Bi-illogical Clock

As a child, I refused to play with baby dolls. I never carried one around, never pretended to give it a bottle. Childhood friends would encourage me to play with their dolls. However, unless it was the latest Barbie with her fabulous wardrobe, I wasn't interested.

I babysat one time as a teenager. After coming home with the worst headache of my life, I decided that washing dishes in my father's restaurant was a much better way to earn some extra cash. My decision to abandon babysitting as a career was confirmed only weeks later during a lesson in a high school physical education class. In an effort to demonstrate the responsibility of parenthood, my teacher instructed us carry a single raw egg around for two days.

I didn't even make it home without breaking the egg.

You know where all of this is leading.

Motherhood. It is a lofty ambition, but one I never possessed. Even as a school girl dreaming of life as an adult, I thought of a man, a condominium in the city, and a career. The idea of having children never repulsed me, although the thought of delivering a baby did. But at the heart of the matter, I just didn't have a maternal bone in my body.

Neither one of my husbands really wanted children, so the issue wasn't magnified as I entered adulthood. I watched most of my friends become mothers and fathers without a single thought as to whether this would someday be me. Actually, I only became more resolved in my lack of desire as my relationships deteriorated. I was grateful to be childless after my divorces. My life would be a very different experience if I were a single mother.

Then exactly a month and one day after my separation, my doctors discovered two very large uterine fibroid tumors. These grapefruit-size twins were causing pressure on other vital organs. Doctors recommended surgery. I could have a full hysterectomy, or opt for a myomectomy-- a procedue to remove only the tumors and preserve my fertility.

My maternal instincts finally kicked in. The option to have children couldn't be taken away from me. It didn't matter that I was in my late 30s, or that I didn't have a man. It didn't matter that my chances for getting pregnant were decreasing exponentially by the years. It didn't matter that I never saw myself as a mother. I wanted the chance, the very remote possibility, of having children if I was ever inspired to do so. And in the end, I endured months of chemically-induced menopause to shrink the tumors and went ahead with the myomectomy.

Now I am healthy and two years shy from 40, but I cannot say that I feel my biological clock ticking any harder than it was in my youth. Perhaps my biological clock is digital and this is why I don't feel it? Most people seem perplexed by my ambiguity. It's not a quality that usually defines my nature.

Vin asked me once whether I hoped to have children some day.

"I don't know. Maybe." I replied. My lukewarm response confused and disappointed him, since he was so sure of his paternal instincts. I admire his certainty. I wish I felt a strong longing to perpetuate my genes, my line, my heritage, but I don't. Maybe after two long, unhealthy marriages, I gave up hope. Maybe it was never my hope. Time will tell--but not too much time. The clock is running out. I have neither the eggs nor the time to spare.


utenzi said...

I'm with you, Diane. I've never felt any urge to have children at all.

I can easily understand why the thought of not having any choice left to you would cause you consternation, but that's not the same as wanting to have a child. It's just wanting options.

Besides, you've got a good 4, even 7 years on this issue before tossing in the towel, Diane.

zerodoll said...

I'm with you too, and I'm only 31. I had a myomectomy early this year and while I don't feel any urge to have children, I didn't want the option taken away! Best wishes.