When we're little, most of us are fed a fairytale version of how we came to be. Something along the lines of "Mommy and Daddy love each other very much and we gave each other a special hug to make you grow" is what most kids hear. If my wife had gotten pregnant on the first night we decided we were going to make a baby, that might have been fairly accurate. We tried to get pregnant for five months, which feels like an eternity when you consider that we had spent the previous 20 years of our lives trying NOT to get pregnant. And by the time she was peeing on sticks and elevating her hips for twenty minutes at a time, we just wanted to get this shit done.
Six months in, my wife came home from work to find that I still hadn't cleaned the colony of mold off the shower floor as I had promised I would, and the garbage hadn't been taken out, and the kitty litter was full (all chores that were on my list for that day). She was even more displeased to realize that she was ovulating and she had to suck it up and "make love" to me if we were going to capitalize on this once-a-month opportunity. I don't think she allowed me to kiss her that night... or even look her in the eyes... but somehow that was our special night when our first son was conceived. (I can pinpoint the night exactly because there wasn't a lot of love in the air for the next week.)
As the climate in our apartment lost its chill, we both found a lot of humor in the fact that we had stopped our knock-down, drag-out fight (still-dirty dishes were thrown) to make a baby. When we shared this story with friends, we realized that we weren't alone.
We already knew, of course, that my parents had had me unintentionally when they were only 19 years old, and that my wife's mother was using a diaphragm when she got pregnant with my wife. My father-in-law tells me she burst into tears, crying, "I barely know you; we can't have a baby!" even though they had been married for a year at the time.
None of our friends experienced the fairytale version either. From hormone treatments, to "turkey basting", to tracking ovulation, there was no story of great love bringing two people together on a night of blissful magic. Like in the movies.
When our son was two, my wife and I felt as though we had been through our own mini-Vietnam. Our son had had colic for the first five months, crying non-stop from 5pm to midnight every night. Then he wouldn't take a bottle, then separation anxiety, then the onslaught of the terrible twos. Although my wife and I had always discussed having two children, I couldn't imagine bringing another baby into the chaos I felt our lives had become. But my wife is type-A. When she has a plan, she sticks to it. So she got me good and liquored up on Pina Coladas and convinced me to do the deed.
When I tell the story to my sons in the future, I may change the drink to something that sounds a bit more virile, but I think they should know that as drunk as I had to get to be persuaded, I'm still thrilled that we have our two boys.
Josh Stolberg (@joshstolberg) is the writer and director of the feature film CONCEPTION, which is currently available via On Demand
Follow Josh Stolberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@joshstolberg