Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Advice for “30 and Childless” February 17, 2011

I came across this question on Yahoo Answers recently: “How rare is it to be childless at 30 years old?”

In my world, it’s not rare at all. Thinking back to when I was 30, very few of my friends had children. When I was 30, I wasn’t ready to have children, never mind the fact that I hadn’t found anyone responsible enough to have them with! So, my answer to this woman is, “Don’t worry about. Just live your life!”

And yet…

When I was 30 I had no idea that my fertility was already in decline, and I hadn’t yet seen the freefall that happens on the fertility rate chart when a woman hits 35. Given my own experience with trying to conceive in my 30’s, it makes me want to offer this woman some of my hard-earned wisdom.

But what would I tell her? Don’t wait too long? If you think you might want children someday, consider freezing your eggs now? Think about your long-term goals and priorities? Find a man and hurry up?

Blach! Of course not! When I was 30 I would have rolled my eyes at this advice, too – probably did, in fact. And who am I to tell this woman that life isn’t as straight-forward as it’s cracked up to be? Who am I to tell her she needs to hurry up and take on the responsibility of being a parent?

I was happy being childless when I was 30. I was unhappy being childless from 34 to 40, and now I’m looking at 41, I’m still childless, but you know what? I’m happy again. It’s called life and you can plan it until you’re blue in the face, but sometimes it just happens how it happens, and you find your way. So I won’t offer her any advice (especially as she didn’t ask for it) and I’ll just trust she’ll find her own way.

How about you? What would you tell this woman?

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The Ticking Clock November 30, 2010

I always expected to have children. I never had a burning desire that had to be kept under control by my logical self; I just had an expectation that one day I’d have kids.

Then I hit 30.

All of a sudden, the desire kicked in and I started shaping my life in preparation for having a family of my own. Once I met my husband (I was around 32) that desire burst into flames, and when I first realized I wasn’t going to get pregnant on-demand, the fire started raging out of control.

Now the fire is out again. I still love children, still go starry eyed at babies, but that desire to reproduce has been snuffed out. I don’t miss it, but it does make me wonder how much of the ticking clock is hormonal and how much is mental. How did I go from being nonchalant about having children to being insane with desire to genuinely stamping out that desire? Did my hormones just run their course or was it the act of convincing myself to give it up that brought the change? I’m leaning towards the latter, but it was the former that started it in the first place.

How about you? Did your clock ever start ticking or has it been ticking for years and won’t shut up? Is the desire to reproduce purely hormonal or do we control the desire. I’m interested to know how it felt for you and how you feel now.