It all starts with Pills. Specifically, Birth Control Pills. The First Step toward maintaining Control is to diligently consume one each day while you settle into the Routine of Marriage (for I must detour to mention that Marriage is the Recommended Environment for maintaining Control while having a Child).
Once you have Control over your Marriage Routine, you may decide which time you think it most appropriate to Have a Child. Once you have considered all of the Factors involved in this decision (such as your Work and School Schedule, your Future Job Security, the Season you wish to be Pregnant based on the Weather in your Locale, your Age, the Age of the Child’s Future Grandparents, and the Age that the Child will be when Halley’s Comet next returns to visit Earth), you may begin to stop using the Birth Control Pills.
When you have stopped using the Birth Control Pills, you must then engage yourself frequently in the Activity Which Produces a Child (see our Essay On How to Remain in Control in the Early Years of Marriage). This will produce for you One Child. (Should your efforts produce More Than One Child, see our Essay On How to Remain in Control While Having More Than One Child. Should your efforts produce Less Than One Child, see our Essay On How to Remain in Control While Having Less Than One Child.)
Upon achieving Control of your Child Production, you must choose which Pregnancy Calendar Application or Algorithm you feel has the most Credibility (or gives you the date with the most Numerological Significance) to determine the Child’s Due Date. This is the Date Upon Which Your Child Will Arrive.
For the first Twelve Weeks of your pregnancy, you must carefully conceal your inevitable Excitement, in order to keep under Control the Overly Enthusiastic Paparazzi. Should news of your pregnancy leak out as a result of Forced Hospitalization due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or Acute Morning Sickness, you have clearly not exercised Sufficient Control. (Or your Public and Private Spaces are crawling with Overly Enthusiastic Paparazzi.)
Upon reaching your Twelfth Week, you must announce the expected birth date of your Child on Facebook, so as to provide an Equal Opportunity for each of your Family and Friends to learn of your pregnancy at the same time. You must have a Sufficient Number of Family and Friends so you can ensure that you will not be lacking in Praise and Congratulations and Tiny Cute Outfits.
Upon reaching your Twentieth Week, you must use an Ultrasound to determine the Gender of your Child, so as to Control the colors and decorations of the Tiny Cute Outfits to conform to Societal Expectations.
As the Date Upon Which Your Child Will Arrive approaches, you must arrange Maternity Leave for the time you will not be Working. If you have exercised Sufficient Control, your Child will arrive precisely on the Due Date, so the scheduling of your Maternity Leave, and visits from Long-Distance Family, and the Queen’s Annual Summer Holiday in Scotland, should not be difficult.
When the Due Date arrives, and you proceed into Labor (British mothers may proceed into Labour), you should remain at home and Putsy About until your house is Spotless for the arrival of your Child. In light of the Superstitions that children born with the Bag of Waters still intact are blessed with Good Luck in Life, you must maintain the integrity of the Amniotic Sac for as long as possible. You may leave for the Hospital only when your house is Spotless, and you have made Satisfactory Progress in Labor, and you see a Break in the Paparazzi.
Once you have reached the Hospital, you may proceed to Have your Child. If you have maintained Sufficient Control, your Labor and Delivery will be short and full of Screaming, the Technique of which has been demonstrated by every laboring mother on Television. Once you have been Delivered of your Child, you will no longer need to engage in Screaming; your Child’s efforts will be Sufficient.
Upon Delivery of your Child, you will receive help from Many Experts who appear to know more about your Child than you do. While they are observing your Child, ensure that your Child behaves perfectly (sleeps without Fussing, latches correctly while Breastfeeding) so that their advice and encouragement is essentially useless when they leave and everything goes Wrong.
When you arrive at Home, you must quickly instruct your Child to follow an orderly Schedule with regular times for Food, Sleep, Play, and Urinary and Bowel Movements. This will minimize your Child’s urges to Fuss, as well as your own urges to Sob Uncontrollably at random hours of the Day or Night.
When your House is in Order, and your Family and Friends have visited to admire your Well-Behaved Child and your ability to keep everything under Control, and your Child is sleeping peacefully in your arms with a soft Smile of Contentment… then hold him and gaze down at him and count ten tiny fingernails and ten tiny toenails, and marvel that an intact human with a fully functioning body and an immortal soul was guided into being, in spite of you, at the masterful command of a wildly intractable Love.
Melissa (Haegert) Dykhuis (’10) lives in Lafayette, Colorado, with her husband Nathan, cat Sophie, and sons Matthew and Jonathan. She graduated from Calvin with a physics degree and then got a PhD in planetary science from the University of Arizona in 2015. After years of science, she’s ready for science fiction again and is currently writing and editing young adult sci-fi novels.