This post has been on my mind for awhile, but I haven't really had the time to sit down and work on it, while giving it the thought that it deserves. It's a sensitive subject, but hopefully writing this allows me to sift through some of the feelings I've been dealing with lately.
As everyone knows by now, Hank and I were recently married. And as the shortened saying usually goes.....first comes love, marriage, then baby carriage. It's like everyone expects that married couples automatically intend to have a baby, and the questions and pressure that come with it can often be exhausting (and frustrating, and irritating.)
Fact: I am 37 years of age. An age that is so lovingly stamped with the Advanced Maternal Age label when it comes to carrying babies. I realize that I am not getting any younger, and that with each passing month my eggs shrivel up and die. But I also know that I waited a long time (10 years to be exact) to find someone that I love enough to promise (really and truly) to spend the rest of my life with them. I would like to enjoy a little more time, just the two of us, before changing our lives completely.
Hank and I enjoy spending time together, and like any couple we have a list a mile long of things we want to do together. Traveling is at the top of that list, for sure. But we also enjoy our lazy Sunday mornings and the ability to pretty much do what we want, when we want. Our fur babies also keep us occupied and entertained, and that's enough for now.
Does that sound selfish? To some people it might. It feels a little bit selfish just writing it, but it's the honest truth. I realize how truly amazing and life changing having a child can be, but that doesn't make it the right choice for everyone.
Fact: Hank and I both love babies (and children) and the idea of having our own is certainly something that we talk about. I think we would both make terrific parents, and find a way to balance our relationship with the needs of another little human. Lucky for me my parents live right around the corner and are already terrific grandparents to my little niece Georgia. I'm sure they would be just as involved should we have a little one, allowing us some time together.
It seems like every other day I feel differently about the matter. Some days I will see a baby, or talk to my niece, or just feel the general pangs of "what if", and I think there is no doubt that we should give it a try. And then other days I think about my career path, or I read too much research about having children at my age, or see a child in a store with severe disabilities (true story) and think that there is too much risk in going down that road. It's scary any way that you look at it. (And don't even get me started on my sheer terror of actually being pregnant.)
But the bottom line is this- it's our choice. It's our choice to decide if, and when, and how. The assumptions and questions and pressure don't really make it any easier on me- like I should feel bad about myself if we end up choosing not to. In the end, it might not be our choice after all. Given my age and history with lupus, it might not be in the cards for us. But that is something we will have to deal with should we decide to go down that road. And I wish that society as a whole went a little easier on women when it comes to decisions like these. There's nothing wrong with people who decide to have a baby, and there should be nothing wrong with people who decide not to.
Surely I'm not the only woman who struggles with this topic. If you do, please, please feel free to share. I read so much about women being pregnant and thrilled and everything just seems so cheery and exciting. But there is another side to it, and I don't seem to find as many people willing to talk about it.