While I know that my life doesn’t have to follow some outdated and unrealistic timeline, I’m not sure if my ovaries got the message. I’m in my mid-30s and I feel like I no longer have the luxury of putting off having kids until later. It’s now or never and I’m still not sure what I want to do.
I thought I had more time. When you’re a kid, making completely unrealistic fantasy timelines is just something you do. I was going to be famous, successful, and married to Leo DiCaprio before my 28th birthday. Needless to say, that didn’t pan out. I figured I had time to live in the fantasy, that I could get real and make big life decisions later. But later is actually now and I’m still not ready.
I’m not as successful as I thought I’d be at this age. Remember the early aughts, when our pre-recession minds could dream about having a career straight out of college that paid well and satisfied our need to contribute to society in a thoughtful, supportive, worthwhile way? Not so much the case nowadays. I know it’s weird, but I have this crazy notion that I’d like to feel fulfilled in my life before I bring another life into this world, but what the hell do I know?
I feel younger than I am. And I know it can’t just be my youthful Asian genes and (mostly) wrinkle-free face. I still see myself as on the verge, though the verge of what I have no idea. I’m haunted by the feeling that most people my age are homeowning, childbearing, 401k contributing, prime time adults. I’m a thirtysomething creative who doesn’t quite have it all figured out yet. I can’t help feeling like in 2018, my story is a better representation of what’s really happening, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
I’ve only just found the right person. Call me a late bloomer, call me awkward, but it took me a long time to find the type of person I would even consider entertaining the thought of making a human with. We’re still in the “let’s travel the world together” phase of our relationship and part of me feels like I’m not ready to give all that up just yet. I met my person later in life, which leaves less time before the “do we want it to be just us” talk rears its ugly (albeit necessary) head.
Kids are hella expensive. I’m still living in student loan debt hell and I don’t see myself emerging from the depths any time soon. How can I support another person when I can barely support myself? I saw how hard it was for my parents to raise three kids working side gigs and graveyard shifts on top of their 9-to-5 jobs and I want to make sure that if I have a child, I’m able to give them the education and resources they need to be successful in life.
I’m feeling pressure from my parents and his. Before now, I’d only seen this in movies: the subtle hints, the passive aggressive comments, starting sentences with, “When you have a baby…” It really does happen in real life and it’s happening to me right now. Both my parents and my boyfriend’s parents want us to have a baby and they’ve started making it abundantly clear. I get it—they want us to experience the joy of having a child, they’d all make amazing grandparents, and we’d basically have built-in daycare. I just can’t base a decision of this magnitude on what other people want.
All of our friends are having kids. I feel like every time I’m at an outing, texting with a friend, or even casually checking my friggin’ Facebook, someone else is announcing yet another pregnancy. It’s hard not to feel like an outsider when your friends are celebrating baby number two and you’re still having your parents pay your car insurance.
Would I even be a good parent? I’m selfish, I sleep a lot, and stupid things still make me grumpy. But I do like kids and I did a TON of babysitting when I was young. These are the irrational thoughts that swim through my brain when I try to wrap my head around what it would actually be like to have a baby. Maybe I should start with a dog first…
I don’t want to have any regrets. That’s what this is really about, right? Missing out on one of the biggest decisions anyone makes in their entire life? Bringing another person into this world and raising them to be a thoughtful, smart, kind person who enriches your life and the lives of others in ways you never thought possible. Are financial freedom and lazy Sundays worth giving all that up? For some people it is and that’s OK, but that’s what we’re trying to figure out here. Are we okay with just us?
If not now, when? Honestly, is anyone ever really ready for something like this? If we all waited for every aspect of our life to be perfect before we made any decisions, we’d never do anything and that would be totally lame. I wish I could just go for it but I’m not that impulsive (or dumb).