I can say with confidence that I'm a modern woman. I'm self-reliant, independent, highly educated and confident in myself. I've never felt that I needed to date someone in order to feel complete as a person. When I was single, I was comfortable being single - that's not to say I wasn't looking forward to meeting someone and falling in love - just that I didn't feel somehow empty or "less than" as a person or woman because I didn't have a significant other.
Being a woman in New York, we're used to pushing ourselves personally and professionally to attain our goals. We don't wait for anyone to pave the road for us, we make our own way and forge ahead. I'm proud of that and I love that about us as females in the Concrete Jungle.
So why, as I'm nearing the end of my twenties, am I suddenly feeling like time is of the essence and my biological clock is suddenly an area of concern? It's like I'm walking through a Salvador Dalí painting, surrounded by huge melting clocks, and they all symbolize my uterus.
Part of me wants to just say "screw that!" I don't need to conform to any societal standards. However, a larger part of me knows that science and facts say that the safest and healthiest time for me to bare children now has a diminishing time frame over the next five or six years. It's easy to just "pfft" that away and say five years is plenty of time, but when you get down to the specifics, it's not really.
First, I'd like to get married. Perhaps that's not important to everyone, which is cool, but it's important to me. And before getting married, I have to get engaged…. Which is obviously the most immediate hurdle since - and this is awkward - my partner has yet to pop the question (even though we've discussed it and know it'll eventually happen, I'm still sitting here like "BUT WHEN?!").
So then, once we're engaged, it'll probably take around a year to plan the wedding - and then I'd like to be married for a couple years before having kids. By then I'll be well into my early thirties and time is dwindling and when did I become this person who cares about this stuff and is now racing against the biological clock?
I don't want to be like this. I want to be able to take our time and savor each of these milestones. I don't want to pressure my partner to propose before the time is right. Am I ready to be married? Yes, I'm comfortable with that, but it's important that my partner feel that he's ready, too - and it's neither fair nor right of me to push him before he is. I just can't help but feel I'm fighting a battle I didn't think I would be in to begin with.
While I know more and more women aren't having kids until their thirties, I'm also aware that the health factors are more prominent, and bouncing back post-pregnancy can also be more challenging for some (statistically speaking). Sure, I could freeze my eggs and all that, but (a), that's expensive, and (b), I don't want to. Also, and please don't judge me for this because I'm already judging myself, I don't want to be an old mom.
There I said it. Sure, age is just a number, and you're only as old as you feel, and blah blah blah; but whatever, I want to be a cool young mom, dammit.
Every time I go on social media, I see friends and acquaintances getting engaged, married, popping out babies, and celebrating their kids' birthdays. While I know I chose a different path - the way of the struggling artist - I lately can't help but feel a pull and desire to share those personal milestones, too.
I'm excited to be a mother one day and I look forward to it. Does that mean I'm ready to have a kid right this second? Absolutely not. But it's also terrifying to know (and feel) that there's a timer on how much longer I can take to be ready and get to that point.
Honestly, I don't have answers here. I'm not sure how to reconcile this. All I know is that as strong and independent as I am, I also crave the cultural norms of marriage and raising children. Please don't mistake that as I want to get married and have kids because that's what everyone else is doing. I want this for myself and myself only, because I've found my partner in this world and want to share these things with him. It's more of the sudden realization that there may be a time constriction on these things.
So what now? I'm just taking things one day at a time, and also appreciating getting to spend those days with my love. Professionally, I'm still going strong on my path as an artist, and pursuing my dream. As for the biological clock? Well, it's still ticking, but I'm taking off my watch and hoping, perhaps blindly, that it'll all work itself out. Maybe that's a naive or dreamy answer, but it's all I've got. And hey, isn't that how all of us strong women in the city work anyway? We keep pushing and we don't give up on our goals and dreams, no matter what anyone says. Even our ovaries.