You can be in your early twenties though usually the questions start coming around your late twenties, early thirties. No matter the age, the question will come. Your friends will begin reproducing, then they might have another and eventually look at you while you hold your martini and ask, “So, are you next?”
In Europe children are expected much later in life. Most people don’t even get married until they are almost thirty or beyond. Most of my Spanish friends have just begun having kids and most have just turned thirty-one. My husband’s aunt has children when she was thirty-six, twin boys, and she’s doing just fine. She had her youth and was absolutely ready when the time came. Other friends, it came as a surprise but they are embracing it just as if it wasn’t. Some people just know it’s something they’ve always wanted.
This evening on the way home, I called my dearest friend Jessica who just returned from a year in Tokyo working as Ariel at Tokyo Disney Sea. Before that, she was a dancer on a luxury cruise ship and traveled around the world-twice. Not possible with a baby. When we had covered about every other life topic, we got to the “What’s your next step” part of the conversation. “Babies will come eventually” she said, “but not right now.” I echoed the same. Then I confessed that I wasn’t really sure. “Is it the pregnancy you are afraid of?” she wondered and I let her know that definitely didn’t make the decision easier. She ran through the options; adoption, surrogacy? Expensive and expensive though adoption is something I feel strongly about, I believe everyone should consider it and do it if they have the means and the desire. “I guess I like children but not after 5 on Monday through Friday or on the weekends. Hmmm….well, I can’t be a parent from 9-5 then turn down the lights and head to my carefree existence now, can I?
I’m stuck in the purgatory of indecision. I’ve always had a keen sense of judgment and a good-eye for thinking through situations. I have a knack for seeing different perspectives which can be helpful, but also drive me to overthink and over-analyze. In this scenario, I can see both choices laid out before me like the plot summary of a novel:
He holds his little boy’s hand as they walk along the shore. The family dog trailing behind with Cynthia gazing dreamily at the scene before her, one she never thought possible. Her husband picks up their son whose blonde curls and blue eyes shine as he screeches with laughter. He is four years old and her treasure with the best traits given to him from them both, emerging with each passing day. As they wander into a seaside cafe on the French Riviera, where they have a holiday home, she is grateful she made the choice to invite Jack into their world.
Cynthia books a trip to Hong Kong on a whim to surprise her husband over the Christmas holiday. With their friends celebrating with their own families, they are ditching the parties and heading out on an adventure. In their late thirties, they travel often but never to Asia and never for a month. As she begins to plan their stay, distraction settles in and she glances at a photo on the wall. It’s of their friends and their two children; a holiday card. They are both smiling broadly as the little boy rests on his shoulders and their new little girl is cradled in her mother’s arms. She sighs and though her life is everything she wanted it to be, wanders if maybe there’s something inside her that wishes she had that little boy her and her husband used to talk about having.
You see, what I go through? You get me, right? Both sound lovely and both are entirely possible. There’s no easy way to make a decision. I know I’m not going to come across new information that will make me say, “Oh, ok then. I know what to do.” I’m still young and I’m still able to weigh my options. I’m hoping that the desire will spark in me one day like it has in the many stories I’ve read about women in my same situation. I also wouldn’t mind if it clicked the other way and I was 100% certain it wasn’t for me.
Until then, I’m going to have another glass of wine and a good-night’s sleep.