Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Tick Tick Tick – The Baby Bomb

This came up in the comments the other day, and then again yesterday.  And it’s one of those evergreen topics.  At any given time you can find an article about it in one of the girly mags (this morning I found one in More).

Here’s yesterday comment to get us started,

I had to break up with my still-new girlfriend tonight essentially because I lied. Her profile had said she’s looking for someone who is ready to settle down, get married and have children. While I’m open to that, I also am recently divorced and am still very much in exploratory mode. Knowing that, I should never have contacted her in the first place. But I did, there was chemistry and we spent a lot of time together the last few weeks.

I really like her, but I don’t think I’ll fall in with her, and even if I did I know I’d be wondering “What if…” So I broke up with her tonight. To continue seeing here would be almost cruel.”

I know a few men who’ve been in his place (not about the lying, but the not wanting to date a woman who they like a lot but who desperately wants to settle down and have kids because they are not ready for that).  And one couple were together for over a year, who loved each other dearly (still do, but are now trying to find a way to love each other as friends only) because it became clear that the woman wanted kids and the guy didn’t.   And I know a couple of married women who married guys who couldn’t have kids (vasectomies from earlier marriages).  And even though these women had always dreamed of becoming moms they didn’t.  In both cases they could’ve done the reversal surgery or adopted but the guy didn’t want to.  In both cases the women say they are happy, and who am I to question that?

Love, , kids – it’s all pretty freaking complicated.  Lots of women choose to skip the love and and go straight for the kids.  Some people skip the love and marry because they want children, thinking that the better path.  And yes, there are people who marry because they love each other and have absolutely no desire to procreate.

But more to our point, today, sometimes people meet and they really like each other but because of where they are in life (nearing the end of their reproductive years) they realize that it’s not fair to either one of them to be together.

Where do I fit into this?

Well, as I’ve mentioned before, I have some issues.  I am relatively healthy as long as I see my doctor often, take care of myself and take a few handfuls of pills each day (I have no ‘issues’ that are contagious in any way).  As a self employed person in the US, I spend enough money on health insurance + medication and health services each year to purchase a new car. I found out, in my early 20s, that it would probably be difficult for me to have my own kids.  That it would take medical intervention.  I didn’t really think too much about it at the time because I was about to start grad school and then, after that, spend the next decade focused on my career.  But in my mid 30s I started to wonder.  I was in a relationship with a man I cared deeply about and I was at that age.  So I asked 2 of my doctors and from them I was given a scary (and conflicting, which made it even more scary) picture of what it might be like for me.  And I decided then, on my own, to take that option off the table.

I was 35 and decided that my body just wasn’t made for baby-making. Ever.

I have said, in the past, that for the right guy I would reconsider that.  But I haven’t yet.  And now that I am 39 I feel safe in saying it’s not going to happen.

And that decision came with a lot of . I do not date men who say, in their online profiles, that they want a family,   I’ve been out with guys I liked and then realized I had to stop seeing them as I listened to them talk about how much they want (I’m talking 4th or 5th date here, men who I was already growing attached to).

It’s one of the reasons I date so many single dads.  They are less likely to want me to have their babies.  They already have some.  Plus, I really do love children and wouldn’t mind being a stepmom one day.

The baby bomb goes both ways, you see.  Some people assume it’s all about women my age being desperate to reproduce.  But it’s so much more complicated than that.

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8 to “Tick Tick Tick – The Baby Bomb”

  1. LPS says:

    Definitely. Couldn’t agree more. I’ve never had any desire to reproduce. Not in my teens, not in my 20s and not now in my 30s. I know that will never change. And I do steer clear of guys who mention wanting kids. But a few blokes do say that as they think it’s one of the things to say to speed up the way to sex, I have noticed. You can tell when it’s not genuine. So I do quiz them on that point just in case they’re playing, which brings up other issues (grrr).

  2. drumdance says:

    As the quoted commenter, here’s a little more context. While I’d seen she was looking for a LT relationship, what I didn’t didn’t notice right away is the she wants kids and she’s pretty old to be having them. I don’t have a problem with that per se, but I won’t be ready for that for at least year and probably 3-4. However, she’s in her forties and the biological clock is ticking. If you do the math, she’s going to have to find a partner and get pregnant very soon. So I didn’t want her to waste her time.

    I could still have seen myself having a fun, fulfilling LT relationship with her, but the baby/biological clock factor made breaking up the only responsible choice IMO.

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  4. Honey Smith says:

    My boyfriend Jake and I do not want kids for a variety of reasons which are really no one’s business. But all everyone does (we are 30 and so at/approaching “that age,” if not already past it according to those of our friends who already have kids) is ask us why, why, why do we not want to have kids?

    Personally, I think that people who WANT kids should be the ones who have to justify their decision, since it is such a huge and important responsibility to be responsible for a developing person and all their needs, forever. I wouldn’t be as upset as I sometimes get if I felt like all the people who have kids had really thought about it beforehand, but I don’t think most people do.

  5. Simone Grant says:

    I’m smiling right now because it’s kinda funny how some men think that if they mention kids it’s an instant turn on for all women. Sheesh.
    I agree with you, it absolutely was the responsible choice. Which is why I was inspired to write this. I think it’s a complicated issue, one that is usually treated dismissively.
    -Honey Smith
    It is a ridiculous situation. One that I hope to see changing some day. I don’t know though, as far as we’ve come there’s a long way still to go.

  6. Quirkyeconomist says:

    Great post! I’ve never been particularly maternal and wasn’t one of those women who ‘always knew’ she wanted kids but I also didn’t want to say I NEVER want kids because I sort of thought that if I met the right guy, I might want HIS kids. Well, I’m now dating a guy who is a fantastic dad (seriously – his daughter is a REALLY great kid) and if I were ever going to want someone’s kids, I think it would be his – so the fact that I still have no interest tells me something. I definitely like the idea of being a step-mom (at least to his kid), and being an aunt to all my friends’ kids, and I’m thinking about working with foster kids (so no one can accuse me of ‘hating kids’), but it’s also kind of a relief to just accept that I don’t want kids so I’m not going to have them and THAT IS OK.

  7. Sexie Sadie says:

    It’s great to hear a woman’s perspective on this. I know several women who don’t want children, a couple who have gone so far as to have their tubes tied and another sterilization technique.

    And, it is, indeed, OK!


  8. onedatewonder says:

    Quirkyeconomist, you bring up a great point in passing. For background, let me say that for years I flat out didn’t want kids. Simply because I was married to a man with whom I would not consider raising a child. And for those years (and still, to be honest) I am told by my friends that I don’t like kids. This is a memo someone clearly forgot to send me. I like them just fine, I just didn’t want any of my own. And justifying that shouldn’t be necessary.

    For the record, when things were getting serious between the man who would end up being my second husband and I, we hit a make it or break it moment over kids. I said I didn’t want them. He said he did. I looked him in the eye and told him I wasn’t going to change my mind, so if this really was going to be a problem he needed to decide that now. Had he walked away at that point, I wouldn’t have faulted him one bit.