I’m 32. I’m going to be 33 in a couple of months. Not every woman experiences the whole biological clock thing, I’m sure, but as I have sirens going off in my head every time I see a kid these days, I’m pretty sure mine is ticking. Loudly. Most of my friends have kids, and I think they’re all adorable and fascinating. I used to be kind of afraid of babies, but when my sister had my niece almost 7 years ago, I got over that because she was the first baby who was MINE in some way. I mean, clearly, she was my sister’s, but she belonged to me in some way that I’d never experienced before. I loved her, real love that only comes for people close to you. She’s a funny kid, and I love watching her grow up and watching her mind develop.
I married a man who has never wanted children, who still doesn’t want children, but who knew before I did that I would want at least one. He told me during the year we were engaged that he knew that I would want a kid someday, and he would never want one, and he was sure we would have one when I wanted a child more than he didn’t want one. He doesn’t hate kids; in fact, he’s really good with my niece. He taught her how to play Mario Kart; he plays games with her and talks to her and has finally started calling her “our niece.” He genuinely likes the kid. He just doesn’t want to live with one especially.
We’ve had one pregnancy “scare” during our marriage, one time when I thought my body was acting weird and in pregnant-indicating ways. I was sure with my head that I wasn’t – I was on birth control, after all – but people sometimes get pregnant even when they’re on birth control, and my body just didn’t feel right. David knew that I would fret and worry over it until we knew for sure, so we bought a home pregnancy test. It said no. We weren’t ready for a baby, not at all, but still I was a little disappointed. And David said that during the few hours between the time I told him about my concerns and the time I took the test, he was surprised at how not at all freaked out he had felt, considering the possibility.
We’ve been married 5 years now. Both sets of parents would love for us to have a kid – David’s in particular, because they don’t have any grandchildren at all. Clearly some part of me wants a baby, and David knows the day is coming. And yet…we still don’t. It’s all up to me, all I have to do is tell David it’s time, and he’ll shake his head and sigh and resign himself to it. So what’s my hang up? I have a bunch, actually.
First, we don’t have enough room here. We can’t afford to buy a new house, the chances of our selling this condo are slim to none in this market (and even if we could, we’d probably barely break even with what we owe on the place), and we just don’t have room for a kid here. Or maybe more accurately, we don’t have room for a kid and its stuff here. Where on earth would I put a crib? A stroller? Baby toys? We don’t have room to store the things that are already here, much less the multitude of crap that comes with a baby.
I’m also worried that I’m not patient enough. I certainly lose my patience with our dogs almost constantly. Just this morning, I was sitting on the couch, trying to eat my breakfast while checking my e-mail, and I threatened to murder the dogs at least 5 times in 30 minutes. Of course I didn’t mean it literally, but I was very frustrated with them and very impatient. I just wanted them to sit still and be quiet long enough for my brain to wake up peacefully, which of course they didn’t understand, and I yelled at them. Several times. What do you do with a baby who won’t stop crying? I feel like I’d have the same reaction, and nobody wants to be the mom who yells at her baby.
Finally, I’m terrified. Lack of patience aside, I’m not scared I’d be a bad mother – I’m pretty sure I would be a decent mom as things go. I’m afraid of losing myself. I’m afraid of losing my hobbies, of not getting to go to my book club anymore, of not getting to travel with my husband anymore, of not being able to sit and waste hours on Facebook and my RSS reader and play computer games and watch TV if that’s what I feel like doing. I’m terrified of losing the time and energy to do the stuff I want to do. I’m afraid of getting really fat because I won’t have the time or inclination to go to the gym – I already struggle with that, and I don’t have a child to care for. I’m scared of not getting enough sleep, because I’m a person who does not deal well with that.
I have friends who never want to have kids, and I totally respect their decision. I have friends who want to have kids as soon as humanly possible after they’re married, and I think that’s up to them and their spouse, though I’m certainly grateful for the alone time David and I have had so far in our marriage. And I have friends who want to have 5 or 6 kids, and I think they’re crazy, but whatever floats their boats. I have friends with kids who say they love their kids, but they’d recommend their childless pals stay that way. And I have friends with many babies who have never been happier and keep having and/or adopting more. But I feel like I’m in limbo somehow. I want to, every fiber of my being tells me I want to when I hold a darling chubby baby in my arms, but I also feel like I have several compelling reasons not to. Either way, I clearly can’t wait too long to decide; 33 is getting late-ish for a first baby.