The biological time bomb.

When I was younger, I didn’t believe in a biological clock. It seemed incredible that I would ever desperately want children.

Don’t get me wrong – I think I’ve always expected that at some point in the future I’d probably have kids, but I never actively desired them. And in many ways, I still don’t. The idea of having kids is terrifying on quite a few levels, actually. For one thing, I think I’ve mentioned that I worry a lot. Having small humans to worry about would make me a neurotic wreck. For another, I have a weak stomach and kids do nasty things. And then there’s the fact that I have a hard time communicating with people under the age of seven.

So I was pretty shocked about a year and a half ago when my brain started ticking like a time bomb. This state gives new meaning to the phrase “of two minds.” My rational brain doesn’t want children;  it wants to continue living its current rock star lifestyle. Meanwhile, there’s this weird primal voice in my brain that’s just howling for children. I smack it down, but it has weird ways of fighting back. I get strangely emotional when I see baby clothes. Holding an infant sends me into a pheromone-induced haze. The only thing that snaps me out of it is a child howling.

None of this has been helped by the fact that my doctor told me last year that my childbearing days are trickling away. I was 31 at the time. I was celebrating the fact that my 30s were the new, improved 20s and this old guy was telling me that I have a dusty uterus!

Evolution is a bitch. But so is karma. Because I find that some people simply don’t believe in biological clocks. And men I’ve talked to – one of whom was a medical student – seem to believe that the biological clock is a social construct. Oh dear – I used to think that too.

In the meantime, two good things have come of this. The first is the realization that the biological clock will eventually go away. Either I will age out of it or I will have a kid. The second good thing? Thanks to my doctor’s remarks, I now have a great name for an all-female country-western band. Click below, on “continue reading,” for a look at our first album cover. (Apologies to those who don’t see a page break and are just getting an image.)

I was going to put this onto tee shirts but my husband seemed to think that might gross people out. I still might put it on tee shirts, actually. The jury's still out.

UPDATE: I did put it on tee shirts! Now you can tell the whole world how Dusti your uterus is. That is, if you feel like waltzing around with a womb on your chest, which sounds less like a tee shirt and more like a mutation. Here it is in all its glory.

11 thoughts on “The biological time bomb.

  1. I’m totally in that band. I was there when you invented it.

    Please, no pictures or autographs.

    But don’t forget to support our opening band, the Rusty Fallopes!

    • You totally are! It took me a while to find a musical direction for us, but I think mournful country-western ballads are most appropriate.

  2. I’ll be the crone singing back-up.

    On a more serious note (hah), I can tell you this about having a child: you’re right about the worrying, you’re right about the fact that there’s a certain “ick factor” related to infants, and you’re right about the difficulty of communicating with small children—who are not your own. I still worry and my little girl is 38. If I never have to change another diaper or deal with…well, nasty stuff, I will be perfectly content. Trying to talk to other people’s little kids who I don’t know is an exercise in frustration, but it’s less frustrating than trying to communicate with my own child during her adolescence.

    In my experience, being a mom didn’t change who I am, it made me who I am more intensely. And there’s this: life goes fast; I have no proof of this, but it seems that having a child makes it go faster. Plus, as a friend of mine so artfully put it, having a kid is like getting a tattoo on your face—in a distinctly un-rock star way.

    Whichever way you choose, there will be moments when you want to take back the decision. I’ll also tell you this: there’s no one in the world I love the way I love my daughter. Not much help, I’m sure.

  3. Hilts, you’re totally welcome to join the band. How are you with a tambourine? Can you shake it in air like you just don’t care?

    Thanks for your thoughts on motherhood. I’m sure being a mother would be rewarding in its own self-sacrificing way. But I think about that double-edged regret all the time – I can see myself regretting the decision not to have kids. But I can see myself – in a particularly unpleasant child-rearing moment – regretting the decision to have kids just as easily.

  4. I feel like I’m the only man at a NOW convention, but I just had to share my opinion–and it’s 4:10 and I need something to get me to 4:30 and out the office door. I like your posts. As for parenthood, if at the tender age of 23 I had thought of the practical consequences of having children — poverty, lost sleep, begging for sex, the worry, the whining — I’d have fewer grays, a smart-looking woman at my elbow and a convertible. Alas, I had raging hormones, my sperm could penetrate a catcher’s mitt and my ex was a fertile Myrtle. As a result I have three beautiful children, almost all grown. Despite the headache, despite the drudgery, despite the sacrifice of my own ambitions, it has been the most fulfilling experience of my life. No regrets here. Twenty-three years later, though, I myself would have serious reservations about bringing a child into this forbidding world. Go with your instinct. But realize too that the greatest pleasures — the greatest rewards — in life sometimes require a leap in the dark.

    • Hi Dave. (It took me a while to figure out which Dave you were otherwise I would have commented earlier.) Thanks for commenting and bringing a Y chromosome to this otherwise female comment thread.

      I appreciate your comment about the greatest pleasures in life requiring some of the greatest risks. And I agree.

      I guess what I’m shocked at is my body’s sudden take-no-prisoners reaction to the fact that I haven’t done my part to propagate the species. I feel a little betrayed by this little failsafe device that Mother Nature has built into me. Maybe that’s the way boys feel when they hit puberty and their hormones go nuts. Then again, I’d have no way of knowing.

  5. Yeah, there can be an ick factor in raising kids, but at least for me I got over it pretty fast – YMMV. And yeah, there are times when I kinda miss an uninterrupted night’s sleep, the (relative) need for responsibility, stuff like that, but – and please excuse the seeming descent into greeting card-esque sappiness here – those things tend to pale when I see my daughter breaking into a huge grin when I pick her up after getting home from work, or when I watch her learning how to do even the most basic of actions, or look into the bedroom to see her sleeping peacefully. It sounds trite, but I wouldn’t trade moments like that for anything.

    OK, Hallmark moment is over. Does your band need a bassist? I accept payment in money and/or beer.

  6. Hey Dan. First of all, Hallmark commercials made me cry even before my biological clock started acting up, so I think it’s sweet that just seeing your daughter smile makes up for the inconveniences and difficulties of parenting. Second of all, at the risk of sounding Internet-illiterate, what does YMMV mean? Third, yes – we can use a bassist, so long as you don’t mind being in an imaginary band.

    • First – it’s not just the smiles, though Maggie does have a very cute one.

      Second – YMMV stands for “Your mileage may vary”, i.e. your results may not be the same as mine.

      Third – hey, I’m already in one imaginary band… search for “Superfluous Moose” next time you’re on Facebook – so why not one more?

  7. Girl, you’re fine.
    I had my first kid at 35 and am hoping for another at 37. I do think your attitude that “time will tell” is the right one.
    I think everyone is different as far as how a kid will affect/complicate/improve their life.
    For me, working full time and having a kid has been awesome. My job is in perspective, I feel more motivated to work hard, and I rush to pick up the kid after work (sometimes after a quick workout since pregnancy and childbirth have wreaked havoc on my joints and I need to get my physical strength and balance back in order) with mostly pure happiness.
    I know very few people who regret having kids, and those people- I can really only think of one actually- had a messy marriage and substance addictions and a very hard childhood.
    Not that having a kid is easy- it’s a challenge in many ways. For me, my life felt sort of dull, and I knew I was ready for something new.
    Any way, good luck, and don’t sweat it!
    Oh also I knew I wanted a baby when I held an acquaintance’s week old baby and felt on fire. After that I told my husband I wanted I baby, he said the timing wasn’t great, I cried for a couple months, then he gave in and a year after I held that baby, I was holding my own.

  8. Pingback: Baby fever: it’s real, it’s weird, and it’s the reason I’m still awake. « The Garret

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