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My biological clock is digital so how am I supposed to hear it tick?

2003-10-08 - 12:39 p.m.

So. Yeah. 31 tomorrow.

I feel ambivalent about this. On the one hand, there's that whole biological clock thing.

Even though many women have healthy kids in their mid-to-late 30s, I'm a bit more aware of the risks than some because I have a background in biology and am all about passing on the best genetic material I can muster. Even before I was thinking seriously about kids of my own, I consciously evaluated partners based partly (but only partly since I had an inexplicable attraction to a certain type of guy that wasnít necessarily good for me) on their phenotype (which is, going back to high school biology, the physical expression of the genotype or sum total of the genes a person possesses), and I've been affectionately called a freak by some friends for admitting to doing this. I've always assumed it came out of the fact that I was a logical person acting on my education. Then, one day, I was mentioning to my mom that my then-boyfriend was quite a sickly as a child and what was her response?

"Oh Shawna," in a dismayed tone, "Bad genes."

So there you have it. I come by my unusual values and worldview honestly. And to be fair to myself, I think a lot of people do this subconsciously; I just happen to be aware of it and admit to it.

Also thrown into the mix is the fact that I'd always assumed that, like my mother, I'd have my kids when I was young. I would have the energy to run around after them and would still be fairly young by the time they were ready to leave the nest. There was the added bonus that I'd be more mature and have a better idea of what I wanted to spend my time on at that point, plus the income to do something about it. Iíve witnessed the rearing of children by certain parents who waited Ďtil their 30s or later and theirs just wasnít the style I wanted to emulate. It wasnít that they did a bad job, it just wasnít a lifestyle I wanted to have.

On the other, J and I just got married two months ago and we wouldnít mind savouring some time alone together as we settle into the relationship. Since we met weíve been busy since my house project was just getting off the ground at that point and plus we devoted a lot of time and energy to organizing the wedding.

As well, I do see the advantages to waiting as I wouldnít have had the freedom to take the financial risk of building my house, gotten my career on track, travelled in my late twenties, etc. if Iíd had kids in my early twenties. I would have spent my twenties being very busy and possibly stretched financially. I had the luxury of being selfish and I know that I have friends who did have kids earlier who envy my position. I acknowledge that Iíll probably be able to provide an easier life for my kids because Iíve established myself a bit. But regardless of the pros and cons and regardless of my personal belief that I should have had kids earlier, the fact remains that I didnít and now I donít have the decision to make of whether to have them very young or not. Iím no longer very young when it comes to starting a family. Iím not very old, but I am at an age already where I have to worry more about miscarriages, birth defects and genetic conditions, and whether itíll be hard to conceive. (If I can at all since Iíve been operating under the assumption I can have kids if I want them and have never tested that theory out Ė man, if I canít, Iíll have wasted a lot of money and effort on birth control over the years! How much would that suck, in addition to the suckage of not being able to procreate?)

So the question I am now faced with is soon or sooner? I donít have that visceral longing to have a baby that some women do. I donít feel my clock ticking. My thinking it should be soon answers more an intellectual need than a physical one. I want kids, thereís no question. And I want more than one ideally. But I donít want to have kids after turning 35 at the latest (at one time I said that of turning 30, oops, too late) and I want to give my body time to recover between them. So that suggests pretty darn soon to me. Maybe not tomorrow, but I do think itís time to start thinking about it and making some decisions at the very least.

And thus, I suppose, this journal entry.

Before - After

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