There are three types of people in this world: those who eat the watermelon seeds, and those who don’t, and those who want to, but just can’t. Up until about eight months ago, neither of us had ever even attempted eat a watermelon seed.
It was a regular day and the phone rang in a regular way, when she told her she was pregnant.
Up until this point in our lives, we’ve shared similar life-experiences. She’s my best friend. I’m hers. But for the first time in our lives - we experienced an obvious fork in the road ahead. She cried “Oh my god this is really happening” tears; in all honesty, her tears were more of the “does this mean I’ll have to share my sister?” composition.
Nearly 8 months later, and the watermelon is almost full grown and of course we look forward to the birth of a beautiful baby in the coming weeks! Holy fucking shit. A pool of disbelief, anticipation and full-on-excitement surrounded by an all-encompassing-love that is sure to welcome the little bugger into the world awaits.
Dear baby: you will be loved, you will be spoiled, and her support of your decision to do bad things that are funny will never subside.
As we continue to walk down roads that are parallel, but different, we’ve become more and more aware of what it’s like having a baby, and even more-so, not having a baby, in the 21st century.
When it comes down to it, there literally could not be a more personal, individualized experience in the world than having a baby. YOU ARE LITERALLY GROWING YOUR OWN HUMAN INSIDE OF YOUR OWN BODY AND GO ON TO BE PERSONALLY, EXCLUSIVELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT HUMAN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. It is this fact that blows our mind when the world sees it fit to comment on what we choose, do not choose, or do not have the capacity to put in our uterus.
We can’t speak to a universal experience. All we can comment on is what we’ve personally observed when it comes to being a woman and watermelon seeds.
EATS THE WATERMELON SEED
She checked the boxes like she was supposed to after high school. University, check. Boyfriend, check. Married, check. To the rest of the world, the next logical step was making a baby. But the rest of the world only saw the checked boxes, they didn’t see the totality of the circumstance she was within. The truth of the matter is, it wasn’t the time to check the watermelon seed box. A career, self-discovery, and a real-authentic happiness were all boxes she opted to check first.
Now, 37, and a mom to soon be, there are still questions from friends, family, and medical practitioners, like; “why did you wait so long?” As women, we tend to accommodate personal questions no matter how uncomfortable they make us. We’re here to tell you that there is no more liberating experience than answering a personal question you don’t want to with: “because” or if you’re so inclined to make like Salt n’ Peppa and declare: “it’s none of your business.” Good friends won’t have to ask, mere acquaintances don’t need to know, doctors can deal. End of story.
Stranger: “Jump in the deep end!”
Me: “I don’t know how to swim. . .”
Stranger: “So, jump anyways!”
DOESN’T WANT TO EAT THE WATERMELON SEED
About five weeks ago, her job had placed her at a table at yet another fund raising event. The event was for women, exclusively, so perhaps it’s not all that surprising the “baby conversation” came up. An overview:
COMPLETE STRANGER: “Do you have any children?”
Her: “No, it’s not really in the cards. . .”
COMPLETE STRANGER: “How old are you?”
COMPLETE STRANGER: “Well, I suppose you still have some time to change your mind”
Her: “…thank you?”
The default argument for this exchange seems to be: “the complete stranger really should have taken into consideration the fact that this girl might be trying to have a baby, and can’t. The complete stranger should have been more sensitive to this potential reality.”
Here’s the thing - yes, the complete stranger should have taken that thought into consideration, but this argument lends itself to suggest that the only acceptable reason for a woman not to have a baby is because she can’t. Are we really living in a time that says, if you are born a woman, you will have a child, no questions asked?
A relatable metaphor:
Stranger: “You should really put pineapple on your pizza”
Me: “But I don’t like pineapple on my pizza”
Stranger: “You’ll love it, just put it on your pizza”
IS TRYING WITH ALL OF HER MIGHT TO EAT THE WATERMELON SEED
There’s an unwritten rule that if you’re not entirely sure if a woman is pregnant, that you should not congratulate her on being pregnant. The logic behind this argument is based upon the fact that if she isn’t pregnant, she’s simply put on some weight, and you really don’t want to offend her. Can you imagine anything more offensive than a stranger commenting on the physical composition of a woman?!
Women who are presently trying to get pregnant know how. It’s not as if the birds and bees confound them, read: they don’t need advice. From our experience, they generally aren’t interested in talking about what may or may not be wrong with what’s north of their vagina. And for the love of god, they’re not interested in saying the words “we’re trying but it’s not going well” in public without quick and immediate access to Kleenex, should that be necessary.
Stranger: “So you have curly hair?”
Woman: “Yeah, it’s been this way my whole life”
Stranger: “You should really try growing it straight"
Dear mom and dad: we love you for empowering us to be individuals, entitled to making our own decisions when it comes to watermelon seeds. You’re pretty cool.