How do you date when you’re 34 and you know you want children? Not when you have the feeling of ‘well, if I find the right guy and the timing lines up,’ but the unexplainable feeling deep in your gut that motherhood is a life experience that is a very much a part of you, even if you haven’t gotten close to experiencing it. Well, I’m 34, I know I want children, and I can tell you it’s tough.
It’s tough to keep this deep desire hidden, closeted away because you know that rationally, it’s weird/awkward/too soon and quite frankly, somewhat unfair, to bring up kids and family in the first six months of a new relationship. That’s a huge question to bring to the table when you’re just starting to get to know someone. Obviously, the very basic question of if you both want to marry and have children should be addressed. But you can’t quite talk about it at length without feeling like an intense weirdo. At least I can’t.
So how can you let the natural evolution of getting to know someone happen? How can you just play it cool? Is there even a point to playing it cool?
A few of my close friends have children or are pregnant, and for so long, our life paths were linked up – we could commiserate when we hated our jobs, or celebrate when one of us got engaged – but now, things have shifted in a big way. I can’t understand what it’s like to be married for a few years and perhaps hit a snag, or what it’s like to experience that fugue state, first year of new motherhood.
Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong – how did I get to be 34 and so close to that danger zone when I know I want children? Thirty-seven is when fertility seems to decline in a major way (according to a good old Google search). Okay, let me be honest with myself. I do know what happened. I was in a six year long relationship and I let time slide, not quite realizing how all that time spent would affect my life down the line.
While people say “You have time!,” they don’t really get it. Sure, I have time to have a baby, but there’s all that other stuff that comes before baby – getting to know someone, letting your relationship evolve and finally getting to that point. And then, you hopefully want a year or two of experiencing married life without a new baby…so no, there isn’t time.
So, what does one do? All I know is that motherhood will be a part of my life. And if I don’t make it naturally in time, there are other options. Adopting and fostering are the two that come to mind.
I think about the idea of motherhood as a concept a lot lately. It can mean a lot of different things that aren’t conventional. It’s about taking care of someone – imparting knowledge, helping bring someone to their highest potential. And there’s a lot of ways to do that.