I was recently interviewed for an article on egg freezing, and the woman doing the interview asked me when and if I would be willing to give up on my little ‘project.’ By project, I assumed she meant motherhood. I hadn’t been asked that question and it caught me off guard. I’m not even sure how I answered it – I guess I’ll find out when the piece airs – but this is how I would answer it having had a few days to mull it over.
I assumed that by the ripe old age of 36, I would have figured a few things out. But the truth is, I’m less sure of what life holds for me than ever. Will I live in NYC for the rest of my life? Will I ever re-marry? Who am I and what the hell am I doing with my life? The list of questions swirls on and on (unfortunately, usually at night when I’m desperately trying to sleep).
But even with all that uncertainty, the one thing I am sure of is that I want to be a mom. In fact, it’s the only conviction I really have. And increasingly, I’ve been thinking about going at it alone.
Two years ago, I never would have said that. I always thought about having babies in the context of a ‘family,’ and for me that meant me + handsome husband + NYC apartment version of the white picket fence (in a good school district) + babies. And if that didn’t happen, I assumed I wouldn’t want children. After all, what sane person wants to go into parenthood alone?
Apparently, quite a few. According the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of single women having babies in their 40’s was up 29% from just five years prior, which is significant because single motherhood in all other age groups has steadily declined. So obviously, it’s more and more acceptable, but does that make the decision easier? Not for me.
The romantic in me is still hoping for the version of happily ever after where I’m swept off my feet. The realist in me is realizing that being swept off my feet is the easy part – it’s the stuff that comes later that doesn’t seem to go well. So, I’m considering plan b: baby + me.
On the upside, if I decide to do it alone, I can just do it – no more waiting and wondering if it will ever happen. I’d just make it happen. It would be my way all the way, and I would be that baby’s everything. And perhaps most exciting: I get to pick the specimen to my specs exactly. One vial of handsome, athletic, ivy league baby batter to go please!
On the other hand, I would be that baby’s sole emotional and financial provider. I would be doing all of the taking care of, while nobody would be taking care of me. The needy princess in me doesn’t like that version of life at all.
I’m clearly not ready to jump into single motherhood. While freezing my eggs has bought me a bit of time, and I have a sense of assurance having 28 healthy eggs chilling on ice while I figure shit out, it hasn’t made me not want the things I’ve always wanted: my version of a family that includes me + handsome husband + NYC apartment version of the white picket fence (in a good school district) + babies.
Call me old fashioned, but that’s still the dream. And if that dream doesn’t happen, the good news is that I have viable plan b. So no, there is no point in time when I will abandon my ‘project.’ I’m just not sure at what point I’ll decide to do it alone, or what the project plan looks like yet.
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