The biological deadline

Once again I find that being a young woman has its disadvantages.

I feel like I’ve been given a very small window to accomplish everything that I need to- if I want to have children. And I do. But not yet. For all the non-breeders, I can truly appreciate why you chose not to have children and I envy that you are not limited to what I am about to discuss.

Men have all the time in the world to go to school, get their careers off the ground and then start a family. I am not discounting all the loving men and husbands that are standing by their women as they make these decisions when the biological clock gets forced on you. But they can delay procreation for as long as they want. I’m sure the quality of their sperm deteriorates as they age, but not like a women’s eggs. Men continually produce sperm (sometimes at an alarming rate.)

Girls are born with all of the eggs they will ever have, and after the age of 30 the health of these eggs rapidly declines and the risks of birth defects and abnormalities sky-rocket, and fertility drops drastically. We can thank growth hormones and all the crap in our food and environment for that, those eggs are exposed to all kinds of stuff over their lifetime. So if you can, use them earlier rather than later.

So let’s say 30 is the magic number to start trying for a baby. What do I need to accomplish before I will even consider having a child? A lot. It keeps me awake at night.

I feel a lot of fucking pressure these days. I’m 26 and I want to go back to school because it turns out Tourism Management was a terrible choice for me.  Going back to school is a difficult decision; if I choose a degree program, that is four years of income that I am not earning, and I’ll be graduating when I’m 30/31. Then I’ll need to go back to work to get my career off the ground and earn some money. So that puts me in my mid to late thirties before I can even start to try to have a family. And it might take a while to get pregnant, if it happens at all. Yes I know that all the yuppies who put their career first are waiting for their mid thirties and early forties when they are more established to start families, but they are struggling with infertility. I don’t want to take those risks and I don’t want to be an old parent. My mom had me young and I can say that I got the best years of her life. She waited another 12.5 years to produce another child, and although she’s a damn fine mom to my little sister, she’s not as agile and energetic as she used to be and she’s had to come to terms with it. She compensates by having more wisdom, knowledge, and foresight; qualities that she has perfected with my sister.

My husband and I are struggling with what to do. I’m a late starter, I really needed time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and now I feel like it’s too late to go back to school, have a career, and have a family. The thing is, I’M 26 FOR FUCK SAKES! I AM FUCKING YOUNG BUT I’VE GOT A MAJOR DEADLINE TO GET MY LIFE IN ORDER. Why do we have such a small window to accomplish everything? That window is not very long, considering I plan to live well into my 90’s. Why does everything need to get sorted between the ages of 18-40? I’m angry about this, and I want to stomp my feet and scream at the world. We have looked at all scenarios: do I have the first baby now, then go back to school? Do I go back to school, start my career, then have a baby? Do I say forget school and limp along in life and then have a baby and never be satisfied? Do we just not have children at all?

I know it is possible. One of my family members had two babies while she was in university. Not one, but two. Her and her husband rigged up the most amazing childcare/school/work/EI combo that there ever was. When the babies were small enough, she took them to class with her. When they got bigger, he took parental leave and she went to school full-time and worked at a grocery store to supplement his EI. She would stay home in the summer and look after the babies and he’d go back to work.

No matter what decisions we make, we’re going to struggle with it. Something is going to have to give. No matter how much I pray, “Dear God, more time! More time!” We’ve got to make a decision and make one fast, the clock is ticking. The most I am willing to wait before procuring my first child is five years.

I’m annoyed that all of my major decisions need to be made in the first 1/3 of my life.

*I’d like to give a shout out to my little sister who is just dying for me to make her an aunt.  If that condom breaks, you better say your prayers. I’m coming after you.