At 34 years old I still don’t feel “ready” to have a kid. I always thought my biological clock would manifest as this intense urge to hold babies or an ache in my ovaries at the sight of every toddler I past. The truth is that it’s not that straight forward and instead what I’ve encountered is just one more giant case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
At my last birthday party nine of my friends were pregnant. As I quietly sipped on my third cocktail of the late morning, I found myself once again wondering if that was what I wanted. While all of these knocked up girls, with their bulging bellies and maxi dresses, looked like goddesses to me… the truth is never what it seems. Talk to any one of them and they’ll tell you about their swollen ankles, lack of sleep and the never before seen substances oozing from their various orifices. The one’s who’ve recently given birth may tell you about their relationship struggles, let you feel their rock hard breasts or talk about what’s left of their nether regions. This is in no way to undermine the amazing wonder of pregnancy, childhood or parenting in general, but rather to serve as a reminder that nothing is exactly what it seems.
The sad reality is that as women we’re raised to compare ourselves to each other and, more importantly and unfortunately, to focus on the negative. We wonder about all the things we’re not… why am I not married, pregnant, a mother, a boss? Social media serves as a constant reminder of all the things we haven’t done or achieved. It’s easy to forget the people looking at their own screen, scrolling though their phone and envying our freedom, the trips we take, restaurants we try or cars we drive.
There are so many unknowns in my life right now that I understand why many women struggle in their thirties. We feel under so much pressure to make decisions that I have to imagine I’m not alone in feeling still too “young”, ill prepared or unwilling to make. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am in my career but I still have years to go before I’d be ready to give “my kids” the kind of life my parents gave me.
I wish the best time to have a kid was in our mid-forties, but truthfully who knows if even then I’ll feel “ready”. I know I have a huge amount of love to give and feel certain I’d be an amazing mom, but I also want and need to accept the fact that if that doesn’t happen, my life will not be without meaning. I have lived and loved and traveled and tried and given and seen and chosen experiences over items. I’m sure that raising a kid is one of the most amazing things a person can have but it is so far from the only one and besides, I’ve never done anything because my friends are doing it… why start now? If I truly have FOMO I want it to be related to places I haven’t seen and not to doing something that may or may not be part of my “meant to be”.
If one day I wake up, overwhelmed with the desire to give the love in my heart to another human being, I know I’ll find a way. For right now, when that desire creeps into my already full existence I just have to stop and remind myself not to let the world around me dictate the path I end up on.