Worst Case Scenario {People, Please}

Since we’re starting a new year, it seems like a good time to help the general public be a little… better. Some blogs promise to make you thinner, healthier, prettier or richer. I’ll make you less offensive at parties. Think of this as me helping you with Life Resolutions, rather than just New Year’s ones. Every Tuesday in January, I’ll be covering a topic that proper home training should have taught you, but based on my interactions with people on a daily basis, didn’t.

baby shower onesies

My friend Amy & I with onesies for our brand new babies

There is something in human nature obsessed with the Worst Case Scenario. I’m not sure if this is some primitive survival instinct or where it comes from, but it’s absolutely there. If Baby Daddy is 20 minutes late home from work, in my head, he’s dead in a ditch and I’m calculating the interest on his life insurance, hoping I can really live on it. Monkey Boy leaves my sight for two seconds in a store, and immediately I’m freaked out he’s been kidnapped. I used to think this was just my own personal neurosis, but it’s become clear to me in the past few years, many other people have the same problem. The reason I know: they tell others. out loud. I see it most often when a couple decides it’s time for a child. I’m not sure what it is about procuring a baby, but people will seek.you.out. to tell you the most awful stories you can imagine.

They following are paraphrased from actual conversations I have had:

International Adoption

Acquaintance: I am so glad you are getting an American baby. My boss had this friend and she and her husband went to Russia to get a baby and they were there for weeks. I don’t know exactly what happened, but they never could get one. They were so upset. The agency gave them their money back, but they didn’t want it.

Me: Wow. That’s quite a story. It must have been terrible for them.

Acquaintance: Oh, yes. They ended up getting divorced and now she lives alone with 38 cats. It’s very sad.

Domestic Adoption

Acquaintance at cocktail party: So how does this work exactly? Do you just sign up and wait and then they mail you a baby or something?

Me: Well, it’s a little more involved than that. We say what we’ll accept as far as lifestyle and background, drug use etc. The birth mom says what her preferences are for placement. The agency tries to make the best match.

Acquaintance: I would just be so nervous. I mean what if something goes wrong during the birth and the kid has all kinds of problems. Do you still have to take it? I mean, do you want a messed up kid?

(This is obviously the conversation I want to have with a virtual stranger while drinking a glass of wine and eating a spinach dip in a party dress.) Me: I suppose the possibility of something going wrong at birth is always a worry, even if it’s a biological child.

Acquaintance: Yeah, but you’re paying for this baby. You should get a healthy one. So how long does she have to change her mind? I mean, could they come snatch this baby back later?

Me: I need some more wine. Will you excuse me?

For some time I thought people just told me these terrible stories because we were adopting and not everyone is familiar or comfortable with how that works. But then I started noticing as my friends gave birth, previous birthers were determined to scare the bejezus out of them before they went into labor and delivery.

Childbirth

Acquaintance to my very pregnant friend: Which hospital are you delivering at?

Friend: {names hospital}

Acquaintance: Oh, I hope you have a better experience there than my sister’s friends’s cousin. She was in labor for like 8 weeks. They would totally not believe her. When they finally admitted her, it was too late for her epidural. I mean that baby was halfway out. Then they couldn’t get the baby the rest of the way out and had to do an emergency C-section but something went wrong with all the numbing stuff and she felt every bit of it. If that wasn’t bad enough, she was allergic to the meds they gave her afterward and she like almost died or something. It was awful. The worst part is, the doctor messed up all her stitches so bad, she and her husband couldn’t have sex for almost five years. I felt so bad for them. It’s no wonder they got divorced. That baby was never quite right either. But she wouldn’t sue because she believed that was against something in the Bible, I don’t know. Anyway, she had to go on public assistance and last I heard, she was living in those apartments downtown and selling drugs or something… very sad. Anyway, enough with that awful stuff. You’re gonna be great. And don’t worry about that baby weight, once you pop that kid out and start working out again, it’ll just slide right off. OK then, see you soon.

Friend: {mouths agape in stunned silence}

Me: Um, wow. OK, then.

So let’s start a new trend in 2011, shall we? If you know a story like that, shut up. I don’t care if it’s true, if it’s believed to be true, if it’s just fun to scare first time moms: shut up! No one want to hear it. Trust me, no halfway decent future mother hasn’t already gone through every terrible scenario in her mind already. People, please. You don’t have to verbalize it. Really.

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16 Comments

Filed under People, Please

16 responses to “Worst Case Scenario {People, Please}

  1. Man, I love telling horrible birth stories. I believe all expectant mothers SHOULD be scared shitless, because you know what? Being a mother is waaaaaaaaay worse than you expected. The whole birthing experience, no matter how bad, is the EASY part! There, I said it. Neener neener.

  2. Jamie

    Um, yeah. As someone who is expecting to give birth this year with friends who have both given birth and adopted over the past year, I couldn’t agree more! Let us enjoy life a little, and keep your legends of disaster to yourself, people.

  3. KatieMc

    I just love, and frankly, live for, tales of who you knew who struggled with infertility and they did such n so and have you tried and have you considered…? I do believe it was you, Kerri, who suggested a response such as, “I’d like to adopt but my record precludes it.”

  4. Love this!! My favorite is the first 100 questions about why we don’t have kids, the 100 follow up questions when I say we will most likely adopt some day, the 100 follow up – follow up questions, which culminate in me saying “I have lupus” followed by them saying “Oh, my aunt died from that.” Gee, thanks!

    (And yes, if David doesn’t answer his phone or respond to a text, the obvious conclusion is his death. When he does answer his phone, I say “What do we do if we’re alive?” Him: “We answer the phone.”)

  5. kat

    Here here – I’ll drink to this (post)!

    (is that allowed?)

  6. I’m embarrassed because, I get really nervous when talking to new people and will blurt out anything that might give me a connection. Like the time I was talking to this poor woman who had breast cancer – Me, upon hearing her talking about the cancer,: “Oh, my mom had breast cancer (not sure where I thought this was going to end.” Her: “Oh, so how many years since and how is she?” Me: “Gulp, um, she died.” Honest to goodness, the poor woman got up and walked away, not that I blame her.

    • I know that’s not supposed to be a funny story, but it makes me snicker a little. I have more than once put my own foot in my mouth.

      • Oh, trust me, there are a million more of these stories! I am forever putting my foot in my mouth. It is okay to laugh, I have to laugh at my ridiculous conversations, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go out in public!

  7. alison

    Oh my goodness! This is so so true! People TOTALLY do this.

    ALL. THE. TIME.

    I second the idea of just shutting up.

    I am also guilty of scaring new mamas to be. Oops!

  8. Virginia

    You are TOO funny!! I remember the people offering advice about pregnancy when we had been through years of medical treatment. Then, when we did adopt….I simply told people we got such a cute boy because we ‘ordered off’ for him….just like in the Sear’s catalog!

  9. Bahahaha! Love this post!