Seventeen or so ladies crammed together in a tiny San Francisco space drinking tea and crumpets, celebrating an upcoming birth. At the adorable baby shower I arrived late, and sat in the back with the older friends of my friend’s mother, who commented on how their group of daughter’s were not yet procreating despite being over 30. This woman was the first. They seem stunned when I noted many of my friends and acquaintances from back east were already on their second child.
I sat and ate my crumpets with organic jam, sipped my Darjeeling tea, and soothed a panic attack from claustrophobia and life-o-phobia with pastries and ice water. I texted my boyfriend: let’s have a baby, now, soon, I’m ready. I am ready. And I do want a kid. I really want to have kids.
A few years ago, I wasn’t sure. But now I’m sure. I’ve realized that the majority of my panic attacks lately are caused from the deep-rooted fear that I won’t be able to have children. Every year I put off procreating is another year when my chances are disintegrating. My doctor’s voice from age 15 repeats over and over in my head in response to my hormonal issues: “don’t worry, as long as you have kids by 30 you’ll be fine!” Well, crap, I’m 30.
Getting pregnant will be a challenge. I probably shouldn’t worry about that right now. I have to first move in with my boyfriend of eight years and then get engaged and married. Once all that’s taken care of I can worry about having kids, right? Only then I’ll be 32 or 33. Biologically speaking, that’s getting up there from a child-bearing age (esp with my issues.) If I can have one then wonderful but I would like two minimum, and I assume that the second will be a greater challenge (and I won’t want to have a kid the second after I have my first one!)
I do need to start paying attention to this now because I have to focus on getting extremely healthy to give my body the best chance it has of having a kid. This means no refined carbs, daily exercise, and all the things I should be doing anyway. My boyfriend is committed to helping me eat healthy when we move in together. The byproduct of weight loss and hopefully looking a babe for my wedding will be more than welcome.
That said, what concerns me most of all is knowing that when it comes time to start trying to have a kid, I’ll need time to go to the doctor and get a variety of infertility treatments. How does anyone find time to do this with work? My new job has a no-policy vacation policy, where basically they don’t have any paid time off but you can request time off as needed. I don’t need the time off today but in 3 years I might. Hopefully by then the organization will be a bit more settled and taking a few hours off to go to the doctor every week (or however often one has to go when dealing with such things) won’t be a huge deal. I don’t know how anyone has the time to deal with infertility therapy while also working a full time job – and then, if it actually works, you have to deal with working full time with months of morning sickness.
Yes, women do this all the time… they work and they go to the doctor if they have trouble getting pregnant and then they survive feeling sick through the first few months of pregnancy, but how often do they successfully do this in a startup environment? I’m not clear. That said, I have to approach my job now hoping that I will be able to obtain enough leverage by helping the company succeed, or also accepting that I may need to look for a more flexible work environment three years down the road. That’s a long time, but it isn’t a long time at all…