Last Halloween I said I would dress up as a Maternal Clock. This was after dressing as “Always the Bridesmaid” last year (photo at link above), and an “Old Maid” the year before. Detect a theme here?
I try to make light out of whatever emotional state I might be in. It helps make it more tolerable. So, yes, most of my emotional energy over the last few years has been geared towards finding my future husband. As evidenced by this blog and my previous year’s costumes, I have been able to find some humor in this journey. The ridiculousness of online dating, the miscommunications with guys you just met, the commiseration with other women all going through the same thing. It’s so over-the-top sometimes that you have no choice but to laugh.
But as each year ticks by, I am finding that my sense of humor related to one aspect of “singleness” is quickly waning - Having A Baby. Actually, at this point I can pretty much say I find nothing funny about it at all. Last year I was able to turn being mistaken as the mother of my friend's baby as something worth a giggle. This year, I can guarantee you that the baby wouldn't be the only one ending up crying in public.
When I turned 35 last December it was like someone removed whatever cotton was in my ears that blocked me from hearing the medical term “Advanced Maternal Age.” Now it’s everywhere and I wince every time I hear it. Apparently once you hit 35, that is what you are in the eyes of the reproductive medical world - nothing but an aging babymaking machine that should probably be put out to pasture before it starts malfunctioning and creating babies with horrible genetic problems. (Is anyone else out there getting this message??)
Yet my clock still ticks -- faster and harder. But instead of having a family someday being a wonderful thing to look forward to, it is starting to feel more like outright panic.
And it doesn’t help that so many of my friends and family are expecting their first or even second babies over the next few months. At this very moment I have two baby blanket knitting projects in the works and, if I had more hands and a contingent of child laborers in my living room, I could conceivably be working on three more. And when I take my knitting in public, which I often do, it is inevitable that someone will ask, “Are you knitting that for yourself?” as they eye my belly trying to see if I’m pregnant. My heart sinks just a little when I have to tell them that no, it’s for a friend who’s expecting.
Of course I'm happy for my friends and can't wait to see them become mothers. That isn’t even an issue. But with every “I’m pregnant!” email, comes a pang of sadness and a little panic. When will it be my turn???
And of course Wine Guy doesn’t get it. If I show any emotional reaction to this kind of news, I can see he gets visibly upset. And not for the same reason – obviously. In one fight or another on the issue, he has told me that I’m bitter. I’m sorry but I am repulsed by that word. It implies that my hopeful desire to have a baby and a family is nothing more than negative emptiness. But isn’t that only the case if he doesn’t also want to have a baby at sometime in the near-ish future? Well, you see where my mind goes on that issue…hence the fight that quickly follows (he denies that by the way).
But I am not bitter. Perhaps I am envious of my friends. That’s not wrong to say is it? I’m happy for them and I want the same. What’s wrong with wanting?
And to be honest, if I were 26 years old, I would enjoy my baby fantasies and relish my freedom today. But I am not 26 and my Advanced Maternal Age will eventually become just Age. It’s not a matter of opinion or preference. And it’s not something I find particularly amusing.
Needless to say, I will not be donning a clever Maternal Clock costume for Halloween this year. Instead my costume brainstorming consisted of me simply looking around my living room until my eyes landed on the Lucky Cat perched on the shelf. And Wine Guy is dressing as the houseplant that sits next to it. It’s funny I guess in that our costumes are so mundane, so everyday. Just like life I suppose. But I’m trying really hard to maintain that sense of excited hope for what might come in the next few years – hopefully in the form of a baby. Advanced Maternal Age – could you back off just a little longer, please?