My friend J___ holds Hollywood accountable for her singleton status. She believes movies like “Sleepless in Seattle,” “16 Candles” and “Serendipity” ruined her life. These films gave her comfort that love was hiding just around the corner and would reveal itself when least expected - a subway platform, an airport, a distant cousin’s wedding.
She feels her expectations were severely mismanaged.
While perhaps not a function of Hollywood, I too shared J__’s blind faith that if stayed true to myself and lived my life, the universe would bring the right man my way. From the time I was in high school I remember wanting nothing more than to drop out and have a baby (the women in our family have always had a thing for babies). What could be more meaningful and important than giving life? Certainly not Calculus or the SATs.
Obviously, I didn’t drop out to have babies. I didn’t even have a boyfriend and, minor technicality, hadn’t had sex yet. Instead I went off to college like all my friends where we pitied the sorority girls working towards their “MRS” degrees. These provincial girls who made it their mission to bag a man in college. What a waste of a degree – why even get one? No, I continued to have blind faith that if I lived my life, the right person would cross my path.
I moved to New York a few years after college graduation. I’d gotten the cockamamie idea to move to the city and get into Advertising (I joke now that I must have watched too much Melrose Place). After a year I landed my first ad job at Y&R and, at 24, was convinced I was the oldest administrative assistant on the planet. Making $19,000 and putting in 70+ hour weeks I slowly clawed my way up the corporate ladder. Boys came and went but I didn’t meet the “one.”
Y&R is where I met my friend J_______, a successful cat-less singleton. We remained friends when we moved on to different advertising agencies and often got together to catch-up on work and men (or lack thereof) and to reassure each other that the right guy would come along. We were good catches after all.
About 5 years ago, during one of our red-wine fueled dinners, I mustered up the courage to confess to J_____ that I wasn’t sure how I ended up where I was in my life. If you’d asked me in high school I would have probably said I’d be married with my first child before 30. I was nervous telling her, fearful of being chastised. But to my great surprise and relief J______ admitted it wasn’t what she’d bargained for either.
Now when my friends and I get together over bottle(s) of wine, our conversations often turn towards discussing the latest egg-freezing advancements (who knew they could get freezer burn ?!) and how we would keep the baby if we had an “accident”(and were convinced our parents would be overjoyed by this, not to mention lend a helping hand). We share the often-frustrating advice our physicians provide, “freezing an embryo is more viable than freezing eggs” (Thanks but duh, if we had the sperm we would just have a kid already!).
Most of our Gynos have suggested sperm banks. I’m just not into the idea. It seems I am a romantic at heart and see a baby as the union of two people who love each other. I can’t imagine looking into my child’s eyes and seeing a person I don’t know (Oddly, I wouldn’t have a problem adopting I don’t think, but again, can’t imagine doing it alone).
I’m mad at Mother Nature for this damn biological clock. Why should I be penalized for not having met the right guy yet? I still want it all. I was devastated to learn not too long ago that a women’s fertility drops at 30, again and 35, then 38 and finally 40. Yikes!
In retrospect those sorority girls may have been on to something. We went hard after everything else we wanted – a spot on the soccer team, the college of our choice, scholarships, jobs. Why did I think securing a husband should be any different?
On the upside, my sister has kindly offered to give me a few of her eggs if it turns out mine are duds. And while I should probably invest more time in meeting eligible men, I continue to have faith that if fur-less motherhood is meant to for me, it’ll all work out.
In the meantime, I may do well to remind my sister that her clock is also ticking. Perhaps she’ll consider freezing for the both of us.