This may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me, it was entirely unexpected. Prior to August 5, 2010, I didn’t care whether or not I had children. I adamantly declared that fact for years – just ask my mom. Friends would tell me that my biological clock would kick in someday; I was convinced that I didn’t possess one.
My brother has always wanted to have a family, so I figured that he could have kids, and I would be the awesome aunt who got them cool gifts as she traveled around the world. It was going to be great.
It’s unclear to me why my biological clock decided to make its grand appearance as I was in the middle of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad breakup. Apparently my body didn’t get the memo that I wanted nothing to do with those of the XY chromosomes. I can’t recall exactly how it started, whether I woke up and went, “Ohmylord I want a baby!” or if it was my sudden, overwhelming desire to coo over photos of friends’ children. It was there, and it wasn’t going away.
It took some time, but I thought I’d tamed the beast. Sure, I still ooo and ahh over my friends’ kids. I love hanging out with my two-year-old pals, even when they want me to read the same book to them 27 times in a row. It melts my cold heart when I see attractive dads with their kids, and I wonder if I’ll ever find an awesome partner to co-parent with me. Still, I find that my biological clock, while it makes me a little sappier, is overall manageable.
Or at least, I did. And then I spent two weeks in England with my OddDaughter, B. She just turned one, and she. is. amazing.
You see those stacking cups in the photo above? I can’t tell you how many times I rebuilt that tower to see the great joy in her face when she knocked it down again. I read the same five or so books – her favorites – over, and over, and over again. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even finish them before she’d want me to start from the beginning. (One-year-olds, goodness. Talk about a crazy short attention span.) When her parents brought her downstairs in the morning, she’d come into the living room, beaming – especially the day that she put her toy train that plays music next to my head to wake me up.
I knew I was in trouble when I was willing to sing at least 20 verses of “Old MacDonald” to get her to stop crying in the car ride home one evening. For the love, that farm had a seal and a tyrannosaurus rex on it! I can’t describe the sheer joy of tiny hugs when I would pick her up, or glee over high fives. The day that I saw a photo that my friend had taken of the two of us about to go down a slide, I actually had to look away because it made my heart ache so much.
Apparently, my biological clock is actually a biological time bomb.
There are a lot of ways in which I’m not on the same track as many of my peers. I don’t own a home, nor do I want to. I quit a good job to travel around the world and settle in another country. I’m single and don’t have any marriage prospects. And you know what? I’m okay with all of those things.
This one, though – my desire to be a mother – gets to me. I think about the fact that I only have about ten good child-bearing years left in me. When will I be ready for this? (Yes, no one is every fully prepared, but as someone who’s traveling indefinitely at the moment, I want to be sure I can create a stable home.) With no long-term partners on the horizon, at what point do I need to consider asking a friend to co-parent with me? (I know that I don’t want to raise a child alone.) Even more difficult to ponder, what if I can’t conceive? Is adoption an option I’m willing to entertain?
I don’t know whether I’ll ever know the answers to any of those questions. What I do know is that these freaking hormones are no joke.