“When Professionals Carry Diaper Bags,” by Kimberly Emilia

Aug 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Prose

When the tiny plastic tube, ironically resembling a tampon, shows a pink plus sign, I know that I have gotten the job.  Urine talks and mine says, “CONGRAT-U-HADSEXWITHSOMEONERECENTLY-LATIONS.”

Now begins a journey. Now begins the transition into motherhood. 

Unfortunately, I am nowhere near ready for this train ride. All aboard, my ass! I think to myself. While I’m using a train analogy, I may as well admit that a caboose is what got me into this mess in the first place. When I say caboose, I mean, the finest, sweetest, most delicious ass I have ever seen in my life. Who knew I was an ass-girl? Not me. I guess I figured it out when I met Mark.

Before I develop any misconceptions for anyone, you should know that Mark is my husband. I have been wildly attracted to him since we first met, five years ago. I’m pretty sure that even then, it was the ass that spoke to me. People want to know all the time, ‘how can you keep the fire alive in your marriage?’ The answer for me is simple: marry a man with a fabulous caboose. It will easily get you from station to station without issues, and it will last through the years. Well, it will last as long as he keeps up those squat routines and aerobic workouts.

I know it’s not politically correct. It is not only Mark’s caboose that made me fall for him. His huge lower level tenant plays a part as well. I’m just kidding. Well, sort of. 

But back to the caboose. That’s what got me in trouble. The man is irresistible. One thing led to another, and without any warning, we suddenly arrive in Pregnancy-ville. I’m praying that it’s a population 1 kind of place. But my mind wanders, and now that the pregnancy has been confirmed by not four but five pee sticks, I am starting to worry about twins, triplets, and that Octo-mom maniac I saw on the news a few years ago. 

I realize that Mark and I are married, so having children is a completely natural thing. But I have a fabulous job, which means a lot to a workaholic who becomes a danger to herself and others when she’s not thinking, reading, writing, and working. Having a child was not something on my ‘to-do’ list this week. The fear of taking on more work is not only daunting; it terrifies me enough to have helped me pee my pants, and collect some piss on the little pregnancy stick. What am I going to do now? 

“You’re resourceful. You’re a fucking pro at everything. I feel like pregnancy will look good on you,” my best friend, Noreen tells me. She is a nurse from New York, and she is my best friend because she assumedly knows what she is talking about. There’s something that I love about cocky self-assurance in a person. But today, her words are not helpful.

“Pregnancy will look good on me? It’s not a vintage Chanel suit I just pulled out of a clearance bin at the local consignment shop. It’s pregnancy! Motherhood doesn’t look good on a 4’ 10’’ ginger,” I shout. My voice carries louder than intended. Ugh oh. Hormones. They are racing faster than the steroid-chomping dogs at a white-trash OBT bar.

“I am supposed to be a professional, attacking the world by storm. I can’t become a waddling whale of emotion. And how am I supposed to coordinate an outfit with a diaper bag? How am I going to keep up with my own life if I’m too huge and tired and overwhelmed to merchandise my outfits?”

“You’re a professional diva, Kim. That’s the job you’re best at. Just relax.” 

After knowing about my pregnancy for a few short minutes, I am already exactly what I fear. Not the whale part—that comes later. I am a big blubbering, babbling ball of emotion, shouting at my biggest supporter. I am a shitty best friend. Hold it together. Hold it together. I am repeating a mantra that nearly never works, but since the Dali Lama believes in finding peace immediately through mantra citation, I’m trying it. 

“Relax. Don’t you want a family? I know you do. You love looking at baby clothes and all that crap. This will be fun.” 

Noreen is so relaxed that it pisses me off. She has nothing to worry about. She isn’t married. She is living the life in New York, partying her pants off, making tons of money, and effectively using her birth control. She is successfully living the life I can see passing through my fingertips.

You’re the spontaneous one, Nor. I always thought you’d get knocked up before me!” 

“God is clearly punishing you for trying to plan out your life too much. He’s throwing you a curve ball and laughing with a martini in his right hand. You know, next to where Jesus is,” she mocks me. 

“Ahhhhh! I completely forgot that pregnancy means no more drinking! Oh geeze. What the hell am I going to do????” 

The fact that Noreen’s voice is so calm pisses me off even more. She has no idea how this feels. I need the martini that is no longer an option. AT ALL. For at least 9 months. Maybe I’ll deliver sooner than nice months, or get a C section or something, and be drinking again by Christmas, I muse. Ugh. Am I really this much of an alcoholic? Who knew? My rapid thoughts are teaching me all kinds of things I never expected. 

My mind reverts suddenly, and I am wondering how non-drinkers deal with stress. I have no idea what those boring people do. Chew gum? Jog? Beat their wives? I have no idea.

“Ok. Do you want me to come down?” she asks. 

Mark and I live in Pennsylvania, a short 2 ½ hours from Noreen. Her offer is appealing, but I need to find a way to tell Mark. I’m too preoccupied for a houseguest. 

“No. I’ll be fine. I just need—something. What do non-drinkers do to unwind?” I ask. 



I hate it when movie directors show a character’s anxiety by zooming in on that character’s fingers as they tap fiercely on a desk. I don’t often see real world people who do this anxious tapping. It’s usually the foot tapping or a twitchy eye that indicates fear, concern, or unease. For me, my husband can sense my angst when I wander aimlessly around the house. I complain about how dirty, disorganized, or cluttered the house is. I alternate between rooms, picking items up, hiding things in drawers, or ripping apart closets and desk spaces.

The sound that always gives away my cleaning spree is that of the black garbage bag. It’s an industrial sized bag. I carry it fondly from room to room like a childhood blanket.

But my fingers never tap or twitch. 

“We should be on the show Hoarders,” I tell Mark.

He shrugs his shoulders, hearing things he has heard before.

“We should invite the film crew out to the house. We can show them your fishing bait collection, the piles of middle school paperwork you insist on keeping, and ask them to bring a dump truck for half of this crap.”

“I love you, honey bee,” he calls from the living room.

“Don’t avoid the issue. Help me clean up this junk.”

I shuffle through old magazines in the back of our office closet. I have strategically placed the black garbage bag at my feet, and shovel in items quickly so that Mark won’t realize that I am only throwing out his junk.

“Just wait. One day, guests won’t want to come here because there will be too much crap everywhere. There won’t be any space for other people.”

“Kimberly, what are you talking about? There is plenty of room in this house.”

There is no room for rattles and booties and bottles.

“Do you want to relax? I’ll go hook up the boat, and we can go take an evening cruise. You get the water bottles,” Mark offers.

The boat always soothes me. But all I can think of is the future. No more evening boat trips after our 9 months have passed. No more random date nights. No more energy to focus on work. No more time for snuggling on the couch. Instead I will be cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning closets, and burping my baby.

I leave the black bag in the office and tell Mark that we need milk. I am going to take a quick drive to the grocery store while he hooks up the boat. I throw my matted, unkempt hair into a bun of messy ringlets and skip out the back door of the house. I start the car, cell phone in hand, and dial my ambitious, overzealous girlfriend, Victoria. She is still at the office, but glad to take a break before an evening networking event she has to attend.

“I am feeling a little crazed,” I start off.

“A few months ago, Mark and I tried to map out the next few years. I really want to finish my master’s degree and start on a doctoral program. I think that I want to become a college professor. I also want to continue working full-time because I like being on the move, constantly thinking. I like my job. How in the hell am I supposed to fit kids into this equation one day?” I ask.

“Are you kidding me? I don’t want kids until I’m 40. I need time to establish myself in my career. Who the hell is going to take me seriously if I leave work now? If I get 3-5 solid years in at this company and leave, how can I get back into a job without having to go right back to entry level?”

“It’s a doggie-dog world, isn’t it,” I quip.

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Kimmie,” Victoria corrects.

“Yea, but doggie-dog world makes it sound less discouraging.”

Victoria validates my feelings and reminds me why I am so scared shitless about this whole baby thing. Why do women have it so much harder? Why don’t men need to put their careers on hold? Why don’t they have to deal with guilt over wanting to work?

Even though women have established themselves as independent, intelligent competitors in the work world, we are still expected to stay home with our children for some time. We have breasts, so we are expected to hang a baby off of them. And that simply can’t happen in a professional workspace.

I hang up the phone feeling discouraged. Maybe a call to my mom will help. Wait. Terrible idea. Mom’s hormones are worse than mine. If the two of us talk or see each other while I am in this heightened state of emotions, one of us might get hurt.

I buy the milk that we don’t really need from the store, and drive back home wondering how or when I am going to break this news to Mark. When I get back into the car, I feel something in my eye and pull down the driver’s side mirror to check it out. I notice my hair.

In my frantic upheaval, I had failed to notice that my hair had not successfully been made into a neat bun. Instead, there is a huge chunk of hair sitting terribly out of place, somewhat resembling a dorsal fin on top of my head. Great.

I ask myself, Did anyone at the grocery store warn others of an impending shark attack?


My mother was a stay-at-home-mom for seven years. Then, as she put it, “being a mom was not enough… so I went back to work.” My little sister, Lauren, and I were independent and adventurous, born with a zest for life. We were exactly what our mother wanted us to become, until we didn’t need her anymore. 

I resign to get in touch with her a few days following my random house cleaning event. I hope that she will somehow remove my newly acquired shroud of guilt. I don’t want to become a stay-at-home-mom, but I also don’t want to become oblivious to the life of my child. I need to find a balance before I bring a kid into this world. I send Mom an email to check if she’s free to talk later in the afternoon. 

When she calls me later that evening, Mom’s droning voice drifts in and out of my ear as she tells me how busy her work week has been. 

“Did you get my email?” I interrupt. 

“Yes, and I emailed you back,” she insists. 

“Did you send a Harry Potter invisi-email? Because I didn’t get anything.” 

Although my comment is somewhat snide, Mom laughs heartily. She never takes me too seriously and can always tell when I’m joking. 

“Or did you forward my email to your new assistant Mimie?” I ask. 

Mimie is my mother’s third child, also known as a Cockapoo (a cocker spaniel/poodle mix). Mimie’s very existence is hilarious to me because her name is comprised of two different words for fecal matter. Furthermore, I spend most days wondering if Mom loves Mimie more than she loves my younger sister and I. This is likely the truth. Mimie doesn’t talk back, spend money, or refuse hugs. Mimie provides an endless show of affection. Mimie also never made Mom feel like she needed to rejoin the workforce. 

“Mimie hasn’t learned to type yet. So she probably didn’t get the email,” Mom retorts. I can hear her smile on the other end of the phone. She is proud to have cracked a joke. 

I am pacing on my back porch, enjoying some sunlight as I listen to Mom. I want to take off my slippers to feel the warm wood on my feet, but the recently deposited coat of pollen makes me weary. I don’t want pollen to stick to my toes and powder itself through my house when I go inside later. The sun feels good, and I am remembering what summer is like after a long winter. 

“I think I have to start working out more,” Mom tells me. 

“That sounds great. I should go for a run, too.” 

“Running? I didn’t say anything about running. I just think I’ll go for a walk.” 

“If you want to burn calories and feel good, you need to work up a sweat. Walking doesn’t make you sweat, does it?” I ask. 

“No. But I hate sweating.” 

“You won’t hate it when you lose the weight you want to. You don’t want to end up like this woman I know at work. Her name is Sarah, and she told me yesterday that if she could be any character from a movie, she would be Jabba-the-Hut.” 

Mom bursts into laugher and I can hear air push through her nostrils. She makes a familiar snort, and I am glad to hear it. It’s been a while. It almost puts my mind at ease, just as the sunlight on my face does. 

Try as I may, I can’t muster the conversation about motherhood and what the hell I am supposed to do about my job. Thinking about working out and sweating reminds me that I will soon become Jabba-the-Hut. I make an excuse to get off of the phone. I think to myself, I could make things awkward and ask if she would consider helping me with my new home-waxing kit. But I don’t even know how or when I can have sex now that I’m pregnant. Who needs a wax when the beehive has been shut down? 

“Mom, I really need to wash my hair. Catch ya later.” 

I hang up and crawl up my stairs to take a nap. 


I can tell that my stress level is elevating as the days pass because I am starting to grow tiny pimples inside my nose. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else on the planet, but for me, this is a visible mark of stress. Nose pimples. God must be laughing his butt off somewhere. I wonder if he is still nursing that martini from four days earlier. 

Mark is busy on a business call in the office. The office that I want to clean out because I need to make room for baby. I can hear his business associates from China. They are asking Mark about accounts and departments and things that are too boring to list. 

I still haven’t told Mark about my talking pee-stick because I need to become really excited about this in my own time. No expecting mother wants to tell her husband, “I’m pregnant, and the recent vomiting was not brought on by the baby, but by my paranoia.” Welcome to the freak show. 

I don’t hate babies. It’s just that I am selfish and obsessed with becoming a successful career woman. I don’t want my husband to be the only breadwinner. We are equals in so many ways, and having grown up a princess from the throngs of Long Island, I have a desire to be woman, hear me roar. Thanks a lot, Mom. Motherhood somehow appears lack luster to me. Even though it is physically and emotionally demanding, I somehow cannot equate it with my interpreted version of a real career. What the heck is wrong with me? 

Mark ends his call. I am at the kitchen sink, rinsing out my college alumni tea mug. He walks up behind me and places one hand on my shoulder and massages it. His other hand grazes my thigh.

“Remember the last time I really got to work on you?” he asks.

“Oh, yeah. You worked me like a 9-5.” 

Great. He’s in the mood, and I’m afraid that a fetus will hear noises and its first words will be, Yes! Justlikethat! I attempt to change the subject.

“I tried to explain the phrase ‘brush ya shouldas off’ to the receptionist at work today.” 

“What?” Mark is puzzled, but intrigued enough to remove one hand from my thigh.

“Well, I wanted to educate her a little. I made the move, and then realized that she had no idea what I was talking about. So, I tried to explain it, but failed.”

“Yea, I mean, ‘brush ya shouldas off’ is like a state of mind. It’s like, an essence. How did you explain it?” Mark asks.

“I mean, I tried to get some second opinions. I asked Maurice how he would explain it.”


“He said, ‘You don’t explain it. You just know what it is or you don’t.’” 

Mark laughs.

“Have you checked your fantasy baseball team yet today? I heard that there were some surprising upsets from the games last night.”

I am lying, but hopeful that this will get Mark out of the kitchen and onto his laptop for a few minutes.

“Oh, man, are you serious? I haven’t checked yet. Work was nutty today. I’ve been busy.”

He saunters off into the other room to get his iPhone. I let out a nervous sigh, and tell myself, It’s now or never. You have to tell him. Just tell him. This is the most exciting moment in your lives, and he is going to hit the roof with glee!

I dig through the refrigerator for a tube of Pillsbury Cinna-bun dough. Mark is busying himself and I meticulously unroll the cold dough onto a bake sheet. Screw homemade. I like to bake the old-fashioned way—with recipes that are a million years old, that have been securely recreated by a mass-market distributor.

When Mark comes back into the room, his face lights up.

“Mmmmmm. Honey bee! I love it when we have sweets before dinner!”

“Well…..” my voice trails for a moment, but I conjure up courage. Whenever I try to conjure courage, I think of 1990’s super actress Lucy Lawless from the TNT Drama, Xena: Warrior Princess. I imagine myself in the leather armor with a whip and tell myself that I am brave and strong.

“These aren’t the only buns in the oven.” 

Marks face remains still. His muscles are frozen except for a blinking motion I notice once every ten seconds.

“Are you with child?” he asks.

“What am I, Mary Magdalene? I’m pretty sure ‘knocked up’ is a more appropriate term for an individual of my ability and character.”

Mark doesn’t laugh. He still hasn’t moved much.

“Are you pregnant?” he asks.

“Well, I mean, that’s what the pee stick said.”

He laughs at first. His eyes never leave mine. A smile breaks across his face, and he picks me up, pulling me close to his unshaven face.

“OH MY GOSH!!!!!! THIS IS GREAT!” he shouts. He is jumping up and down with me in his arms.

I start to cry. And I realize that I am not crying tears of sadness or confusion or regret. I am relieved that Mark is so excited. I am at peace, and I am crying tears of joy. Well, who the hell expected that to happen? Not me!

“I love you, Kimberly,” he tells me. “I can’t wait to love our new baby!”

“Me neither.”

Noreen was right. A little prayer goes a long way, and in this very moment, things are starting to feel exciting and wonderful.

Now all I have to pray for is a happy, healthy baby. A precious little baby with 10 fingers, and 10 toes, and it would be awesome if it came out already wearing a tutu.


Kimberly Emilia has been writing since the age of 12 when she coaxed a best friend to dictate her every last word. Lame, perhaps. But the written word still entices and enthralls Kimberly. She writes an educational blog for a university in the suburbs of Philadelphia and hates cats.

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.