My first visit to New York was in the fall of 2004, a month before the presidential election. I came to visit my then-boyfriend who was here for a few weeks doing a rotation for med school. Exactly three years later—almost to the day—I moved here—this time, to live with Drew, the man I’d been cross-country dating for the last year and a half. We moved to Brooklyn in June of last year and by fall, I felt at home, finally, nestled on our little tree-lined block, ten minutes from Prospect Park. I spent many a late summer and fall afternoon riding my bike along the park loop, just as I had in Central Park before that and the lake front in Chicago before that.
I do my best thinking on a bike, and last fall the topic I pondered the most was motherhood and when I wanted to have a baby (Drew had already made it clear he was ready whenever I was, and the sooner the better). You can’t live in Brooklyn and not think about parenthood. I once heard someone describe this borough as having an aggressive presence of babies and that’s exactly right. To put it in perspective, I started a new moms’ group in my neighborhood a few weeks ago, anticipating an isolating winter ahead if I didn’t make friends with other women having babies, and in less than a week I’d connected with 15 other new mothers (or mothers-to-be) within five blocks of me. In fact, in the last two weeks, five of us have given birth (all to boys!). That’s a lot, right? I mean, for a relatively small urban neighborhood?
Anyway, my point is: you can’t escape babies in Brooklyn—at least, not in my part of Brooklyn, and so, on my bike rides last fall as I passed countless women carrying their infants in Ergos and Byorns and Moby wraps, I thought a lot about when I’d want to have my own little mini me (or mini Drew). I went back and forth and back and forth, afraid—petrified, really—of making a definitive decision. What if it turned out I couldn’t get pregnant? What if I could? What if it took a really long time? What if it happened right away? Every scenario seemed really fucking scary, and as much as I wanted to put off the decision-making indefinitely—and all the decisions that would inevitably stem from this one—I was 34 and knew the clock was ticking.