On last night’s episode of New Girl when Jess’s newly-pregnant gynecologist friend informs her that something like 90% of your eggs are gone by the age of 30, I felt like someone had just punched me in the chest. It’s silly because I’m not even 30 yet, and I’m still not sure I even want to have kids, and let’s be honest, it might not be an accurate statistic–I didn’t bother to fact check because I kind of love the idea of getting all my reproductive health knowledge from primetime sitcoms–but still, it quite literally took my breath away. And herein lies the essential problem with being a woman in your late-twenties who is not quite ready to muscle screaming spawn out of her nether region: you are trapped in a dizzying dichotomy of being both deeply concerned about getting pregnant, and deeply concerned about not getting pregnant. My biological clock may be ticking, but I learned how to tune that out long ago. It’s the relentless countdown from all socio-cultural corners that refuses to be ignored. Not even FOX comedies are a safe space anymore!
I consider myself a pretty intelligent woman, but I guess it never really occurred to me that if you are in your late-twenties, in a stable, committed relationship, it inevitably doesn’t matter if you haven’t decided how to answer the will-you-won’t-you-and-when-if-you-do baby question just yet; nearly every decision will still undergo the what-if-baby? treatment. D and I are taking a good look at our budget this year and trying to figure out how much we should be putting into savings, and what to allocate yearly to my retirement planning. We aren’t saving for a future baby, but I guess we kind of are, because what if we have one and we didn’t bother to save up when we didn’t have one, will we be totally screwed? Right now we have two cars and I want to trade them both in and get a slightly larger, nicer car that will make traveling to see family, and going on camping trips more enjoyable. But as D reasonably pointed out, maybe we should wait a few years before we make the exchange, because if we have a baby we might want a bigger car and wouldn’t it be nice to have a new one then instead of one that we’ve already put a ton of miles on? Yes, I suppose that would be nice, in two years, four years, six years, never?
I don’t feel pressured to have kids, nor do I feel pressured to decide right here and now whether or not I will have them someday and when exactly someday will be. But I also feel like I don’t have the freedom to make other decisions in my life until I know my ultimate decision on this one nagging question. I don’t want kids right now, I know that much, but that only helps me plan for the present and I’m the sort of person who needs to map out her future. What if I wait too long and can’t have kids? Will future baby-wanting me horribly resent present not-baby-wanting me? Every time I feel like I’ve managed to put some space between myself and the baby question, something comes along to remind me that this is an issue that refuses to be ignored. I just wanted to relax with a glass of wine and watch New Girl, not contemplate all the choices I’ve made up to this point in my life and all the choices I have to make moving forward.
I had to pause the episode when she said that. 90% of your eggs are gone by 30. I actually had to pause it and catch my breath, and remind myself that I’m not 30 and it’s just TV, it’s not real life. It’s not my life. Not yet anyway. Not yet, but someday.