In a few days I will turn 39. From there, it's a fast train to the 40s ... but for now, I'm still 38 and having drinks with a girlfriend in a crowded midtown bar in New York City. We need to discuss work strategies, but find ourselves going from serious discussions on how to disrupt the water cooler politics to admiring each other's outfits and sharing tips on where to shop.
We are having fun decompressing after a long week ... until she stops and asks me, "When are you going to have children? Do you want them?"
She does not ask, "Do you and your husband want them?" She is asking me.
It is not the first time someone has posed this question to me; it's recently become a sort of mantra for well-meaning friends and family members. I have been married for four years, and it seems everyone around me has had or is having children. As for me, I'm still thinking the choice over.
Many, I imagine, would see me as a "very busy" professional woman who spends most of her life traveling across the world, juggling multiple roles. The meaning behind their question, I suspect, is that because I play many so-called "high profile" roles at work that "mother" is not a role I want. But as a progressive alpha woman, I think I could take that one on, too.
Since the day I got married, a few women I consider role models -- including the founder of this great news outlet -- have been encouraging me to embrace the "unique experience" of motherhood with more or less convincing arguments like, "It is for you." Some of the bolder women have approached my husband, telling him, "You have to do it for her." I've even had men ask me about it.
Another type of woman, seeing me, I suspect, as a threat to their tribe, tells me to my face that she wonders why I have to work and why I'm not focusing my energy on my husband, our house and the children. A few who have given up their careers to become parents have made it their personal mission to remind me constantly how I will never understand them because I am not a mother and how much more difficult/busy their life is now that they have to raise children than when they worked.
But I refuse to be pressured into motherhood. My biological clock has never really ticked loudly in my head. My idea of a midlife crisis is more along the lines of buying a new sports car than being the wife who begs her husband to give her sperm or buys it from a stranger to fulfill a pre-ordained biological and societal role.
Yet I do appreciate motherhood and see it as a unique experience, surely a milestone of womanhood and a crucial phase in a woman's physical and psychological development.
That said, in my imagination, I always thought having a biological child or adopting one would equally fulfill the mother in me.
Or at least that is what I thought until a few weeks ago.
Blame it on the drinks, a certain itching for change as my 39th birthday was approaching or my pragmatic friend and confidante that night in midtown, but I found myself with an April appointment with a famous yet discreet doctor at a Manhattan fertility clinic.
As the date approached, I refreshed my basic understanding of the different options:
- I could go the full length with IVF
- I could have an affair
- I could find a donor
- I could first of all find out where I was in my fertility parableSTORY? and eventually freeze a few eggs
The first option -- freezing my embryo -- [was somehow going]SOMEHOW WENT against my religious upbringing.
The second one, although way more fun in theory, was also not in line with my faith and seemed like too much of a soap opera move.
The third one sounded less appealing than adoption and [was]DELETE probably WOULD not acceptable to my husband.
The fourth, considering Easter was approaching, appeared more appropriate, and after running a complex SWOT analysis, became my choice.
To be continued...