I have one unborn child. She has dark, curly hair. It will grown into an unruly rat’s nest, but right after her teens, she will be reconciled with it. At age three, however, they will be soft, dark curls that will make her look like an angel. Her name is Amanda Joe, but we were going to call her Joe. If she wants the girly name that her dead and unmet grandmother wanted for her, that’s her choice. We would have called her by that grandmother’s middle name instead.
Our children change us whether they live or not. Lois McMaster Bujold, “Barrayar”, 1991
I don’t know if she will ever be given life. She has visited my mother-in-law’s dreams. She haunts my conscious thoughts. Her father would be uncomfortable around her, but she would crawl into his lap and put her little arms around his neck and squeeze the discomfort right out of him. I know she would like him best, but that doesn’t hurt my feelings. Kids can’t help but choosing a favorite.
The unborn haunt us in times of death. She is lurking in my mind, holding Calvin’s hand. She is perpetually three in her unborn state, but I can imagine her at every age. I can see her in junior high school. She is learning algebra and programming computers in Pascal. I can see her in high school. She is more interested in clothing and sex than mathematics and prose. I can see her as an adult. She is contemplating her own unborn children.
Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs. P. J. O’Rourke (1947 – )
I am a member of the first generation that actually gets to choose whether or not we have children. I know that my mother’s generation had the choice of the Pill or prophylactics, but the former wasn’t perfected and the later was stigmatized. This is the first time that we can go into a grocery store and choose from twenty different styles of condoms without shame. This is the first time that women like me can be protected from pregnancy for all of their child-bearing years using a variety of methods (pills, patches, IUDs, female condoms, diaphragms, shots, and the list keeps growing). There is no excuse for unwanted children in the United States. If someone says that a child is an accident, they are lying. Just because you didn’t plan it, doesn’t mean that it was an accident.
I am a member of the first generation that will be haunted by unborn children by choice. There are many who have been haunted by unborn children. Some of them are unborn because of physiological circumstances that are beyond their parents’ control. Some of them are unborn because they didn’t get in line quick enough. My situation is different. Joe is unborn because I have chosen to be “responsible.” More and more of these unborn ghosts are unwanted, like the discarded pictures that I have been adopting.
There was something awesome in the thought of the solitary mortal standing by the open window and summoning in from the gloom outside the spirits of the nether world. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I have such an entourage of ghosts that follow me that sometimes I feel like a celebrity. I have Calvin as my protector and bodyguard. I have Joe to remind me of work that still needs to be completed. I have my paternal grandmother to keep my nose to the grindstone. There are many others that follow me. So many that it’s a wonder that I ever feel lonely.