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.