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Want, but cannot have.

Posted on 2008.05.22 at 14:14
I've always known that I've wanted kids, and that steady desire has always (I think) been a little higher than that of my peers. Because of the steadiness of that desire, I always suspected that I would never have that biological clock ticking moment that so many women talk about -- I always thought that my desire for children could never be more than it always was.

But boy, oh boy, was I wrong.

I see babies everywhere around me. I have friends, GOOD friends, being pregnant, being excited, being happy. Male friends, female friends, married friends, single friends, everywhere friends who are gearing up to have children. But not me, and not for a long time.

Competing with my desire for children are so many other things. Confusion about career is a big one -- I just started a job at a new company, and while the potential for my vertical ascent is quite high, right at this very moment, people with less work experience and education than me are in positions of greater seniority than me. That, to me, is a sign that I need to focus on career, IF I want a career which is fulfilling. I'm not the bright young star anymore -- I'm actually several years older than every single one of the new hires at my company. I'm still smart and hard working, but now, I've got to be even smarter and harder-working than usual, simply to make up for lost time.

Another source of confusion is my physical well-being. I'm not actually ill or anything... but I'm not a picture of glowing health, if you know what I mean. My gym habits have gone down the toilet. I've gained (gulp) 20 pounds in the last 2.5 years. I don't get enough sleep. And on and on and on -- nothing that is life-threatening, just quality-of-life-threatening. But years of being a preventive health nut means I can't ignore this stuff.

And finally, money. I've got lots of student loans to pay off. A husband to support. Retirement funds to build up from ground zero. And while I'm making about 3 times as much money as I ever had before.... I don't know. Money goes fast in the Bay Area. It would probably be going fast regardless of where I was.

So, yeah. The baby clock is ticking. But so are all sorts of other clocks. And instead of one of them drowning out all the others, it's just a mess in my brain. The desire for a baby does NOT cancel out the other desires I have, for health and career and money. And vice versa.

In conclusion, I probably won't be having a baby anytime soon, or a good career, or money, etc. That's what makes me sad these days.


changalicious at 2008-05-23 01:12 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it still absolutely sucks to be (or to aspire to be, med-school-eye-roll) a professional woman. I've seen some bloggers who call it whiny that people like me get miserable about the relative difficulty of having a child and advancing professionally, but I still don't like it...

My biological clock has been ticking for ages and ages...I am so jealous of my friends who are pregnant. But I don't even have a significant other OR a job that brings in money.

This is essentially a comment to commiserate, if that hadn't been abundantly clear. Also, I feel you on the statement about no longer being the bright young thing. I was always the youngest in my classes, and then I took a ton of years off before med school. Now I am the old grandmother. Very strange.

Anyway--I'm sorry, and good luck.
quirkybook at 2008-05-23 07:12 (UTC) (Link)
I absolutely don't think it's whiny to want the two things simultaneously.

And yeah, the "not being young" thing is hitting me kind of hard recently. I mean, I don't FEEL old. But I am surrounded by people who are all much younger than I am, and I feel like they are judging me for not being higher up in life, and it's all very disheartening.

(I have this one coworker in particular, who upon learning that I graduated college in 2000, actually stared at me gape-jawed for about a minute. I'm guessing she was surprised because she's 5 years younger than me, AND got hired at a higher position than me. I'm surprised too, lady. Sigh.)
kicking_k at 2008-05-26 20:01 (UTC) (Link)
More commiseration here.

I definitely thought that by now I'd be at a place in my life where we could at least consider having a baby (the answer might have been "not yet", but it would have been on the cards). But there's definitely too much going on.

I'll be finishing my degree for at least another year, and then... then it depends whether I decide to look for a fulltime job straightaway (maternity leave considerations) and on J's health. That's the kicker. We are both aware that unless he has a long period of being more stable, bringing a baby into the equation would be a bad idea. It took us long enough to decide that we could cope with guinea pigs, after all...

I do want children; but the idea of pregnancy scares me a lot (and we would never manage to fill the adoption requirements). If someone would get around to inventing the uterine replicator (à la Lois McMaster Bujold's science fiction) I would be much happier with the whole thing. Partly, yeah, because then the baby wouldn't be at the mercy of my physical health during the pregnancy.

That said, I think it's possible to improve one's health dramatically over a relatively short period. I've done it in the past. It rather depends what else is going on, though; you need to be able to concentrate on it!
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