Editor's Note: I met today's contributor on Facebook, in an invitation-only chat room commemorating Barack Obama's Democratic nomination acceptance speech. The room was full of powerful, intelligent, witty, accomplished women—our conversation was so organic and emotional and honest and funny. That was the night I got hooked on FB, and the night I decided I needed to be Bassey Ikpi's friend. A poet and gifted writer, Bassey is magnificent in every sense; her jaw-droppingly honest, spirited, introspective writing makes me want to just shut down my MacBook. And on top of that, she's hysterical. Witness.
By BASSEY IKPI
I was the girl who was never going to get married—never going to have children. I mean, I'm not even all that convinced you're supposed to eat EVERY SINGLE day. And I’d rather spend my rent money on a really cute pair of shoes. And I wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to do with a baby. So when I saw the blue line on the pregnancy test and decided to become a mother, I had some explaining to do—to myself and a whole lot of other people in my life who thought they’d never see the day. The following are the very real, very true reactions to my statement, "I'm pregnant."
Sister: If it's a boy, it's going to be gay.
Me: Really? Why do you say that?
Sister: Well... you're a girl and you've always been kinda gay.
Me: Mommy, I have to tell you something...
Mom: Nyono, it's your mother. You called me on Friday and you told me something. I'm going to need you to repeat it. I don't think I heard you properly.
Me: *repeats it properly*
Mom: Oh Lord... that's what I thought you said. I've been hiding from your father for two days. I need you to tell him today.
Me: Daddy, I'm pregnant.
Dad: Oh. What does that mean?
Dad: What happens next?
Me: Huh? What are you asking me?
Dad: What are you telling me?
Dad: Do you want to talk to your mother?
Friend 1: What the hell? I thought you didn't want kids.
Me: Well... I didn't. Now I do.
Me: uh... tax write off.
Me: Uh... no...
Friend: Oh. 'Cause I'd get one too then.
Friend 2: You do realize that you can't play the "Go hide in the closet and Bassey will find you eventually" game with your own child, right? Right?
Every friend I have in various forms: OH YIPPEE! We're having a baby! You realize that once this child is born it is no longer yours?
Me: What kind of cult shit is that...
EF: Silence. We have to decide on names... .
Friend (when I first found out): So I can start shopping for it now?
Me: Well, it's not anything now. I don't think you can really shop for a collection of cells.
Friend: YOU can't. You apparently don't know me very well.
Me: First person to use the word "preggers" or ask to touch my belly or tell me I have a "bun in the oven" is getting cussed out.
D: *instant message being deleted*
Friend 2: I don't care what you name it as long as the middle name is Stacey Ann Chin.
Me: The entire middle name will be Stacey Ann Chin?
Friend 2: Yes.
Me: Even if it's a boy?
Friend: Especially if it's a boy.
Tim: What up, 'Nancy!
Tim: Get it? Preg NANCY
Former friend: You're crazy if you think keeping it is a good idea. I just don't believe you'd be that stupid.
Everyone: I'm going to be an Auntie!
Everyone else: I'm going to be an Uncle!
Lara: I'm going to be a baby daddy!
P: I will refrain from singing and dancing to a chorus of "I Told You So."
Lab Tech: And this is the embryo in the amniotic sac...
Me: Oh... look at it all... embryonic...
Lab Tech: Ma'am, not that.
Lab Tech: That would be the thumb print you just left.
Mum: So you're not sick at all?
Me: Nope. Just really tired. I feel fine.
Mum: Not sick at all.
Mum: Not even a little bit?
Mum: Well that doesn’t seem fair.
Me: What? Why?
Mum: Well, I was sick as a dog when I was carrying you... I just knew my grandbaby would return the favor.
Me: *Blink* Can I speak to dad?
Friend 3: You know what's a lovely name?
Friend 3: Joi... it's such a good name.
Me: Thanks, Joi.
Friend 4: I can't wait to see you pregnant!
Friend 4: I'm going to laugh so hard...
Love my family.
About our MBB Contributor:
Bassey Ikpi is a Nigeria-born, Oklahoma-bred, PG County-fed, Brooklyn-led writer/poet/neurotic. She’s half awesome, a quarter crazy and 1/3rd genius... the left over bit is a caramel creme center. She’s also the single mother of an amazing man-child. Elaiwe Ikpi. And though she doesn’t think motherhood is very fun, she loves every second of it. Including the moments when she wishes it was 1993 and the only thing she had to worry about was how she was going to get home from Pom practice. Check her out at basseyworld.com.