Dear Everyone ever to make jokes about women of a certain age and their biological clocks,
Last night I had a dream. I was back in Denver on a shuttle coming back from DIA with my ex. And our daughter. We weren’t back together, nothing about our relationship had changed…except we had this beautiful daughter. We were coming back from a trip to KC to have all my family celebrate her first birthday. Not much happened in the dream aside from the three of us riding in the shuttle but everything about it was incredibly vivid, especially the feeling that this little girl was my whole world. I woke up at 4a.m. and the dream was so realistic it took me a minute to remember that I wasn’t still living in Denver. And I don’t have a child. And lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking that’s something I’d really like to have.
As you can imagine, this was a hard way to start the day. I felt out of sorts through most of the morning and when I finally told my (mother of one and soon-to-be two) coworker who is the same age as me why I was so off today she laughed and said, “Oh your clock’s just tickin’ away, isn’t it?! Poor girl!” One of my male coworkers must have overheard us talking because he threw in his two scents as well, “You know, this is why a lot of guys date younger women. You gals in your 30’s are totally on the baby track. Like, what’s the rush?”
Okay, y’all. Two fuck you’s needing to be given there.
I know some people will read the previous paragraph and not find anything wrong with what my coworkers had to say and call me overly sensitive and ask if I’m PMS-ing. To that I say, ‘So what. I’m allowed to be sensitive.’ and, ‘No. I am perfectly level headed (and level horomoned).’ Here’s what upsets me about people being all non-nonchalant with their ‘ticking clock’ metaphors and their ‘what’s the rush’ pondering- for some of us, e.g. women, there is a ticking clock. Not all of us humans are afforded the benefit of being filled with sperm that can fertilize an egg until nearly the day you die (or even after death if you buy into Stephanie Meyer’s preposterous take on sparkling vampires). For women, our time to naturally conceive a child is finite. (And yes, I’ll probably be emphasizing naturally a lot because as well as realizing I would, in fact, like to have a child, I’d also like to have one naturally. No judgement to those that do, but I don’t want to be a woman in her 60’s going through IVF. No thanks!) Yes, there are some women out there popping out kids into their late 40’s/early 50’s (one woman even conceiving naturally at 59- with the help of estrogen. Oh, and let’s not forget about the woman who gave birth at 70 after IVF. Like I said earlier, nothing about this topic sounds great to me.) but, for most women, fertility begins to decline more rapidly after the age of 35 (or so Psychology of Human Sexuality 201 and about four hours of internet research and my OBGYN tell me). So excuse me, coworkers and other glib asshats of the world, but how can a single woman in her 30’s who might be interested in naturally conceiving a child NOT be on a one track mind at times?
Now look, I know there are plenty of guys out there in my position; single and getting to the age where they feel like they may need to start considering their options on having kids. And, I know there are a lot of married people in relationships who have to consider alternative methods for having a family. And people in same sex relationships who have just as much, if not more, as I do to think about when it comes to this subject. But, here’s the thing- I’m not speaking for them. This is my open letter, so I will gripe from my point of view only. The point of view of a single women in her 30’s who pretty much always imagined kids would eventually be a part of her life, but weren’t really something she needed to put a lot of thought into because haha, oh man, I’m totally still in my 20’s and I will meet someone I want to start a family with eventually and it’ll be no big deal!
But, suddenly I’m not in my 20’s anymore. I’m getting closer and closer to the rapidly declining fertility age and have little to no patience for people who make jokes out of my biological clock. Those jokes aren’t quite as funny to a person who has to sit down and have serious discussions with herself that includes topics like, ‘What if I don’t meet the person I want to start a family with until I’m in my 50s? Or later? Or never?’ and ‘If I don’t meet anyone by a certain age, should I try to have a child on my own?’ And other fun gems like, ‘What if my doctor is right and I have a difficult time conceiving naturally? Is that a disappointment I want to put myself through? Would I want to try hormones or IVF?‘ (Yes, as if I didn’t already have enough fun things to consider when broaching the topic of possibly having children.) This isn’t like debating whether or not to buy the super cute but maybe overpriced weekender bag I’ve been coveting online or whether I should just go ahead and let myself eat one more cookie. These things aren’t decisions that can be laughed off later like oh silly me buying bags online again! No. These are serious, potentially life altering decisions I have to sit down and start making in the next few years. And maybe a few years doesn’t seem so long in the grand scheme of things, but for someone who just felt like they were in their 20’s and now, oh shit, it’s like eight years later already, a few years to figure all of these things out in is not a lot of time at all. It is like a clock ticking away, it’s quiet, but it’s there lingering in the background. It’s there and it’s a little stressful and scary and overwhelming. So do a girl a favor and don’t belittle that clock with your flippant remarks.