Friday, September 05, 2008

The Baby Train - When Will I Get My Ticket?

Cross-posted on Damsels in Success.

I was at the gym last week and after my workout I went to the locker room to change and shower as usual. In the 30 minutes I was there, three different pregnant women came and went. On my way home that same day, I stopped at the grocery store and saw a pregnant woman in every aisle I traveled down. Is it just me, or are there pregnant women everywhere right now?

OK, so I’m almost positive that pregnant women aren’t turning up with more frequency these days. It does seem that way, though. You see, I’m 32 and I have yet to have a child of my own. My biological clock is ticking faster and louder than ever—so loud that some days I’m certain my boyfriend can hear it, too. But getting on the baby train just isn’t in the cards right this moment and it just chugs on by while I wave and force a smile for friends, acquaintances and complete strangers who’ve climbed aboard.

Of course, the truth of the matter is that if I really wanted to I could buy my ticket for that train anytime; I can have a baby whenever I choose (so long as my body is willing and able). But the reality of the situation is that I want to be married (or at least in a fully committed co-habiting relationship), financially stable and well on my way to a successful writing career before I get on that train. I struggle regularly, going back and forth between my desire to get pregnant immediately no matter what situation I’m in, and the reality of the responsibilities and challenges that motherhood will bring—especially if I’m on my own. Thankfully, my career is moving along well, and things with my boyfriend are serious and seem to be headed toward marriage in the near future. This quells at least some of the anxiety I feel as that baby train passes me by. One day soon, I reassure myself, you’ll be on that train. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if there was no sign of a stable relationship in my future? Or what if, God forbid, I was unable to have children? How would I handle my desire then?

I fear I wouldn’t do well. I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember and every dream I have for myself includes children as a part of it. Even now, when I know there’s hope for children in my near future, I still find myself glossy-eyed and drenched in envy when I spend time with friends who have children. I see pregnant women and I fanaticize about what my body might look like at five, seven, and nine months. Even pregnant animals on the Discovery Channel fill me with jealousy.

I try to hide my envy, at least around my friends, but I’m certain it peaks through my happy-to-be-childless front sometimes. To quiet the jealousy beast, I remind myself that motherhood isn’t all baby powder and butterfly kisses, and I hold onto the hope that I’ll be a mother one day soon. In the meantime, I try to enjoy my childless life as much as possible and use my time to invest in me, my relationships and my career. After all, as my friends with children often tell me, I’ll wish for these days of freedom when I finally do have kids.

Now where did I put that train schedule?


34 Years said...

I'm 34, and I don't think I have a clock...or my mind is plugged up with so many other things-of-the-moment that the clock put itself back in some dark recess of my inner self.

All of our friends have kiddos, and anyone will tell you kids love me and I love them back - yet at the moment I'm playing the selfish card.

I'm sure you could care less of my un-desire for wee ones :) but here's the thing...when we're 40 having kids at that age will be as normal as breathing. People seem to be having them later and later in life.

Kayris said...

When it does happen, it will seem like the timing is perfect. I was 19 when my clock started ticking (yes, 19!) but thank goodness I had the sense to wait for a suitable man and finished college and spent some time with my husband before the kiddos came along. And it turned out perfectly and I wonder what I was so worried about.

Don't hide your envy from your friends with kids. They'll be more than happy to share them with you. Other people's kids can be an amazing comfort in the meantime.

Melanie said...

Great post, Ami!

There's still plenty of time for you to get on the baby-train.

But, on the other hand, don't feel you have to wait till everything is perfect... Babies disrupt their parents' lives whenever they come... And they tend to also fit into your life in a wonderful way no matter what else is going on. They're exhausting, challenging, adorable and amazing all wrapped up in one little dimpled package. They're the one life event you can never be fully prepared for.

Congrats on all your good news, BTW... Career going well, happy relationship etc...

Ami said...

34 Years - I keep trying to remind myself that I still have plenty of time, but for some reason that's not much of a consolation. I don't mind listening to your un-desire, either. I know several women who feel (or felt) the same way. Unfortunately, I can't always relate because I've never not wanted kids. It's hard for me to imagine it, but I completely respect people who chose to be child-free.

Reluctant Housewife - Thanks, for the compliment, for the reassurance, for the encouragement and for the congratulations. I appreciate them all.

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

I've been there. There were many years when I wanted a baby and it wasn't working out for me, and I swear there were pregnant women stalking me around every corner. Funny how that happens. -Julia

Louise said...

I think I am a freak. Atleast I did until I read your post. I am 21 and I was married at 19. I got married because my clock had been ticking since I was 6, or so it seemed. Often times, I am so filled with envy, I could scream and it's good to know that other women have the same desire- A desire that starts in the pit of your stomach and overwhelms you and comes out when you break up with someone and your crying hysterically telling your best friend on the phone at three in the morning "NOW I'LL NEVER HAVE BABIES!!!"

Ok, maybe that is all me.

What I am trying to say is, I feel you.

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