for baby items, she turned toward me and said, “You know, sometimes I think it would be cool to have a baby…” I immediately feigned choking mid stride and then tried my best not to actually choke and die right there on the spot. “Wha? First of all, you’re way too young. Secondly…” I began before she interrupted me again. “No mom, I don’t want to have any kids until I’m at least 21” she said. “How about 31?” I replied quickly and then added, “Or better yet, how about not having any children until you are married and in love with your mate?” “Mom, I’m not dumb…” She said and I readily agreed, “No you’re not, but having a baby is a huge responsibility–one that even at my age is hard”. “It’s just that I sometimes wish you and Dad had one more kid, so I wouldn’t be the youngest”. She explained. “Sorry for your luck there doll.” I said before turning my attention back to shopping.
A day or so later the subject came back up which piqued my curiosity as well as fueled my desire to paint childbirth and the first year of a babies life with the bleakest portrait I could muster. “You know I have some friends, well, acquaintances really, my age; who used to tell about the time they took their first born back to the hospital and asked them to take her back.” “Nuh uh…” She replied. “Ya huh. They had followed all the directions, went to all the classes before giving birth and thought they were ready. But when the baby wouldn’t stop crying after hours of trying to get her to stop and basically going two days without sleep, they were at their wits end. And doll, these were two very successful people who were completely taken down by a newborn. Imagine what that would be like at 14. I mean we read about all these babies dying from shaken baby syndrome. Why do you think that is?”
She was quiet.
“You know when the boy came home from the hospital, I had the baby blues and cried for two weeks. I couldn’t stop crying. I was so afraid I would accidently drown him I didn’t want to give him a bath. Your dad was working nights and I was going insane–or at least that’s how I felt. But I was fortunate to have your dad here to help as well as a large family support system. Heck, Aunt Ann gave the boy his first bath at home. I was too worried…” So you see, even at thirty four years of age, having a baby is hard work. Imagine what it would be like at 13, 14, 15? Not to mention the cost or the baby’s father not being around.”
“Mom, I’m not going to get pregnant any time soon”. She said growing tired of this subject. “You brought this up doll,” I reminded before adding, “Look at your age, regardless how mature you think you are, you are not emotionally prepared to have sex. Hell, you might not even be ready when you’re in your twenties. But right now at this age, if a fifteen year old boy tells you he loves you, guess what he’s saying?” She shrugged her shoulders before saying, “He only likes me?” “No, he means he loves you…well loves having his pecker inside you, that is”. “OH GROSS!” She said as I finished. “Mom that’s not going to happen for a very long time, if ever!” She said a bit grossed out while I smiled internally. “Baby, you know sometimes when you’re standing next to a boy or holding hands your palms sweat. Then when you kiss you might get little butterflies in your belly and everything feels good-almost magical”. As I said this I watched her body language change, becoming more open to me. “But for boys it’s different. They need to release those feelings and unfortunately they can become insistent to girls to help–which means having sex with them.”
Sensing this might be too much to for her to ingest all at once, I opened my arms and hugged her saying, “I just want you to be safe and having sex this young is a really really bad idea”. “I know.” She replied, before ending the hug and exiting the room.
Meanwhile I tried my best not to throw up at the notion.