It’s near midnight on the eve of my 35th birthday. I’m watching the numbers change on the clock until I see midnight. I go back to the thought that has been consuming my brain all day, the “elephant in the room” of my conscience. Not only am I nearing my 35th birthday, but I’m also nearing the deadline I set for myself in my twenties to be done having children. But am I done? Is my biological clock done ticking?
Ten minutes until the deadline…
Contrasting thoughts ping pong back and forth, like a tennis match:
Don’t you want another? If you start trying now, it would be a good age gap.
You don’t want another. Imagine the stress of trying again.
Am I really done? You’re not that old.
You’re not that young either. It would be considered a geriatric pregnancy.
Kids are wonderful.
Kids are exhausting.
Welcome to my brain. Do you ever really know when you’re done trying to have kids? No really, I need to know. Please tell me.
Five minutes until the deadline…
My brain and uterus wage war against each other, arguing. I don’t know how to quiet them. I thought I was done. While sitting down to dinner with my husband on our last anniversary, I actually had a clarifying moment, and I said we were done. Since then, if anyone has asked, I say we are done.
My husband is on the side of the fence of being done, is completely and 100% okay with being done, is adamant that we be done. He wants us to move on to the next phase of our lives as a family of four. When he was honest in telling me that, I was happy to move on. Then a few months later, as I started noticing how much my kids were growing, a little idea nudged in – what would it look like with another little one running around? I know he would come around on the idea, too. But do I really want to have to convince him? Shouldn’t I be happy where we are right now? If my biological clock were done ticking, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, right?
Two minutes until the deadline…
I think of all the picturesque moments in motherhood that make my uterus skip a beat. When my kids spontaneously hug. When my daughter learns a new word and says it over and over. When my son does something on his own and beams up at me, proud of his accomplishment. When they’re asleep and look like baby angels, I can totally handle another kid.
One minute until the deadline…
I think of all the moments of absolute havoc in the trenches with two young children during a pandemic when my mental health dipped to its lowest point. Screaming children while trying to make lunch. Screaming children while trying to make dinner. One child yelling to be wiped on the potty while the other has a major diaper blowout at the same time. Hiding in the bathroom to cry when you need a moment to yourself only to find out your older child let the smaller child climb the stairs without you, and she fell a few steps to the bottom. Can I even handle another kid?
The clock strikes midnight. I panic and heave a major sigh. Is my biological clock done ticking?