Friday, August 12, 2011

Labor Day

There's nothing more my lover wants in life than for me to have his baby. He has a son, I have a daughter. They've developed into wonderful teenagers, but he yearns for us to have one that's half him, half me. A baby we can raise together. I have to admit that there are moments when I get carried away with the romantic notion of giving him the greatest gift possible, but I just can't bring myself to do it. The reality of it keeps slapping me in the face.

  • I look at my age - almost 45. Unlike guys, who can produce tens of thousands of new sperm every day, we women are born with all the eggs we're ever going to have. So by the time we're 40, they're starting to deteriorate a little, increasing the chances of having a child with severe disabilities. 
  • Then factor in my physical condition - I've had back problems my whole life and have been overweight from the age of 22. It's who I am, it doesn't stop me from riding a bike or shaking my plentiful booty on the dance floor. But carrying around another 30 pounds? Ugh.
  • And let's not forget about my life - I'm already a single mom raising a high schooler and an emotionally needy dog. I've got a demanding career that often requires weird hours. Can you imagine my water breaking while I'm on stage at the Cascade introducing Lily Tomlin or Bruce Cockburn? Yeah, okay, let's not imagine that. 

During the past year two close friends have had babies. They are both in their 40's. It was a first for Stephanie, and when her sweet cherub Avalia was born, my boyfriend's reaction was, "If Stephanie can have a beautiful, perfect, healthy baby girl, so can you!" Caroline was 42 when she made a conscious decision to have another child, this time without a partner and without giving up her incredibly demanding career as a corporate jet pilot. I thought my hours were wacky? Caroline flies to Africa one week, Alaska the next. When she gave birth to Carly Q, my boyfriend said, "See, she didn't give up her career to have a baby...come on, please?"
But when it comes down to it, the thought of dedicating so much of my life to raising another little human being is just so...sigh....exhausting. I loved being pregnant (after the first few months), and I loved giving birth. And I loved watching my sweet daughter grow into an amazing human being. But I really dedicated my entire life to the effort, and my job's not done yet. It's been a lot of work.
So honey, please forgive me.  Make those chicken bock-bock-bock sounds at me all you want, but I just don't think I can do it.
However, another one of my good friends is up to the task. Cheryl is exactly my age, and getting ready to go into labor any day now to bring her first baby girl into the world (after a pair of boys, who are now teenagers). This is the kind of bravery I wish I could muster up!
I've been following her pregnancy from the beginning, because of course, my boyfriend has been looking from her belly to me, her belly, to me, with that sad little puppydog look on his face that says, "See what we're missing out on? Please please please please PLEASE?"
When Cheryl told me she was due in September, I immediately started planning this column, for her Labor Day. And I'm culling many of the songs from a radio show I did back in 1997, when I was pregnant, as a tribute to pregnancy, childbirth, and all the hard labor I knew was ahead of me once I became the mother of my baby girl. But that labor has turned into a labor of love, from the very beginning. I don't know if I want to do it all over again, but I celebrate the mommies (and the daddies) who are happily welcoming new life into their families around the time most of us are starting to plan our retirement.

Stream this playlist on Grooveshark  (or just click on the imbedded playlist included above)
or Download all or part of the mix on iTunes

  1. Bobby McFerrin - Baby
  2. Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely
  3. Yael Naim - New Soul
  4. Talking Heads - Stay Up Late
  5. Eric Church - Two Pink Lines
  6. Alison Krauss - Baby Mine
  7. Everything But The Girl - Apron Strings
  8. Kate Bush - This Woman's Work
  9. Paul Anka - You're Having My Baby
  10. Jim Gaffigan - Having My Baby
  11. Desi Arnaz - We're Having A Baby
  12. Creed - With Arms Wide Open
  13. Kenny Chesney - There Goes My Life
  14. Bobby McFerrin & Yo-Yo Ma - Hush Little Baby
  15. Kenny Loggins - Danny's Song
  16. Colbie Caillat - Capri
  17. XTC - Then She Appeared
  18. Elton John - Blessed
  19. Sister Hazel - Green
  20. Elton John (or Celine Dion) - Beautiful Boy
  21. John Mayer - Daughters
  22. Maurice Chevalier - Thank Heaven For Little Girls

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