Best Of: Who’s Keeping Time
With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, we were reminded of this story on not being a mother by choice. It’s been a favorite of ours and joins the ranks of “Best Of”.
I’ve been told time and time again, through news articles, TV shows, movies and personal conversations, of an internal biological clock, one that every woman has, and when it kicks in my ovaries will ache at the sight of a baby. I expected to wake up one day stomping my foot on the front porch like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny.
But, so far the only thing my ovaries have ached over is the monthly egg they release for no reason as I silently curse my fertility and every minor ache and pain it causes along the way.
This nagging “biological clock” thought has lived in the back of my brain questioning everything I know to be true about myself.
What if there really is a clock and mine just hasn’t started ticking?
What if I say I don’t want children and then this clock kicks in and I look like a chump?
Why hasn’t it kicked in yet…I’m 25…27…30…35…now 37?
If my clock never starts ticking does it mean I’m broken?
I’ve been asked why I don’t have children by friends, family, Mexican dishwashers at restaurants I’ve worked in, ex-bosses, and even strangers. At 37, I’ve embraced the fact that I don’t have a clock and I’m more than OK with that. But, I worry about this question for other women. What if they can’t have children? What if they’ve been on a long road to having a child and are having difficulties? What if they lost a child? Or more than one child? What a devastating question this can be to the wrong person.
I see the childfree community bragging about how they’d rather have money than children. Or, they’d rather be able to have their “freedom” and travel and be “selfish”. The funny memes usually do make me chuckle too (see below). But, those aren’t my reasons. It’s so much more than that to me. It has to do with my philosophy in life: Fuck yes or not at all. If I can’t say “fuck yes” in response to a situation then I shouldn’t do it…which I can’t do when it comes to children. So, it’s “not at all” for me.
I see people every day posting photos of their pregnancies and children and grandchildren and every one of them makes me smile. They are so unbelievably adorable. I love children and I love seeing people excited about having them. I love the sweet faces people make when they start to talk about their kids and I love the funny stories that follow. I’m so grateful there are people out there that are amazing parents and want to be a part of raising the next generation of human beings. I’m also so incredibly grateful for my own parents for wanting a family.
But, I’ve never been motherly. I’ve never mentally designed a nursery (and I’m a designer!) or picked out baby names. I don’t really enjoy baby showers. I can feel the pressure of being the only non-mom there. I don’t even like holding babies. They make me uncomfortable. I’m afraid I’ll drop them. I’m afraid they’ll start crying and I won’t know what to do. I’m afraid that gross projectile liquid will shoot out of any one of their orifices at any given moment. And, I really hate the comments that are made by others if I do happen to hold a child. Oh, she’s a natural. See, you need one for yourself. It’s not so bad. You’d be a great mom.
No. It’s a big fucking deal.
I know I am great with kids. Yes, you’re right, it’s not bad to hold a baby. Yes, I know I’d be a damn good mother if that’s what I decided to do. But, it’s not what I want.
I suppose I should just start answering that question with the ultimate mother comeback: