The Back-Up Plan

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Between tears streaming down my face and bouts of hysterical laughter, I felt like I was watching my life on the big screen as I watched Jennifer Lopez, who plays Zoe, a professional woman who decides to have a baby on her own in the Back-Up Plan.  Although she goes through artificial insemination and I decided to adopt, the similarities are uncanny.  Well, everything except JLo’s fabulous figure and the fact that she meets an adorable guy (played by hottie Alex O’Laughlin)….and well, you can only guess how this flick plays out. I promise not to give it all away.

I am living my back-up plan…not sure if I am on Plan A, B or even C at this point….but I am living it and the movie is pretty close to reality.   I saw the movie with my friend who is also adopting a baby.  I am sure a lot of single women can relate, but Zoe’s story was so real to me. 

From the opening scene when she is on the table after being inseminated with so many thoughts plaguing her mind- “This is definitely what I want” to “What the hell am I doing” (These thoughts still occasionally go through my head) ….to when you see her happily walking down the street noticing every single pregnant woman and baby who walks by.         

Then she meets the guy, Stan.  They have a somewhat rough start and then she runs into him at the Tribeca Farmer’s market where he sells the gourmet cheese that he makes on his family farm in upstate NY.  I’ve been there many times with my sister and I never saw the guy.

Zoe’s story is like many women I know, myself included. She was working grueling hours in corporate America, wanted a more balanced life so left, has dated hundreds of guys ( I stopped counting) and hasn’t met the right one, adopted a dog (not a Cockapoo but a very cute Boston Terrier with a disability) and she wants to meet someone and have a family.

And then she realizes that time isn’t always on our side and she needs to make a decision. So she decides to go through with the artificial insemination.  In my case, I decided to adopt.

JLo’s journey- and mine- includes several major huddles.

Are You Sure?
Zoe is faced with this from many directions.  Zoe’s best friend has four kids and continues to remind Zoe that it isn’t easy. It is hectic and crazy and sometimes her friend can’t believe she wants to do this.  I have been in similar situations when I am talking to my sister or friends with children and clearly they aren’t having a good day.  “Are you really sure you want this?” “Do you want one of mine?”   Well, yeah I do want it guys…kind of thought about it for a long time.

The Big Tell
Zoe finds out she is pregnant (of course the artificial insemination worked right away). She has her second date with Stan at his Farm. She is wondering how she is going to tell him she is pregnant. She practices in the mirror “I am pregnant” “I was inseminated”.  While I am not pregnant, I have often practiced how I would tell a guy. It’s difficult to know just when is the right time. The first date? Third date?

I’ve tried them all. It’s obviously the best case scenario when he already knows…which gets you to “the explanation” (below) much sooner.  I remember the first time I told a guy on a first and actually blind date – our only date.  He picked me up, took me to a hip, new restaurant and proceeded to tell me he was just going through a divorce and wasn’t looking for anything serious. So, I decided this may be the best guy to practice on.  I told him I was also really busy and adopting a baby.  He had two small children, looked at me and said “that is such a wonderful thing to do”.  It really meant a lot coming from this guy, who I didn’t actually know and never saw again. He made me feel much more confident that there will be a guy who accepts the entire package. 

And then there was the one who I told after we had gone out a handful of times. It was late night and I told him I had always wanted children and didn’t want to wait any longer, so I decided to adopt a baby. 

What’s really funny is seeing the guy’s reaction. In this case, he didn’t say much. In fact, I wondered after we went out a few more times and he didn’t bring it up if he remembered. Needless to say he isn’t around anymore. 

Recently I met a guy at a fundraising event who asked me to tell him something “unusual” or “different” about myself. I happened to think this was an odd pick-up line and thought I’d just throw out the best I had – “Well, I am adopting a baby.”  Again, it’s just fun to see their reaction. Anyway, he called and who knows?

The Explanation
The Big Tell is always followed by a series of questions…and the need to explain. Didn’t you want to get married?  Did you just want to do it on your own?  Why did you decide to adopt and not have your own baby?   

JLo tells Stan that she worked a lot and dated a lot and just didn’t meet the right guy.  She always wanted to have a child and couldn’t wait any longer.  I’ve repeated this many a time.  No, having a child on our own wasn’t a first choice, but it was the back-up plan.  And, yes, she wants to get married if she meets the right person.  For me, I do get asked why I didn’t have my own baby.  Because I decided to adopt. I hope to one day meet someone and have my own child or children.  I have no objection to artificial insemination and I would never say never, but I decided to adopt.  I have friends who pursued artificial insemination and in some cases it was a faster process. 

The Bottom Line
At the near end of the movie, JLo’s best friend makes a comment to her about buying sperm so she didn’t have to face relationships.  You are too picky….you are afraid of relationships…you are distrustful of men…JLo hears it all and I’ve heard many of these comments from time to time.  JLo states it ever so clearly “I bought the sperm because I wanted a baby.”  It’s really that simple. I am adopting because I want a baby. 

I am so happy to see this real life issue, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society, being played out as a comedy in theaters across the country. 

I am the first to admit – It is verifiably kinda crazy and you do have to laugh – if I didn’t laugh, I’d cry. What I do know is I made the right decision and I may just take a second look at the mushroom man at my neighborhood farmer’s market this summer.

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  • Great post!! I'm excited to see the movie just reading your blog!Having lived through your journey I can say you have heard all of comments and questions (some from me) and it's impressive that you, and other singles trying to adopt, continue to pursue your dream of being a parent! Kudos to all of you!

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