“So. 30 years old, eh? I guess you know what I’m going to say next then.”
“Think of your eggs as a flower slowly wilting. You must nourish them now.”
“I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it may be soon.”
“You could always freeze them.”
These are just a few of the one-sided exchanges my gynecologist and my friends' gynos have shared with us – “us” being a group of bright-eyed, 30-something women who spent the better part of our 20s finding our voices, dating insecure men, forging our careers, traveling to foreign countries, dancing at parties until 4 am, battling credit card debt, learning to love our bodies and trying to avoid getting pregnant at all costs.
Suddenly, times have quickly changed. The pressure is on. According to our gynos, our eggs must be fried, quickly.
Lately, all my conversations have been centered on the stern warnings received from our middle-aged coochie quacks while our feet are planted firmly in cold metal stirrups with our legs spread eagle.
We’ve learned in these awkward encounters that at 30 plus, if we still aren’t ready to produce our little spawns, turns out our bodies may not be either. The truth of the matter is though, that having to put this on my priority list when it is in fact not a priority for me right now is what sucks.
Like Julieanne, I really have no clue whether I'm down for the plus sign right now. Baby talk has become small gnat in my ear that keeps buzzing, that I can no longer just shoo away.
I feel like I went to bed 25 and woke up 30. And suddenly, I am now in that weird in-between phase where I am supposed to start thinking about a baby, even if I don’t want one, because, according to my doctor, my body may soon come to a full-out breakdown like the ’96 Nissan Maxima I once drove. And, like my Maxima, a newer younger model may eventually become more appealing to my counterparts, but I will always be stuck with this model.
But here's the thing: Our gynos rarely ask if we're mentally ready to be mothers, or can even afford to pay our rent for that matter. This lifelong commitment is one that can actually take almost a lifetime to figure out. All the pressure got me to thinking, beyond the medical facts, why aren’t our gynos asking us more practical questions? Everything like such as:
1. Are you drowning in debt?
Kids are expensive. Shouldn’t my doctor be concerned that I can actually support a child financially, regardless of my age? I spent much of my 20s struggling to pay off debt due to years of attending private schools, being laid off of jobs, doctor bills, and New York City gym memberships and rent fees.
Now, in my 30s, I’m finally seeing the rainbow on the other side of it all, but still have a little ways to go. Adding a baby to this equation would not be the best move right now.
2. Are you a psycho killer?
As far as I can tell, I’m not capable of criminal activity, though I do feel this way when I PMS. What scares me the most about kids is that anyone can have them. You have to take a test to drive, but not to be a parent. Our doctors should be asking us if we’re mentally up to the challenge of parenting before asking if we realize how little time we have to give birth.
3. Is there anyone hanging around who you’d actually want to have kids with?
I shudder to think of what having a child with some of my exes may have been like. Then I shoot a praise hand up to the heavens in gratitude. Many of my friends are still looking for a partner that they’d actually consider raising a child with.
The obstacles they encounter are way too long to write here, but, let’s just say this: Doctors who stress the importance of getting pregnant by a certain age need to start hooking women up with respective partners too, because finding love can be just as difficult as finding a functioning egg.
4. DO YOU WANT KIDS?
Simple question, right? You’d be surprised, though, at how my doctors give the talk before asking if we actually want the kids to begin with.
At the age I am now, my mom was already dealing with a ridiculously dramatic and moody pre-pubescent teenager. Three years later, she suddenly become a single mother, conquering that more-than-speed bump with more grace and steadfast determination than I have ever witnessed in my life.
My mom says that she envies the chance I’ve had to live my life for myself, fully and freely. I tell her that I envy her ability to raise and love two strong-willed children against all odds. I could only dream to be half the woman my mother is, and I probably still never will be.
The problem is that I don’t want to be that woman right now. So, in the meantime, I smile at babies from afar. I nod gently as my gyno moves his lips in warning, but won't allow those warnings to move me away from the goals I decided on long before I was made aware of this impending deadline.
And, when I do get a tinge of intense compassion at the sight of a cooing, chunky baby, I hope that the day I am ready for such an experience, my body will be too.