The Ticking Clock

I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t do the whole “oops, I’m pregnant” thing. I watched plenty of my friends from sophomore year of high school on into my 20s (and, bafflingly, my 30s) enjoy the fruits of the pull-out method: their lives forever bound to a guy who wasn’t responsible enough for a condom, let alone child support payments or positively influencing their offspring. Sure, my friends loved their babies enough to pretend they had no regrets, but I saw the drama unfold as young loser boyfriends turned into older, more advanced losers; saw them sacrifice their dreams and ambitions so they could make up for their shitty co-parent and provide everything their child needed.

Don’t get me wrong, I dated losers too. If anything, being responsible about birth control emboldened me to be even more irresponsible with my partner choices. The benefit, however, was that I got to leave them all behind.

So here I am, 37 years old, no baggage. I’m madly in love with and married to this man who brings out the best in me. We’re financially stable, emotionally stable, love kids. It’s the perfect time for babies. But, there’s a catch: it might be too late.

It also might not be, but the possibility looms, vividly real and impenetrably dark. We’ve been trying (like bunnies) for over a year now, and no adorable little dice. I ask and answer the question over and over: could I be happy with a childless future? I’m childless now, and very happy, but I’ve always treasured this vision of myself as a mother and wrapped my plans around it. It’s a dream that’s a part of who I am… would putting it permanently in the grave break my heart or set me free? It cycles through the back of my mind like a second hand ticking laps around the minutes and hours.

I promise myself that if it is too late I’ll just process it and adapt—choose to foster my creative fertility, use all the extra money to travel and stimulate my mind. I could enjoy an easier life with my wonderful man, and just let go of this path untraveled like all the other things I never did. I have a pretty high degree of power over my emotional perspective at this point in my life (a converse benefit of being this age).

Sometimes I look back on my fertile years, at the choice I might have been making between having a baby with the wrong guy, or having no baby with the right guy… If it was indeed such an absolute choice, I’m glad I have Dain. Call me selfish, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

The funny thing about the right guy, though—he wasn’t always the right guy. If I had met him during my prime breeding years, I would’ve met a punk guitarist who got blackout drunk and ate canned pancake batter out of a dumpster to make his friends laugh. He would’ve met a barefoot hippie with stinky armpits and trouble committing to anything. We both became capable of happiness, and became right for each other, through a lot of misadventure and reflection; moved in intersecting circles for years, and then, one day, we met.

My fertility might be a ticking clock, but my whole life has been turning gears that clicked in place with his when the right pieces aligned. It happened when it was supposed to happen, and maybe that’s true of all things.   

In the meantime, we finally took the plunge and met with a fertility specialist. We might be able to do this, but only time will tell.

Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.