Not having children has never really been an option for me. Aside from those few years between 13 and 16 when I didn’t know what to do if someone put a child in front of me - because at that age everything is awkward enough to not know what to do when presented in any situation - having children has always just been an un-objected assumption in my mind. Like, would you like ketchup with your fries? Duh.
Sometime just after the awkward was wearing off, I was deciding that I wanted to have kids by 26. At 24, I would get married. At 26, I would have my first child. A few years into college, that timeline was pushed back two years. Either way, I thought, I could still accomplish having all three of my children by 32. And then I broke up with The Ex and I was 25 and just wanted to paint my face blue and scream FREEDOM!
The Ex got married this past April. I knew it was coming. What I didn’t expect was to stumble upon a wedding photo of him. When he told me last summer that he was engaged, I was happy for him. Everyone asked me if I was okay, which seemed like an odd question. “Yes, of course. I’m glad he found someone.”
Even more unexpected was my reaction to his wedding photo. He looked great. He kept the weight he lost after gaining in our relationship-falling-apart off and appeared genuinely content. I shared the news that I had seen his wedding photo and again the question was posed, “How do you feel about that?” slash “Are you okay?”
“Of course,” I replied. “I’m happy for him. I didn’t break our hearts so that we both could end up unhappy and alone. I’m proud of him. He looks really good and I’m happy he found love.”
And that’s the God’s honest truth. The initial reaction is hard to explain: Somewhere between saying goodbye to an old friend and wanting to congratulate the shit out of him. I am happy he found love again and I am proud of him for finding himself a better place. I’m glad he took the time we had together and the mistakes that we both made, to learn and grow and become solid man and a good partner. And then it stings a little too. It makes me begin to wonder when it’s my turn.
I feel a bit of martyrdom from time to time. I feel like I fix men and send them off better people, having the next lady benefit from my good deeds…and sore and broken heart. Am I allowed to think it’s unfair since I’m the one with the biological timetable?
Damn you, media.
On the plus side, I put a strict rule on myself at 18. For really no scientific reason – and even though I was totally going to have kids at
It seems like a fair trade to kick some maternal ass.
But I don’t think that just because I love the life I’ve chosen to live instead of the life I had planned, that I shouldn't be allowed get scared about these things from time to time. And I don’t think just because I get scared from time to time, that I should have to regret abandoning my plan and choosing to live my life. What I do think is that the media should just shut the fuck up.
Everything is about balance. This is mine. Fulfillment and hope quell the fear. Besides, 29 isn't that old...right?