Yesterday I did what I've only done a couple of times - host a party at my house while tending to a baby, with no help. It's a very hard thing to do.
I had my first SMC meeting, consisting of five women. Thankfully the house was already clean now that I have my wonderful cleaning lady, so my only job was to straighten up...and bake a blackberry upside-down cake. I realized some nibbles might have been more practical, as would having a variety of drinks (I never have anything but water or tea around here). I always think desserts are great, but forget most women don't want to randomly eat cake in the middle of the day (which seems crazy to me. I'll have cake anywhere and any time). But anyway this is just my rambling way of saying I feel a little guilty that I wasn't a better host - I was rattled because B was having an insecure day (super clingy, wouldn't be put down anywhere), so I neglected to stay on top of the drinks or even offer the cake. Also the conversation came so fast and furious that I neglected to have anyone introduce themselves, which one woman pointed out. Blurgh! Oh well. I'll do a better job next time!
I think everyone found the meeting informative and helpful. I know I did, even though it was mostly the two mothers in the group who did the talking, having already been through the whole experience, whereas the other four women were in the thinking or trying phase. One has been trying with a known donor and just found out his sperm is sub par and so may have to make some changes; one is planning on freezing her eggs to buy more time; one is doing a fertility diet in preparation for IVF, one is just considering the whole idea. The other mother brought her super cute 4 month old and also had her donor's adult picture on her cell for quick reference (I should do this! Although I only have baby pictures); he was smoking hot. Nice choice!
We talked shop much of the time, but I think the highlights of the conversation were the philosophical points - as in, why have children at all? Why not leave well enough alone and continue on with our awesome single lives? Because for us it just wasn't enough - we were bored, we felt unchallenged, we felt alone, we were sick of being jealous of friends with kids, we wanted someone to tell our stories when we're gone. One woman asked if I thought being lonely was a bad reason to have a baby. I said not at all; that married people have babies for far more selfish/messed up reasons than that! I didn't tell her the loneliness doesn't really go away when you have a baby...that's a conversation for another time.
As someone pointed out to me when I was pregnant, it may seem like wanting a child is a very selfish thing - wanting the company, wanting someone to care for you when you're old, wanting your genes to live on - but in fact it's one of the most unselfish things you'll ever do. Especially as a woman, for how physically demanding it is for us. There are lots of sacrifices - financial, social - and they keep coming as your children grow. Still I like to think of it as one of my favorite comedians put it: Wanda Sykes, who always railed against children but then had twins with her partner, said about parenting, "now, I know I used to say children ruin your life. And they do ruin your life. But they give you a new life." That to me is the best assessment of what parenthood is all about!