It’s funny how your opinion about stuff changes as you get older, isn’t it? Here’s another article I saw about a woman in her late 30s trying to find the husband she’s always dreamed of and, so far, failing. This particular woman explains how she found a man who was “perfect on paper” but left him because there was no real passion there and has gone back to the drawing board, looking for a man to tick every possible box.
Now, when I was in my 20s, I’d be completely understanding of this and tell this lady to ignore everything her family and friends are saying and carry on with the search. Nowadays…Well…Now I think women should think carefully about what’s really important to them in life. I look around me and I see a lot of women in their late 30s or early 40s who are so determined to have it all that they can very easily end up with nothing, at least for a while. Now, to be clear, I’m not actually the sort of person who thinks a woman is defined by having children and that starting a family is the right choice for every woman. I’ve seen many woman discover the hard way that the romantic notion of family life is not exactly what they expected and my own personal views about bringing children into this overpopulated, violent world are somewhat less determined by my hormones or my desire to clone my own genetic make up.
Everyone has a vision of the perfect relationship, the perfect family, the perfect happily ever after. It’s never quite like that, whether you have children or not. So for me, it’s a perfectly valid choice to say to yourself that you’d rather not have a family than have it with the wrong person and you’d rather keep searching for the perfect guy than to settle for someone who’s not your perfect soulmate. It’s also perfectly fine to say you don’t want to have children at all, but would like the focus of your relationship to be the feelings you and your partner have for each other.
Also, let’s keep in mind that now that the world (parts of it, anyway) is moving away from puritan religious values, we’re beginning to understand that the Catholic-style version of perfect love is, frankly, not realistic for most people. The majority of people in the west engage in “serial monogamy”, which comes far more naturally to most than the vision of eternal coupling. In fact, most people in the world engage in some form of polygamy (whether it’s cheating, open relationships or “emotional cheating” – the annoying term for what is basically having normal human urges and not acting on them). It makes you wonder whether there is such a thing as a lifelong soulmate at all. The answer to this, I believe, is a positive one. Some people do find a partner they’d like to be with for life. On the other hand, cases of genuine, lifelong “soulmatism” are actually relatively rare. It’s a lot more common for people to stay together because they believe they have to or ought to.
So, unlike what I thought in my 20s, nowadays I look at such articles as the one above and women who write or identify with it and I say – grow up, ladies, it’s crunch time.
Your deadline approaches and, like it or not, as women we do have a deadline beyond which we are no longer fertile. I look around me and I see children whose parents are going to most likely die when said children are still way too young (because if you have a child in your 40s, you’re going to be in your 70s by the time he’s 30), the result of people holding off having kids while they have their career and choose the perfect partner. Not the end of the world, but not ideal either. Still better, in my honest opinion, than deciding to have and raise a child on your own (i.e. sperm bank rather than say, adopt one) “because you want one of your own”. And no, I don’t have anything against single mothers at all and most single mothers don’t start off intending on raising a child on their own. They end up in that situation and do the best they can for their children. On the other hand, I think that it’s not the ideal situation for a child, so knowingly choosing to place a child in a non-ideal situation before it’s even conceived because you want to experience motherhood is, to me, a very selfish decision.
If having a child is the most important thing to you to you and you’re getting to the point where you may not be able to have one, then yes, you may have to bloody settle. Sure, as I’ve said before, don’t go for someone who repulses you or bores you to tears, but do accept that you may not find prince charming in time for your perfect baby shower. Also, keep in mind that even prince charming may lose much of his charm after your baby comes out anyway. The way I see it, if you can’t stop thinking about your own needs and desires and keep wanting to have it all instead then either you don’t want children as much as you thought you did (which is absolutely fine, but you should come to term with this) or you’re just not ready to have them. Let’s be honest, chances are, you and most people around you will not have the happily ever after relationship you’ve envisioned. Hell, most women in their 20s won’t have it all either. They just have a few years before they have to face that realisation. People change, life changes and relationships change. You may as well decide what’s important to you and get ready to compromise and take risks. Be it risking not having a family (or adopting one later on) for the sake of finding someone truly compatible for life or settling for a relationship that’s likely to not last forever for the sake of having a child. You could also seek out alternative parenting arrangements with gay couples or men who want a child but not a relationship. Not ideal, but then again, what is? You most likely can’t have it all, but it’s OK. You just need to come to terms with it.