There Are Moments When Being Born Seems Like a Pyramid Scheme

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“So when are you going to have kids?” “You should really get started on that.”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard that from people. Especially my own mother.

I suppose it made sense, since having four kids was a big part of her identity. A peak experience. And if pressed, she’d say it was her reason for living.

Even though she didn’t always seem to really like us or be proud of who we are. And even if there were years and years where all I ever seemed to do was frustrate or disappoint her.

She’d still say that it was her identity. And once I got to respectable childbearing age and got married (also important in her view of respectable childrearing), she began to ask me when I’d start having kids of my own. Pretty much nonstop.

It was curious, because I’ve never talked about wanting to have kids. And I’ve pretty much always said the opposite, that I’d rather not. And the only way I could see myself having kids is if I had a partner who really, really wanted them. And even then, I’d have to really think about it.

But she just assumed that once I got to that part of my life, I would. And as the years progressed, and I divorced and remarried — and aged, and aged — she seemed progressively more disappointed that I didn’t get pregnant.

As I’m pushing forty now and have clue-by-foured her that getting pregnant by accident is near-impossible due to sterilization, she’s recently stopped asking me when I’m going to have a baby. And now she suggests I should adopt a kid. Over and over again. With the same sense of urgency and forcefulness as an important sales pitch.

There Are Moments When Being Born Seems Like a Pyramid Scheme

These are the moments when being born seems like a pyramid scheme. Like she envisions her family lineage spreading out beneath her, with each of her children having multiple of her own. Where she gets to be at the top of it all, enjoying the benefits of having this large family to take care of her.

And it’s at moments like these when I feel like a sales lead that didn’t convert. Like someone who’s thwarting the pyramid scheme by not making, or adopting, more of me. Not generating more leads.

Not supporting this pyramid scheme the way that I was expected to.

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