I'm 33 And I'm Terrified I Won't Get To Have Kids

what if I don't get to be a mom

Is anyone ever really ready?

I've always wanted to have kids. 

It's been, not so much a dream, but just a guarantee. I'd grow up, get a job, meet someone cool, and start having children.

I never obsessed about it, I never worried about it, I just kind of figured it would happen. I remember one particularly bad poem I wrote to my future daughter when I was in college. It was bad in the way that only really earnest, honest, and poorly written poetry can be. 

I was sure motherhood was part of my future, now I don't know, and I'm terrified.

On the one hand, nothing has changed. I still think being a mom is essential to who I am. I come from a big family, and I'm the oldest. I've been around babies and little kids forever. I'm not approaching the idea of motherhood naively, I know it's hard as fuck and there are things I won't ever really understand about it until I do it. 


But here's the thing that has changed. I'm 33, I'm dating someone who I can't have children with, and I don't feel like I'm ready in any sense of the word.

This would be totally fine if I were a dude. I could put it off and put it off until my debts were paid and I owned property, but I'm a woman and reproductively the reality is that I very well could be peaking in terms of fertility. There's a clock, and I know it will run out. 

Getting pregnant is like getting laid — if it's what you really want you can make it happen. I plumb my soul for that kind of desperation and I don't find it, instead I am confronted with the realities of my life as it now. 

I'm living in Brooklyn, I've got a roommate. I don't have enough time to dedicate to my emotionally needy cat. A baby? Forget about it. Because of my student loan debt, I'm barely breaking even each month, covering the costs of a child would totally break me. 

Then there's the way I live. To me sleep is sacred. I'm not remotely exaggerating. If an opportunity to nap presents itself to me I will take it with great glee. If I don't get my full eight hours, I turn into a waste of a person. This is not me being whiny: sleep is essential in my battle against anxiety and depression, and if I fuck with it, living because very difficult. 

With a partner, that part might be manageable. But who is that partner? Where do we live? What's our financial situation like? Has my cat grown less clingy? It's a picture that's increasingly foggy to me when I think about it now. 

I want to bring a child into this world. It's a biological urge, sure, but it's an emotional one too.

I want to make sugar snow with a child like my mother did with me. I want a house full of kids singing nonsense songs. I want to watch a brother and sister that I made become best friends. I'm a motherly person. It's in my nature. I can't escape the feeling that it's who I'm supposed to be. 

But I'm 33. If I want to do it, I need to really start thinking about it, I need to really start planning. But is upending my life a cost I'm willing to pay for a dream that might just be the biochemical result of my waning fertility?

It might be. It might be.

In order to have a child, to one extent or another we all blow up our lives. We wander around in this fog being like "what did I do?" Nothing is the same. Not one thing. We can try and pretend that nothing has changed, but no one out there is buying that delusion. 

For me, a huge part of having a baby is the idea of creating a family of my own. I don't see myself as a single parent. I see looking at this new person with the person responsible for helping me create this new life. People go lifetimes without a meeting a person who fills that description and I'm starting to think that I'd rather live with the awful regret of not having a baby then to risk losing my chance to find that person. 

Maybe some people only get one kind of love, and maybe it's enough. I can see one day accepting that, a stone where my heart used to be.

But for now I'm willing to let the battle rage inside me. Sure, a part of that battle is biology, but that's only one part of a whole that I am just starting to understand. 


Expert advice

Save your breath because you only need two words to make him commit.
Are you REALLY thinking about their happiness?
If you keep finding yourself in heartbreaking, dead end relationships, listen up.
It seems like you can't do anything right.