Mistress of the Mix: Waiting for Labor Day

There's nothing more my lover wants in life than for me to have his baby. He has a son; I have a daughter. They've developed into wonderful teenagers, but he yearns for us to have one that's half him, half me. A baby we can raise together. I have to admit that there are moments when I get carried away with the romantic notion of giving him the greatest gift possible, but I just can't bring myself to do it. The reality of it keeps slapping me in the face.

  • I look at my age - almost 45. Unlike guys, who can produce tens of thousands of new sperm every day, we women are born with all the eggs we're ever going to have. So by the time we're 40, they're starting to deteriorate a little, increasing the chances of having a child with severe disabilities.
  • Then factor in my physical condition - I've had back problems my whole life and have been overweight from the age of 22. It's who I am. It doesn't stop me from riding a bike or shaking my plentiful booty on the dance floor. But carrying around another 30 pounds? Ugh.
  • And let's not forget about my life - I'm already a single mom raising a high schooler and an emotionally needy dog. I've got a demanding career that often requires weird hours. Can you imagine my water breaking while I'm on stage at the Cascade introducing Lily Tomlin or Bruce Cockburn? Yeah, okay, let's not imagine that.

During the past year, two close friends have had babies. Both women are in their 40s. It was a first for Stephanie, and when her sweet cherub Avalia was born, my boyfriend's reaction was, "If Stephanie can have a beautiful, perfect, healthy baby girl, so can you!" Caroline was 42 when she made a conscious decision to have another child, this time without a partner and without giving up her incredibly demanding career as a corporate jet pilot. I thought my hours were wacky? Caroline flies to Africa one week, Alaska the next. When she gave birth to Carly Q, my boyfriend said, "See, she didn't give up her career to have a baby ... come on, please?"

But when it comes down to it, the thought of dedicating so much of my life to raising another little human being is just so ... sigh .... exhausting. I loved being pregnant (after the first few months), and I loved giving birth. And I loved watching my sweet daughter grow into an amazing human being. But I really dedicated my entire life to the effort, and my job's not done yet. It's been a lot of work.

So honey, please forgive me. Make those chicken bock-bock-bock sounds at me all you want, but I just don't think I can do it.

However, another one of my good friends is up to the task. Cheryl is exactly my age, and getting ready to go into labor any day now to bring her first baby girl into the world (after a pair of boys, who are now teenagers). This is the kind of bravery I wish I could muster up!

I've been following her pregnancy from the beginning, because, of course, my boyfriend has been looking from her belly to me, her belly, to me, with that sad little puppy dog look on his face that says, "See what we're missing out on? Please please please please PLEASE?"

When Cheryl told me she was due in September, I immediately started planning this column, for her Labor Day. And I'm culling many of the songs from a radio show I did back in 1997, when I was pregnant, as a tribute to pregnancy, childbirth, and all the hard labor I knew was ahead of me once I became the mother of my baby girl. But that labor has turned into a labor of love, from the very beginning. I don't really want to do it all over again, but I celebrate the mommies (and the daddies) who are happily welcoming new life into their families around the time most of us are starting to plan our retirement.

-- Stream this playlist on Grooveshark (or just click on the imbedded playlist included above), or
-- Download all or part of the mix on iTunes

  1. Bobby McFerrin- Baby
  2. Stevie Wonder- Isn't She Lovely
  3. Yael Naim- New Soul
  4. Talking Heads- Stay Up Late
  5. Eric Church- Two Pink Lines
  6. Alison Krauss- Baby Mine
  7. Everything But The Girl- Apron Strings
  8. Kate Bush- This Woman's Work
  9. Paul Anka- You're Having My Baby
  10. Jim Gaffigan- Having My Baby
  11. Desi Arnaz- We're Having A Baby
  12. Creed- With Arms Wide Open
  13. Kenny Chesney- There Goes My Life
  14. Bobby McFerrin & Yo-Yo Ma- Hush Little Baby
  15. Kenny Loggins- Danny's Song
  16. Colbie Caillat- Capri
  17. XTC- Then She Appeared
  18. Elton John- Blessed
  19. Sister Hazel- Green
  20. Elton John (or Celine Dion)- Beautiful Boy
  21. John Mayer- Daughters
  22. Maurice Chevalier - Thank Heaven For Little Girls

Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She's the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can't imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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10 Responses

  1. rmv says:


  2. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    I applaud you . . . if you don't wanna, then do the world a favor and DON'T!!! . . . and tell that boyfriend to back off that emotional black mail stuff!!

    • I don't really see it as emotional blackmail…it's more like he's pouting in jest every time one of my friends has a baby. I certainly didn't intend to portray him as an emotional blackmailer. Honestly, I think it's very sweet when he reminds me how much he'd like to have a baby with me (doesn't change my mind, though). When I write a column like this I'm painting a vivid, encapsulated, slightly exaggerated picture of my life to help get to the real point, which is a great playlist to celebrate all the people bringing babies into the world for all the right reasons.

  3. jim says:

    What about marriage? What about fatherhood?

    If your man wants to have a child with you, he should at least show his commitment to you (and the whole family) by marrying you. As you say you need to dedicate your life to raising the new child, being married helps assure he will be there too. This is the best situation, as we all know. Caroline brought a child into the world on purpose without a father. Not the best situation either.

    We all know that kids will have the best chance to thrive when they have a father and a mother who are committed to them and each other.

    Now comes the ancedotal responses… My kids did fine in my situation…

    Just admit to what is the "best" or "optimal" sitiation when starting a family. We all know the answer.

  4. Sheila Barnes says:

    Jim, I believe you mean well, but you seem to be judgmental and preaching. Pretty much when I read or hear "We all know..", I question it. We don't all know. Valerie, I applaud you for being honest with yourself and your loved one.

  5. Cheri says:

    As always… a great, heart felt genuine expression of your life. Your openness to truly share yourself and your life is so inspiring! I can feel it through your words and your heart knows the answer…..listen to it….!



  6. Jim, for the record, he's asked, so his intentions are stellar.

    I believe you mean well too, but the 'best situation' you describe doesn't necessarily apply to today's society.

    I do believe that a child usually thrives best in a situation where there are two – or more parents involved, because where there's more love, involvement and communication, a more nurturing environment is provided. But I don't think it necessarily has anything to do with the contract of marriage between a father and a mother, or even about one man and woman. It's about people (a bunch of them…natural parents, step-parents, uncles, aunts & grandparents and friends and siblings) working together with the common goal of raising smart, loving, compassionate, conscientious children. Being married in this day & age doesn't guarantee anything, unfortunately. It doesn't guarantee loyalty, doesn't guarantee love, doesn't guarantee that a father will stick around or be a good father, or won't beat his wife. I wish it did. What marriage guarantees is that two people can file their taxes jointly, can't be forced to testify against one another in court, can hold their spouse's hand in the hospital, and might be covered on an insurance policy.

    • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

      Dear Valerie,

      Being married in this day & age doesn't guarantee anything, unfortunately.

      I might add that it never did guarantee anything. To believe marriage will automatically protect children, make adults behave and love each other forever until death do us part, and ensure happy families is wishing for a scenario that exists in imagination and wishful thinking. There is no "best" or "optimal" situation and never was… there were situations people adhered to because it was expected of them, but that never guaranteed a happy ending.

  7. Hal Johnson says:

    My wife and I are late-in-life parents, and we never forgot that the risks were potentially great in carrying a baby to term. Your decision shows a special kind of bravery.

    Great writing. Thanks.

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