A funny thing happened on the way to our honeymoon.
I changed my facebook status from “engaged” to “married,” refreshed the page, and saw that all the wedding product ads had magically switched themselves to baby product ads.
It’s not quite true that the first question out of everyone’s mouth is “When are you starting a family?” That’s the second question. The first is either “How was the wedding” or “How’s married life?”
But it is a question that nobody fails to ask. (Unless you’re my mom, and so hungry for grandchildren that you’re terrified that asking will jinx the situation and you may have to get another dog before baby humans make their way into your life.)
And it’s a question that I still don’t have a good answer for.
I mean, my biological clock is certainly ticking – or at least I assume that’s what’s happening because the sight of babies now makes me go “aw” instead of “ew.”
But the overwhelming emotion in the face of contemplating joining the breeders of the world is still utter and abject terror.
I’ve been looking for a way to put it into words, but I think a commenter on amalah.com said it best:
But also, this really scares me. I’m a lawyer, fiance is a lawyer, we both work long hours, and no way we can work these hours once we decide to have kids. It’s clear I’ll be the one to cut back the most (although he’ll frankly have to as well, because seriously, we were both up until 4am working last night). Anyway, your comments about staying home and its effect on your opinion of yourself scare me. Your comments about feeling like you’re always working to meet deadlines but yet you feel like a drain on the finances scare me. Comments about it not occurring to him to put the kid to bed or brush the babies teeth scare me. And the 345 comments agreeing with you scare me. I don’t want to resent myself. Or my husband. I don’t want to feel like I can’t go to as many happy hours as him b/c what I do isn’t as important. But I look at you and everyone else and it seems like it’s simply inevitable? Scary.
Even though I never really thought I’d be the type to want to be a stay at home parent, it’s still not all that simple. My biggest fear comes from what will happen by default when we do reproduce, thanks to the fact that I’m the one in this relationship with the uterus.
The Cranky Product Manager summed it up pretty well:
You’ve been understanding about the CPM’s requirement for a reduced travel schedule, her need to leave at 5pm on the dot when she once regularly stayed past 9pm, and her need to work at home when her nanny gets sick, doesn’t show up, or quits out of the blue and leaves the CPM without viable alternative childcare for 3 weeks at a time. You’ve put up with canceled and postponed meetings due to illnesses and doctors visits. You’ve gracefully dealt with conference calls with a wailing baby in the background. Kudos to you, DysfunctoSoft. The Cranky Product Manager thanks you.
So yes, DysfunctoSoft, you are enlightened. Somewhat. But she can’t help but notice you don’t give the DADS the same flexibility as you afford moms. You expect the dads to travel incessantly, work endlessly late hours, and be available on a moment’s notice. And DysfunctoSoft is hardly atypical. For example, the Darling Husband of the Cranky Product Manager works at nearby software company — let’s call it AHoleSoft — in a similar role. AHoleSoft gives Darling Husband no slack to contribute to the childcare situation. (AHoles. What do you expect?) As a result, it all falls 100% on the Cranky Product Manager’s shoulders. And that is crap, my friends. Unexpected crap, at that. Especially for someone ambitious who had dreams of taking over the world with her wealth of product management knowledge and derivative evil genius. Though she never thought it would happen to her, the Cranky Product Manager finds her career derailing, unable to accept a promotion because she can barely keep up as is.
So I guess the answer is: yes, ideally I will have children someday. I’m pretty sure I would like it (and them).
But I’m not ready to lose the birth control until I figure out how not to lose my job, and more importantly, MYSELF in the process.