As I approach the age where society expects me to start having children, I can’t help but feel hesitant to take the plunge. On one hand, I would love to know what it feels like to have life growing inside of me and to watch the years go by through another’s bright and hopeful eyes. On the other hand, it can’t be forgotten that being pregnant limits your ability to do certain things, the most notable of which being riding roller coasters.
There’s truly no feeling like riding a rollercoaster: boarding that rickety rocket or plane-shaped cart, being strapped in by a sweaty teen whose questionable competence provides an extra thrill, and finally, when the thing takes off, being thrust through the air with a crowd of screaming people who, though previously strangers, are now bonded for life through the shared experience of fearing a roller-coaster-related death while not being pregnant.
Once when I was waiting in line with my theme park friend Carl for our 25th turn that day of Kingda Ka, we passed by the “Please Do Not Ride if Pregnant” sign and I said to him: “Could never be me!” We shared a laugh of understanding, but a small part of me was saddened by the thought that things may one day change and I would, in fact, be the one saying: “No, you guys go along. I’ll just wait here and watch. It’s just as fun that way.”
That, of course, would be a lie.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: have I considered the possibility of just riding the coaster anyway if I do wind up pregnant? Of course I have. The “No Pregnant Women” rule is probably just a little theme park formality, anyway. They also tell you not to bring cocaine into the Tower of Terror, and lord knows I’ve found ways around that one. The only problem is, I worry you just wouldn’t be able to get into it the same way knowing there’s a tiny living thing inside of you. Maybe that’s just me.
When it comes down to it, riding roller coasters and having children are two competing goals between which life forces you to choose. Sure, I could throw away nine good months of my year-round fast pass, but everyone knows once a woman takes maternity leave from the coaster life, she never comes back—at least not the same way. Besides, what is the purpose of life anyway? To reproduce? To feel the innocent love of a child? Or to ride a flying cart through the sky and get to feel like you might die for three minutes and 45 seconds? You tell me.