Maybe Baby by Lori Leibovich

Maybe Baby by Lori Leibovich

Author:Lori Leibovich
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins

PETER NICHOLS

We’ll Always Have Paris

WHEN I WAS TWENTY-NINE, MY WIFE BECAME PREGNANT. We were broke and living in the Caribbean aboard a small wooden sailboat. We were planning to sail across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean that year, and then we were going to build a boat and sail around the world. It wasn’t the right time for us to have a baby.

We had less discussion about the abortion than we usually had about where to drop the anchor at the end of a day’s sail. We didn’t like the idea, but the choice seemed clear to both of us, and we were glad we had one. Yet after the procedure, we crept back to our boat and found inside it an emptiness we hadn’t remembered. While my wife cried in her bunk and I made tea for her, I couldn’t stop thinking about who it might have been we had removed from the world that afternoon. For comfort, we told ourselves there would be plenty of time for children in the future.

When the future came, I was living in Los Angeles, writing screenplays, and married to someone else. As we neared the end of our thirties, my second wife and I figured it was now or never if we were to have children. With that biological imperative—rather than a clearly formulated desire for a child in our tidy house or in our busy lives—we began to try to make one.

Six months later, we visited a fertility clinic in Beverly Hills. Everything seemed in order with us: my wife made eggs of apparent quality; and I was able to produce the requisite hundreds of millions of sperm to expect that a handful might survive the journey to reach my wife’s eggs. But time was not on our side, the doctor said, and to expedite things, I began to inject my wife regularly with fertility drugs. On the appropriate day, my sperm, launched into small drinking cups, was washed by the fertility lab and introduced into my wife’s uterus.

We had by then begun to imagine and anticipate life with a child. We discussed names. We browsed the family shelves in bookstores. We noticed children everywhere. The world was overflowing with them, they seemed so readily available; where was ours? We began to feel that we would be cheated of one of life’s essential experiences if we didn’t have one of our own. Our lives weren’t empty or without fulfillment, but they had become so calculable, even the unforeseen could be guessed at. This—a greediness for a deeper experience—was what drove us, rather than a yearning for the cute little people we saw everywhere. We didn’t fuss over other people’s kids, or try to spend time with them. Parents, from where we stood, were boringly self-absorbed in their children and their domestic lives. They talked about nothing else, their houses were messy. Yet there must be more to it than met the eye, and we had become determined to understand this unknown for ourselves.



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