The closer I get to my thirtieth birthday, the more I feel the pressure, both internal and external, to consider freezing my eggs. It’s something my early twentysomething self never thought would be a concern, yet here I am!
Time passes quicker than you think. My early twenties passed ridiculously quickly. In the blink of an eye, I’m now closer to turning thirty, and that means something different entirely. All of a sudden, you’re expected to have your life together, a secure job, a savings account, and a home that you own instead of rent. I’ve always been a planner, so I’ve spent the best part of my late twenties worrying that I haven’t planned enough for my journey into the next decade when I should be enjoying what’s left of my carefree lifestyle.
I want to be married before I become a mom. I was raised in a very traditional and religious home. While by today’s standards, having a baby out of wedlock is considered very normal, it still feels very alien to me. It’s not just that I know it’s what my parents want for me, it’s what I want for me. This dealbreaker has become an emotional issue in my five-year relationship, thanks in part to my boyfriend’s upbringing, where getting married is something you do when your kids are grown and can actually attend your wedding. While I can see that’s a nice touch, it’s not for me and it’s a harsh border. The idea that he might not be ready for who knows how many years, terrifies me to my very core. What if my ovaries have checked out by then?
I can’t start again. Not only am I a planner, I’m a realist. My boyfriend and I are very much in love, but as we were raised in such different ways, we differ on so many important points, not just marriage. The cynical side of me truly believes that sometimes love isn’t enough. Should that be the case for us, whether that’s in six months or six years time, I know I can’t just start again in the dating game. After getting my heart broken more times than I can count, I won’t want to do it again. Enough is enough, and I know that having a partner will become something I no longer care about. Having a baby, on the other hand, is something I would feel cheated by life on if I never experienced.
People are rude. I’m sure they don’t mean to be, but I’m really sick and tired of people asking me when I’m going to get married and when I’m going to start having babies. They think it’s just a general topic of conversation, but in reality, it’s really personal and I shouldn’t have to explain myself to the random woman at the bus stop or the friend of my friend’s aunt who doesn’t really care. All of this just adds extra pressure and the idea of freezing my eggs seems more and more appealing.
I know very little about my fertility. I’m an only child. My mom has always said that she only wanted one kid and I was perfect, so she never felt the need to have another baby. It’s such a lovely sentiment, but as I get older, I’m starting to wonder how much truth there is in that. I’m certain that even if I asked her to be frank with me about the story of my conception, she’d stick to the line that I was all she wanted—no more, no less. I have no sisters to gain an insight into my own fertility, but I do know that my mom and her sister (who struggled to get pregnant) went through the menopause early in their forties.
Everyone I know is having a baby. I know I’m not supposed to compare my journey with anyone else’s, but that’s very hard for me to put into practice. It feels like everyone my age is already married and having their second or even third baby. It’s true they haven’t focused as much on their career and travel as I have, but that doesn’t seem to ease my internal worries about fertility and the fact that one day I could find myself barren.
I don’t know when I’ll be ready to be a mom. As much as I now know that I want to be a mom, I’m not financially or emotionally ready right this second. My boyfriend and I are both expats in France with our families back in Ireland. I want my kids to be raised in France, he wants them to be raised in Ireland, and then there’s the guilt from my parents who have explicitly stated that they’d be devastated to only see their grandchildren two or three times a year. Having a baby isn’t just about me and what I want, it’s about what my partner wants, what our parents want, and ultimately what would be best for the kids. There’s a lot to think about.
I might want them later on. Even if all goes to plan—I get married, have high fertility levels, and sort through the logistics—this might not be enough time to have the magic number of three children that I want. I might have one baby and suddenly find myself going through menopause. I loved growing up as an only child, but as I get older, I find myself genuinely longing for a sibling. There’s a definite emptiness that I can’t fill. There’s nobody else to take the heat off me, nobody else to console my parents since I left the country, and there’s nobody else to help look after my parents as they only get older and less able. I wouldn’t want to put that heavy weight on my child’s shoulders, so having at least two children is extremely important to me.
Because I can. At the end of the day, it’s that simple. In my parents’ generation, if you couldn’t conceive and adoption wasn’t an option, there wasn’t very much else you could do. The fact that we live in a world where freezing my eggs is a very real possibility means it feels foolish not to make use of such an amazing opportunity.
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