html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives

Friday, April 27, 2007

I always wanted kids, but for a long time it was just that I liked kids and thought that families laughed an awful lot and it seemed like a pleasant thing to do after you had had a lot of fun in your twenties. Until my mid-twenties, kids were an abstract good idea that I could have been talked out of by a better idea. Around twenty-seven or twenty-eight, babies became more interesting. They were just more… interesting. It became mesmerizing to watch one in a room full of people and to wonder was it was doing; nothing else in the room was really quite as vivid as the baby. By twenty-nine it started to hurt. And by hurt I mean some in the way where you are denied something you really, really want. But I mean mostly in the way that it physically hurts me. It feels like hunger, if you never ever get enough food. My breasts ache if I hear a baby; my throat closes; my womb clenches and my arms hurt. It has been like this for years. It has eased recently, and I don’t know if that is because the babyhunger is passing or because I’ve pushed it away for so long.

This came from inside. This is not the result of society forcing conventional ideas of motherhood on me. I’m a fairly maternal person, so I’m willing to believe I’m more extreme than lots of women. But this is not something I would choose to take on if I had a choice in the matter. It is also why I completely believe women who tell me they don’t want children. If they feel aversion in any proportion to the degree I feel attraction, they do not want kids. If they even feel none of what I feel, I’d believe they don’t want kids.

So here I am, 30, going along and KaBAMM! My body, which is in charge of me, tells me that I need children, and the relationship that I thought would last the rest of my life has ended. And for the next few years, it got steadily worse. I want something I can’t seem to get, at least not in the way that seems easiest and most secure and happiest, with two enthusiastic parents. And I am scared that I will not be able to make this right, that I cannot work hard enough, meet enough men to find one who wants to do this with me, be appealing and funny enough, be lucky enough to do this in time. I am doing whatever I can think of to solve this problem; whoring my life on the internet, meeting strangers, moving to a new town. And I AM increasingly desperate, because I DO believe there’s a deadline for this. I just passed my thirty-fifth birthday, which might mean all sorts of things to all of you, but to me it was the “mandatory amniocenteses” birthday.

I am PISSED I have a deadline on this. I never even chose to have this monkey on my back. But worse than the fact that I want kids like I want breath is the fact that I have to arrange that NOW. If I didn’t have a deadline for kids, I could wait until a guy came along naturally. I could live my amazingly good life and chat with you people and sing with Ali and play catch in the park until a boy with smiley eyes walked up to me. My life is GOOD, and I could do this indefinitely if I had all the time in the world to have kids.

But I don’t. So I have to up-end my life because there are only a few more years of possibility and they go fast. For the increased likelihood of a beloved and children, I am giving up my house, my friends, my life, my porch, my town, my trees, my town. I don’t want to do that. I will, because I am facing this square on. But this is not what I would like, if I had the choice. If I had the choice, I would like a lot of things. I would like to stay here. I would like to meet men without the question of dating hanging over us. I would like to look at my friends’ beautiful babies with pure enthusiasm and without the blaze of jealousy. I would like to have my whole weekends without scheduling in meeting some perfectly nice stranger. I would like to meet a guy and spend three or four years married to him doing fantastically fun things before I get pregnant. I would like to know my relationship is secure before we put it through the stress of an infant. I would like to have the option to date men who don’t want kids or don’t want kids soon. I would like it if I didn’t have to wonder when I call it all off and decide to have kids by myself. I would like to stop feeling the babyhunger and fear.

So, yeah. I would like it to be different. But it isn’t. I am thirty-five and even though I never chose this, I want to have kids with a man I love. I am trying, in all the ways I can think of. I am going to a lot of effort and exposing myself to a lot of hurt, and I am doing it because I fucking have to. (Do not tell me that I would get over it if I don’t have kids, or I could adopt. If I loved a man first and those were our options, I would deal with that then. That is not what I WANT, though.)

So, it is particularly cruel for you to tell me that this desperation, which is more painful for me than for anyone else, is simultaneously the reason I can’t have what I am desperate for. I didn’t WANT this bind to start with and I refuse to feel like I am doing something wrong. It is not wrong to want children, even to be a woman and want them very, very much. So if some men think my urgency for kids is unappealing, FUCK THEM. In the first place, it is not something I can control, neither the wanting nor the fact that maternal age matters, and you can not shame people for what they can’t control. In the second place, they are fooling themselves about having an indefinite period of healthy sperm and energy for young kids and young women willing to be with them. In the third place, I am obviously looking for men with roughly similar urgency for kids. And finally, any man in my age range who does not have the empathy or the familiarity from their female friends to understand my situation is not a man I want to date.

So fuck that whole idea that I should hide wanting kids so that I don’t turn off men. Wanting kids or not wanting kids is a real part of the mix for people my age and they should be able to deal with it openly. Fuck anyone who disparages that desperation; it is real and it is an artifact of having human biology and it isn’t a reflection on the woman who feels it and it already hurts her. Fuck uncompassionate people who treat it like it is something to hide. And fuck any man who rejects me for that desperate corner of me. Because you know what would make it go away? A reasonable chance that something could pan out would be enough to ease the desperation; good odds and good faith with a good man would quiet the part of me that shakes from fear that I will not have my babies.



NEW FRIENDS: You will be kind when you comment here. You will not offer interpretations that insult types of women, or types of men, or undifferentiated groups, or me. Do not reduce dating, which is a complex, emotional subject that lots of people have to handle with hard-learned skills and never enough information, to to faux-evolutionary gamesmanship. Be KIND here. There are plenty of other places for you to leave unkind comments.

146 Comments:

Blogger Megan said...

I was going to do a companion piece on whether I actually present as desperate, but fuck that too. We'll leave it ambiguous.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey,

You didn't present as the least bit desperate to me. Not that we were head over heels, obviously, but we had a really nice time, and you came across much like you do here, smart, opinionated, very much your own person. Looking for a partner first and a father for any putative children only second, by all indications I saw.

And, yes, their knowing that you want kids will definitely scare some guys off. But anyone with an ounce of maturity who likes you and is concerned about it will either just ask you what your desires and intentions are, or won't bother worrying about it until or unless they know they want something different.

The only actual possibilities you eliminate are the putative guys who are afraid of kids now but won't be after they fall in love with you, if they get that far. Such guys might exist, but this is basically a childish quality, and they are likely to have other similarly childish aspects as well. So you're probably only doing yourself a service by screening them out early.

2:01 AM  
Blogger Dubin said...

Amen, sister.

Do you people realize that this post was so completely visceral that Megan did not even compose a TITLE for it?

When I broke up with that very charming boy - the one you met who came to Sac for a bit and joined you in the quest to teach me to drive stick - I went to my therapist and told him that my worst fear was becoming a Cathy Cartoon. Aaaack! Maybe I'll post my own piece on what it means to fear the impending Cathy Cartoonization of one's life... it's completely distracting at the very, very least.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Gretchen said...

I really respect the raw honesty of this post. I understand how it feels to hit your late twenties and feel that sudden rush of interest in babies. For me, I never knew how much I wanted kids until my sister in law got pregnant and I had this rush of overwhelming need. In any case, I am really cheering for you, from all the way across the country, that you find what you are looking for.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous bryn said...

The question that this post brings up for me is, if this is so physical, if there was some magic vitamin or tylenol that removed this pain, would you want to take it? (I'm in no way implying that there is a problem or that this is something that is solveable, I'm just curious if in the end you would want to feel any other way)

7:21 AM  
Blogger arf said...

I'm living the first part of this. Yes. It hurts. There's that bizarre feeling of emptiness that I just CARRY with me that is simultaneously right and wrong. I do want a partner and a life first and then kids, but damn if I don't want kids.

A few years ago when my last serious boyfriend broke up with me, I spent two or three weeks crying over the beautiful babies he and I wouldn't be having.
And then a mutual friend of ours had a miscarriage and I cried even harder for her and her husband.

Life and involuntary-imperative are really difficult sometimes.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea how attitudes towards desperation play out in practice, so let me instead toss out a model:

Imagine a world where one gender contains two kinds of people. Group 1 wants to date in significant part because of an agenda which is largely not partner specific and group 2 wants to date only for reasons which vary from potential partner to potential partner.

Someone heterosexual from the other gender considering dating (without a non-partner specific agenda of his/her own) has good reasons to prefer a member of group 2. The relationship with such a person is likely to be more stable over time. This is because partner specific links are less likely to go away with the passage of time, and because the partner was chosen (more fully) because of compatibility there is likely to be a larger difference between that particular partner and the next best available alternative.

Those reasons for likely future stability also imply more willingness to invest effort in making the relationship stronger, so there will also be a self fulfilling prophesy element to the initial expectations.

If you believe in this model, then the key thing to convey is not that you aren't desperate to have a baby, but that your desperation won't make you inclined to have a baby with someone that you wouldn't expect to be happy to be with 30 years later.

Telnar

P.S. I put this on an older post that I read at the same time before I realized that putting it on the most current relevant post made far more sense.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on. -dithers

9:42 AM  
Blogger Strange Bird said...

This was a great post. I've been thinking the other day about how much it sucks to be a woman who wants kids. I want them too, but I want them ten years from now (or later). It makes me really angry that I have an "expriation date." It also makes me angry that my boyfriend has the luxury of wanting them in the next two or three years, but that it's not his career it will derail. Ugh. I'm frustrated all over again.

Good luck to you.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Passey said...

I apologize that my previous comment hurt you. It was not intended that way and I had originally written a less-blunt comment that the internets ate (I was having problems with my home connection which is why I ended up posting anonymously). But hurtful or not, I do think it is something you should consider as a possible source of your dating difficulties.

As Telnar commented, people generally don't like feeling like you want something *from* them more than you want *them*, and men trade horror stories about wives who stopped giving them sex and affection as soon as they got the children and house that they really wanted. If children are a higher priority to you than finding a good partner -- and from everything you've written, that sounds like it might be the case -- then maybe you'd be better off looking specifically for a man who wants to use you in the same way than you are trying to do the normal dating thing.

Men like that do exist. A friend of mine recently lost his wife to a very long struggle with cancer. He'd always wanted children and his late wife had been incapable because of her illness. Less than six months after her death he was remarried with a baby on the way with a woman who also wanted to have babies yesterday. I don't have a lot of hope for the long-term happiness of their marriage but a happy marriage apparently was not their priority, and I guess they'll put up with each other if they can both get the kids that they want.

Meanwhile, have you considered freezing some of your eggs and take the edge off?
http://tinyurl.com/2jjmxe

12:50 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

JMPP:

I think I have about a year left where I can try for a partner I'm crazy about who also wants kids.

After that, I don't think I would come to an arrangement. You don't know until you get there, of course. But my guess is that I'll do it on my own.

I actually didn't think you meant that to sting, but thanks for saying so expressly.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan,

This post was absolutely beautiful. I hope you find that man, and have the babies you are ready to have. (And you will definitely remind yourself how much you wanted them when they've kept you up all night or torn up the house.)

You're in my prayers, for whatver that's worth.

--John

2:25 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Well, everyone else has said this already, but...it's not about wanting kids. I wouldn't seriously date someone who didn't want kids.

But I'm equally concerned about what will happen to the relationship with the man (i.e. me) once the kids come along. I've seen a fair number of marriages where the woman's emotional life centers around the kids after childbirth, and the adult romance with the husband gets put on the back burner. Personally, I'd very much like to both have kids *and* avoid that outcome.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Marcus, honey. You're the man. You don't have emotional needs.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Men don't have emotional needs? I think I might have found your dating-game-search problem.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're trying too hard.

Also, you have said some things on your blog that might deter a man who wanted to be a husband and a father rather than merely dating you or "in a relationship."

If you weren't an atheist, I'd suggest a church or temple, but since you are an atheist, where do the non-believing men / fathers and families hang out? Go there.

It's only anecdotal, but still: It astounds me how many women I've met who said they'd keep working after they had children - then had their first child and can't believe they ever said, much less believed, that.

Your husband search reminds me of something C.S. Lewis said: "I never had the experience of looking for God. It was the other way round; He was the hunter (or so it seemed to me) and I was the deer. He stalked me ..., took unerring aim, and fired." You, and Dawn Eden, are in my prayers.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Dan Simon said...

Most guys can sympathize...up to a point. After all, we, too, went through a phase in life where all our social interactions with single members of the opposite sex were disrupted by an overwhelming, everpresent visceral need. Believe me--we are no strangers to the feeling of, "I want something I can’t seem to get".

At some point, though, most of us learned to see past our intense urges enough to connect with their objects as actual people, and to form healthy relationships with kindred spirits based on mutual trust, sympathy and emotional as well as physical attraction.

Others, of course, are less fortunate, and find themselves unable to get past their hormonal impulses, dooming themselves to a life of failed relationships. A few such men even speak frankly and unapologetically about the primacy of their own needs, making it clear to all that they view members of the opposite sex as mere means by which to get their needs met, and dismissing the needs of the opposite sex as irrelevant or even nonexistent.

Such men are, to be sure, universally derided as selfish jerks who haven't a prayer of attracting anyone with an ounce of self-respect. But perhaps you have more in common with them than you might suppose...

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Robert G. said...

On our first date, my wife basically indicated she was eager to have kids. I took it calmly and we had a second date the next night. Fast forward, I'm now watching our six-year-old daughter dance to High School Musical (this is a good thing).

There's a lesson here about how a guy may respond to the real you. Of course, at that point, given the ticking clock, life gets even crazier (but again, this is also a good thing).

10:17 PM  
Anonymous ozma said...

Some Americans are pathological in their need to dodge adulthood. Why? You think you don't get married, you don't have kids, you don't die? Nu-uh. No, you have kids when you are older and then you have less time with them than you would.

I hope you get what I am saying. You are being wise and human and seeking one of the greatest things life has to offer. The idea that anyone would find that scary or desperate is so pathetic. And says something really sad about this culture.

Don't apologize for this although your anger is very justified.

You likely have some time. Not a huge amount but there's a good chance it will be enough. Fortunately, not everyone is so stupid to try and run away from those things that make life worth living just so they can have more time at the gym or the bar or whatever it is they imagine their freedom gives them time for.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Bruce G Charlton said...

Fine, thought-provoking post. I guess that this is one I will remember.

I teach evolutionary psychology - so all of this makes perfect sense.

And of course, more and more women feel like Megan - recent articles in the UK suggest that 40 percent of female college graduates are predicted to be childless - if present trends continue.

What might reverse that trend is if highly educated, high status women recognize that they are being trapped by the evolutionarily-driven sexual preference for higher-status men.

This trap gets worse the older a woman gets, as she becomes less attractive (men are attracted to visual cues of youth - ie. childbearing potential).

If, somehow - by understanding what is going-on, high status women could begin to reduce the requirement for high status in their partners they could (maybe) push down the threshold of attraction. They would then be looking for marriage/ parenting partners in a much bigger field of candidates, and would be more likely to find a good partner (with the right kind of personality, etc.)

So - my interpretation is that women like Megan are not just trapped by the biological threat of declining fertility, they are trapped by their own biologically-driven preference for high status men. These preferences are tough to change by rational reflection but there is at least some scope for shaping one's own sexual preferences.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Uneasy Rhetoric said...

Terrific post. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting what you want, and it's possible to have a perfectly healthy little bundle of joy later in life. My wife and I are in our late 30s, and we've got a six month old. A friend had her child when she was 40 and he's never been anything but a healthy, way-too-smart, kid.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Mangan said...

Bruce Charlton's comment about status provides a counterpoint to my thoughts as I'm reading the post; which is, lots of guys who might get to know you will be intimidated. If you come across as a very intelligent, attractive woman who's not about to settle, you might be waiting for while yet.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous ozma said...

Just wanted to clarify something.

When I say your anger is justified I see you as responding to sexism. If a man wants children EVER--young, old, in-between--he is generally lauded for this.

If a woman wants children and is open about the fact that she seeks to have children--that she is made it a goal she is disparged and regarded as desperate. However, if she doesn't want children she is regarded with suspicion (as a long term girlfriend or wife). That's a classic sexist double-bind.

When you react angrily to men who might look down on you for wanting children then I take it you are reacting to the way they are playing out that sexist crap.

And the evolutionary psychology stuff is just balderdash. Seriously dumb stuff. As if men do not care about the social status of their mates. How many ivy league male grads marry jr. college grads with 'fertile' appearance? Try ZERO. As if men choose women for status but men choose women for lip size. Get real. Those choices are so clearly culturally shaped it's not even funny.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Megan,

Thanks, thanks, thanks. I badly needed to talk to someone about this.

Not so long ago, I ushered into my late 20s with a profound conviction that I would remain childless, by choice. My body and my mind simply did not cry out for a baby. Occasionally, I would feel bad about it because other girls I knew were different. But oh well, as a lifelong outsider (I've read too many books or something), I am strong enough to endure peer pressure.

Now, however, I am undergoing a change. I am totally unclear about what brought it about but it is here, indisputably. I am becoming maternal and caring. I cry more, won't rest until I accommodate everyone around, spend a lot of time civilizing wayward adolescent boys and do other crazy things.

Now, a man. I have been in a relationship for several months. He is madly in love, I am not. He basically talked me into it. It is not the overwhelming, mesmerizing love experience I had been patiently waiting for. It may change once we are together (it is a long-distance relationship for now) but who knows? I sometimes feel urged to terminate it and to wait for something that would sweep me off my feet, even if I were to wait forever.

He insanely loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me, to have a nice house and...kids, of course. He's the kind of guy girls with frantically ticking biological clock dream of. What the hell am I thinking? Am I irrational enough to trade my long-run happiness for a brief spell of passion, excitement and frivolity?

I should get real. Thanks for telling me that I should count my blessings.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Trent said...

Ozma, the evolutionary psychology he offered is dead-on true. If you want a "culturally shaped" thought-- it would be that there is something you can do about the truth in his words.

It's true that his statements on attraction are generalized, but the exceptions do not set the bar. Attraction is not a choice, at all.

If I had to guess percentages, I would base male ATTRACTION (note: this does not signify long-term capatability, rapport, etc) 75% physical, 25% personality. Physical attributes include symmetry, ratios, health cues, etc. Women are the direct inverse, and you can typically view several key personality traits which trigger attraction; most fall under "status." Most importantly, relative PERCIEVED status.

I personally think the best solution to the problem posed by Charlton would be a shift in how contemporary boys are being raised. I do not know much about other countries, but true American MEN are becomming increasingly rare as parents raise their male offspring improperly. This continues to compound as more and more boy-men grow up, have kids, and raise boy-men of their own.

Remember that status is a relative perception, not necessarily a certain degree, or job, etc. As such, a male simply having high confidence (regardless of whether society thinks he deserves it) would be deemed "high status"-- no degree required.

I guess the moral of my post is to stop raising your men to be wussies!

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don’t aim at success– the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself . . . Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run– the long run, I say!– success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”

Victor Frankl. Man’s Search for Meaning, 1945

5:26 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Megan,
It would be tempting to offer some easy words of reassurance, but of course those wouldn't have much meaning. What I can say is that opportunities often come when you least expect them. And that's not pop psychology, but based on many people's (including my own) actual experience. Things may look somewhat unpromising right now, but that can change at any time, and quickly.

And don't be worried about coming across as being too desparate. As I mentioned in a comment on another thread, that's mostly a stereotype and usually gets blown way out of proportion.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Bruce G Charlton said...

Ozma said: "the evolutionary psychology stuff is just balderdash. Seriously dumb stuff. As if men do not care about the social status of their mates. How many ivy league male grads marry jr. college grads with 'fertile' appearance?"

To answer your question: Anna Nicole Smith (high school drop-out) married J Howard Marshall (Yale Law School Magna Cum Laude - class of 1931).

It happens that high status men marry uneducated but beautiful (young and healthy looking) women, and not that infrequently either.

But the opposite case of high status women marrying uneducated but nice or hunky men - very seldom at present. In fact HSW often do not marry at all, rather than marry a lower status man.

Yet probably there are plenty of less-educated or less-wealthy men who would be keen to marry a high status women, and maybe to be a house husband (that's what surveys suggest) but high status women are seldom attracted to these men.

Of course, if a woman is both high status *and* beautiful, she may well be able to find a man of higher or equal status whom she also loves and who will marry her. But most HSW are not particularly beautiful - just like everyone else, beauty being rare.

If high status women realize that their limitations in mate choice are mostly stemming from their own (biologically-driven) choosiness, maybe they could lower their requirement for status in a mate just a bit, and expand their range of choice and chances of finding a suitable marriage partner?

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I hear ya. Match.com. No, I didn't meet the love of my life there (at the bar in a drunken stupor is where I fell in love) but I know and have heard of plenty of folks who have. It can't hurt.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

It happens that high status men marry uneducated but beautiful (young and healthy looking) women, and not that infrequently either.
But the opposite case of high status women marrying uneducated but nice or hunky men - very seldom at present. In fact HSW often do not marry at all, rather than marry a lower status man.


Do you have statistics to back up these assertions, or are you just relating anecdotes and conventional "wisdom?"

Please note, I'm not being accusatory, I do the anecdote thing too often myself, so does everyone. The point is, anecdotes can be misleading.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous delirious said...

How could you bring children into this world?

9:40 AM  
Blogger Jacob said...

"How could you bring children into this world?"
Through the birth canal I'd imagine.

9:54 AM  
Blogger David Zetland said...

Megan,

Well said. I've known quite a few women facing these questions. You are torn by a tradeoff that women didn't face in the past (winner's curse, I guess). I divorced my wife because my goal of no kids was incompatible with her goal (at the time, she agreed; now she's re-married/pregnant). I had to give up somethings. You will too. Although it appears you can't wait too, it seems you may be holding on to too much.

You are trying to meet "the guy". Good. I agree with others that you cannot be picky. I suggest you look into the guy's family (parents still together? how many siblings?) to get an idea of potential. Libertarians are not good on that one, btw. Good luck.

10:17 AM  
Blogger txako said...

Hello, and good luck!
I'm sure somebody had done it before as I haven't read all the comments but I'll say it anyway: It is often when you give up that things start getting better.
I haven't got any children but my girlfriend has got two and we live together quite happily.
The fact that they aren't genetically mine hasn't bothered me yet, but I can understand what you feel, I definitely would have it on my own if I were you.
Best regards
Jordi

11:10 AM  
Blogger David Aames said...

peter

read some evolutionary psychology, that is a pretty elementary phenomenon in our species. women like high status guys (they will look after them and their children) while guys like young hot girls (young girls have the greatest probability of concieving)

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it odd that Megan has a hard time meeting guys that would like to have a relationship. I mean, even if a guy doesn't necessarily want to have children, children seem a small price to pay for getting to just talk to Megan everyday (full disclosure: I've never met Megan).

On another note, this is a sign of a quirk in evolution where intelligent people desire to have a lot less children than unintelligent people. Isn't it really a civic or social obligation for intelligent people to have many kids? I'm not sure that intelligence is genetic, but we certainly have a chance to beat the law of regression if we just recognize the opportunity.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would never cheapen your experience by calling it hunger, but men do have that urge too.

In the past few years, I've decided that I wanted children before 40. (I want them outta the house by the time I'm 60. ;-) ) I made this decision before I met the woman that I'm engaged to. There was full disclosure of this desire before we got engaged. You've got a few more years...

I'm sure that you'll meet someone who shares your desire to have a family and is a good match.

Hugs,
Tim.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Rootin' for you, o' course. And got an idea to throw out on the table.

Seems egg-freezing technology is still too early-stage, but I'm wondering about sperm-freezing.

Here's the scenario I'm picturing: You start taking, and freezing, no-strings-attached (maybe using some sort of contract, though maybe that'd be weird between friends) sperm donations from men you know and like and whose children you would be delighted to have, but whom you don't want to marry. Meanwhile, you keep your eyes peeled for the man you do want to be your husband and raise your children.

Then, if the time comes when you haven't found the right man but don't want to wait any longer, you choose the sperm from the guy whose children you would most want, and use them to get pregnant. (Maybe you wouldn't want to tell the donors which one you chose, or maybe you would.)

So ok, you've gotten pregnant and are raising a kid on your own, and meanwhile you can keep looking for the right guy to marry you and help raise your kid(s). And, at some point, if you still haven't found the guy and are still fertile and want another kid(s), you've still got more frozen sperm from kind, smart, healthy guys waiting for you.

What do you think?

7:17 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Passey said...

Spermcicles!

7:27 PM  
Blogger Joe Bingham said...

Wish you the best.

My instinctive response would be that 35 is probably the perfect age to find a man who is moderately successful and very kind but not very suave. Which is probably the best sort of man to raise a family with, if not the most immediately attractive. It's probably also the sort altruistic enough to have a great interest in raising children (there is an altruistic element in men's desire for children; I can't speak for women). Will you post about what sort of man you wish for?

I hope you'll keep us posted.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

I hated when people told me "don't try so hard" "don't aim for success" "don't be desperate". These were people who couldn't tell me *how* to do anything, only could tell me *what not* to do--couldn't describe how to make an omelet let alone catch a fish, to say nothing of how one learns to behave authentically when trying hard is what is authentic.

there are men who feel like you do, truly.

while nothing i can say eases your pain, I hope you know how much you are helping to reveal the truth to women and men who've been misled into thinking that waiting waiting waiting to have babies is the right thing. small consolation, i know.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous W. Lotus said...

I like your honesty.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Dave: I'm pretty sure that you can freeze eggs, too.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

Don't take this the wrong way, because I think wanting kids the way you do is NOT a deterrent to finding a guy who gets you and has the same goals. The guys who would be all freaked out have other problems involving maturity and so on. Also, from what you've written, you want something, and are upset that it may not happen, but it's not the stereotype. I think teh stereotype is a woman who wants children to complete her or otherwise doesn't have a life. That's not you. I don't know anyone like that, actually.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that if you go the solo route, I've heard dating as a single mom can be very freeing. You know up front what someone wants from you and whether or not they have a problem with maturity and so on. (the hard part is screening out the people who think you'll be more vulnerable - but I can't picture you as ever being desperate so, that shouldn't be a problem).

And, ok, you're not the type to be inspired by celebrities, either, but Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfieffer both met awesome men AFTER they became parents alone. Just saying :)

9:44 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

And regarding the evolutionary stuff - high status women don't marry low-status but hunky men because that will lower the woman's status. Because in our society a woman's status is still very much influenced by the level of that of the man she is with. But a man can marry a lower-status hottie, and get props for it, if also sometimes some condemnation. (Which will come mostly from women he doesn't want to date anyway, and a lot of it will be directed at his low-status mate).

Just because a situation exists, it does not mean we were biologically fated to it. A result does not prove a cause. And saying, "We are the way we are because of Mother Nature," is, I think, just a rationalization used by people who don't want to change the system.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

Oh, and anonymous, I'm not sure it's a good idea to marry a guy just because other people want him. But good luck with whatever you decide.

9:58 PM  
Blogger David Aames said...

Dizzy

Why would a high status man marry a woman who cannot have children? Assuming a man wants children, marrying somebody above 40 makes no biological sense, anymore than megan marrying a sterile guy would, it has nothing whatsoever to do with this thing called 'society'.

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to the postmodern age, sadly.

This stuff about status is a reflection of the way society is moving - essentially, freed from the need for protection from rape and pillage, and hard physical work, woman are out-performing men (on average) in a whole variety of fields, except maybe football. There is going to have to be a next step in the evolution of society - which maybe Megan can contribute to - that sees high performing/achievng women accept that there just aren't enough high performing men around. (cloning?)

I grew up in a time (the late 60s/70s) when this was only starting to be an issue. But my daughter (30) faces it head on. If she's not a svelte blond with an athletic build how does she attract a high-achieving male on the hunt for a trophy wife (ok, maybe not all of them, but at least half of them).

Hell, as a divorced baby boomer I feel it myself. I just don't get turned on but smart, articulate women unless they are cute.

Is this how its ends, not with a bang but a collective whimper?

John

3:25 AM  
Blogger Kieran said...

Notwithstanding the handwaving from the E.P. people, the data on the frequency of May-December marriages is a bit more complex than you might think. And the question of how evolved predispositions are expressed in socially patterned choices is much more complex than you might think.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Bruce G Charlton said...

My concern is that high status women are currently being badly advised.

I would guess everyone knows, personally, quite a few high status women who are decent looking, are nice people or at least have no major personality flaws, who want to get married and have kids - but are unmarried and don't have kids.

There is an element of bad luck, of course, but the reason why this pattern is so common and becoming commoner is the choosiness of HSW. They are looking for partners among a very small proportion of men - essentially they look only at equally or higher status men who are also personally-compatible.

In other words HSW have been painted into a corner by evolved preferences which are increasingly badly adapted to modern society where an ever-greater percentage of women are attaining ever higher status. There just aren't enough HSMen.

High status in a man makes him much more attractive but HS in a woman tends to make her much choosier without making her much more attractive as a partner (a bit, not much).

It is not really true to say that lower status men are 'intimidated' by HSW. It is more that HSMen believe, probably with good reason, that they will be rejected and humiliated by HSWomen.

I think it is very important that HSW know this kind of stuff. In particular that there are probably plenty of nice and physically-attractive men who would be keen to marry them and have kids and be good dads.

Just that these available men are mostly of lower status than the woman.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

David aaames - Why would a 40-year-old high status man marry a 24 year old? They're boring, and I'm only one high school generation away from the ones I'm surrounded by. I cannot imagine hooking my life to someone who is that much younger and out of the experiences I haave had. Couoples like that that I have seen, oh, and the 40 year old I dated for a year and a half (lawyer, no less) when I was 23, have done little to persuade me that the relationships are any sort of productive equal partnership.

Perhaps it is not women who have been painted into a corner, but men too, who have streteched adolescence into a 20 to 30 year stage, only to find that their options are at least as equally unappealing as that of high status women too "picky" to marry the McDonald's fry guy.

11:00 AM  
Blogger David Aames said...

Dizzy

Men are supposed to be interesting too women, not the other way around. Women already are interesting to men, by virtue of being women. Humor, for example, evolved as a way for men to woo women. Women didn't need to evolve humor. A 24 year old woman doesn't need to be interesting to get a 40 year old man, she just has to say 'yes'.

Charlton

"In other words High Status Women have been painted into a corner by evolved preferences which are increasingly badly adapted to modern society where an ever-greater percentage of women are attaining ever higher status. There just aren't enough HSMen."

OK everybody just read and ponder that paragraph, because it ends this discussion, unarguable. Women are forever bemoaning the fact that guys only like 'hot young girls', ignoring the fact that women themselves will really only settle for high status guys (anecdotal exceptions do not undermine the rule). Just read Charlton's posts, they settle the debate.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

So my only being romantically interested in women that I can have a good conversation with makes me a freak of nature?

1:20 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

David - Um, the debate over whether or not a man who only wants a vagina and a set of viable eggs is, himself, a catch, is not in any way settled by charlton's posts. And, again, jsut because a situation exists, it does not mean it was biologically fated. Possibly, humor was developed by both sexes to facilite interactions as society became less dependent on hunting and more dependent on peer cooperation. You know, as we, like, evolved.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

Men are supposed to be interesting too women, not the other way around. Women already are interesting to men, by virtue of being women. Humor, for example, evolved as a way for men to woo women. Women didn't need to evolve humor.

Comments like this make me want to stick something sharp in my own eye. Ow.

1:39 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

Humor, for example, evolved as a way for men to woo women. Women didn't need to evolve humor.

Just because one can construct a way evolution could have produced a pattern of behavior doesn't mean that it really happened that way.

Is there a reason to believe that women would preferentially select funny guys over un-funny guys? How are funny guys better adapted to survive in the tribal societies in which our personalities were refined?
-----
Be KIND here. There are plenty of other places for you to leave unkind comments.

Yeah, but my blog is the best place to leave unkind comments.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Pandax said...

I hear ya, Megan. I wish there was a way we could all help each other make this wish into reality.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Claudia Kristiansen said...

Sigh.

Megan, I'm grateful to you for writing this essay. Although it made me sad for about 24 hours this weekend. Not sad for you, but for my own sorry self.

People talk about this problem like it's some isolated, individual failure of spoiled American women who don't know any better and are just too "picky" -- like we're shopping to buy a house and just need to give up our dream of a 3-story Victorian and settle for a split-level ranch. But it's happening everywhere in westernized democracies. My Norwegian cousins took forever to start having their babies. Thankfully most have managed, but one just in time, at 39.

I find that the people giving well-meant advice, usually men, are blind to the way structural forces have changed women's opportunities to meet and date the men they'd be natural matches for, and meet them at the right time.

Women tend to want to get married slightly earlier than their male counterparts, which means the most likely fit is with a man a few years older. But in the educational system, we are increasingly segregated by age -- sometimes by laws and ethical guidelines that make it very difficult to cross boundaries between undergrads/grad students/etc. In med school, the only men I met who were the right age for me were residents, fellows and attendings. Even when we did hit it off, they were afraid to ask me out, because of the potential ethical violation. The same was true for my unmarried classmates. Of course this was just before match.com, which could probably have fixed our problem somewhat.

People used to socialize in more diverse groups -- through churches, neighborhoods, and extended family events. But that's not how we organize ourselves now. We've become extremely specialized socially -- not by choice, but by the gravitational pulls of the educational system and the workforce. This has increased economic productivity tremendously, but has created a few negative externalities. One of these is a serious mismatch between the natural life stages of young women, and the opportunities available in the professional and social environments they find themselves in. It requires a heroic individual effort -- and a great deal of practical, anticipatory wisdom -- to break free of this in time.

There's all this talk about women "waiting too long." I can tell you, I never felt like I was "waiting" to have children. I would have been happy to stop everything, get married, and have kids, at any point after about age 22, had I just met someone who was at the same stage in life emotionally, and who I felt was a good enough personality match that I wouldn't end up in a few years as a divorced single mom with toddlers. I didn't realize that these men were concentrated in the the age group above me, and I didn't know how to go about meeting them. I'm kind of an introvert. So I wasted a lot of time dating nice guys who were wrong for me (mainly too boyish) because that's all I thought was available. I was also struggling so hard to survive med school and not kill any patients that I couldn't see the other opportunities that might have been there.

I am not making excuses, but women are just human beings making decisions as we go along, according to what feels right at the time. We think about our responsibilities to other people, and our need to be able support ourselves, since so many women do end up on their own at some point. Everything that is crucial professionally is crammed into the twenties, which makes sense for men, but not for us -- so the men we are surrounded by are not thinking about marriage yet. If we're waiting, we're waiting for them. Ironically, the persistent belief that this is due to a woman's individual fault means that most of us thought we'd do better than those other childless women before us, who had "put off having babies" and "prioritized work over family" -- something I was sure I'd never let happen to me.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous emir said...

Just want to say what a great comment that is of Claudia's. So many true things.

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Dagwood said...

I met the woman of my dreams a few months ago, and there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to get married and, I suspect, have kids. I'm 37; she's 32.

Before I met her, I was convinced that I didn't really care one way or the other about getting married or having children. I dated seriously, and I dated women who expressed exactly what you've expressed in this wonderful post. I understood what they were saying, but I never felt it.

Until I met Blondie. (Not her real name!)

Once I met her, "marriage" and "children" took on different meanings to me. These words used to scare me. And with anyone but Blondie, they still would.

But with Blondie, all of the fear is gone, replaced by thoughts of billions of years of happiness.

On our first date, I was up-front with her, and told her I wasn't the "marrying" kind. Within a month I had realized that while I might not be the "marrying" kind, I most definitely was the "marrying Blondie" kind. I'm so grateful she didn't cut me out of her life after that first date.

So yes, guys can change... or rather, guys can have their true feelings revealed to them--by a woman like Blondie.

Perhaps you will be some lucky guy's Blondie.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous albatross said...

There's a kind of ugly irony in the fact that we have these two groups of people becoming more common:

a. Women who really want to have a child, hear their biological clocks ticking, and don't know how to get there.

b. Women who had a couple kids, and are now raising them alone because the guy left a couple years ago.

I don't know why this is, but I can think of close friends of mine in both groups, and it's clearly painful for them.

8:10 AM  
Blogger GreenSmile said...

It took me the longest time to understand that there was any other response to mortality than to have children...but it is still my response.

I just happen to have known all my adult life and before, that I really wanted to have kids...MY kids not somebody elses. I suspect that if that makes me a certain category of guy, it is an under-reported category.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Dubin said...

I second and third what Claudia said. I would have figured it all out sooner, when I was younger, except for the fact that I didn't figure it all out sooner.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Claudia K. said...

I would have figured it all out sooner, when I was younger, except for the fact that I didn't figure it all out sooner.

That's exactly how I feel!

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have 3 kids under 5 and just can't believe how incredibly vivid and exciting it is. You're not chasing fools gold.

The problem is, I think, that men tend to want children only after they've met and got to know a woman and decide she's the one to have children with. Meeting a woman, gettig to know her, deciding she's right takes time and generally gets interrupted by desperate acceleration to impregnating. Don't really know how to bridge that gap.

9:13 PM  
Blogger caveatBettor said...

Kids are a special gift. I have 2 fiesty daughters (like their Mommy), one in elementary school and one still in diapers. And while I concede they are a ton of work and restrict my choices, there's nothing better than being outnumbered by beauty in my household.

But I do suggest you not settle for a dad that you can't respect, that you will never laugh-til-you-cry with. And of course, one that will love your kids more than anyone else (and still manage to love you more than that).

One of the problems for us guys, is, when we are looking for someone to marry, we aren't really qualified to determine who is going to be a great mom. We are looking at, er, other factors. At least I was in my 20s (I tied the knot at 29).

I suspect that you will find a guy who appreciates your heart and your writing. I am sure there are some out there. Godspeed on this latest chapter in your interesting adventure. You've got a few more years before you need to pop the first one out, thanks to modern medicine. I hope that helps the intellect; I know it does nothing for the heart.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Red Stapler said...

I applaud your self-awareness and honesty.

Given that "I don't want kids" is an important piece of knowledge, why should "I really want kids" be any less important?

There are men out there who want to start families. I wish you the best of luck finding your life partner. Kids and all.

(Surfed here from Jane Galt, btw.)

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Rex Little said...

I know how you feel, at second hand. My first wife started feeling the babyhunger at 29, after six years of marriage to someone (me) who never has and never will want kids. Rather than kick me to the curb immediately and look for someone who shared her dream, she tried and tried to change my mind until we finally split at 35. By the time she remarried it was too late for children.

In your search, I suggest you give priority to divorced (or widowed, but that's rare) dads. If a man reaches his late 30's and has never had kids, there's probably a good reason.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan,

Egg-freezing is new tech but possible -- here's a link to a news story published in the Globe and Mail (reputable national Canadian newspaper): http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070419.wxbabies19/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/home . This would enable you to have your children whenever you were ready in all aspects.

You could also fertilize your eggs with donor sperm and then freeze the embryos. This allows you to postpone the decision on single motherhood... or if the right guy comes along after your fertility ends, you could have one of each, since he could then fertilize a surrogate egg.

Re: single motherhood (if technological options don't appeal to you and you don't want to wait) -- you may well get more hands-on help and support from the women close to you (your mom, his mom, sisters, sisters-in-law, good friends) than from the father of the child, at least during the early years. An involved father would be ideal, but life isn't perfect.

Finally, I understand it's possible to test your eggs, to determine how many more years of fertility you have. That might help you to decide your deadlines for egg-freezing or single motherhood or whatever.

Sorry for this overly technical comment, but I just wanted you to know what's out there. I know how you feel about the biological need for children. I had it, too, pounding inside me for years and years until finally the stars aligned and produced our now 3-year-old. Best of luck,

Indigo S.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

I think every very highly educated, successful, single thirty-something I know, male or female, has pondered the idea that if only arranged marriages still existed we could just solve these fucking problems. I have spent a lot of lonely lonely years struggling with trying to find a partner, and running again and again into the problem that the ones I'm attracted to weren't interested in me, and probably to some extent vice versa (though of course many women are so trained not to make the first move that I probably don't even know who was in that category).

There are a lot of women I'm not quite attracted enough to to say "You! You're the One!" but whom I rather suspect I could get along well enough with to make it work, if we *had* to. It might be better for all concerned if we didn't have to make our own choices in this.

It has certainly occurred to me that I could have been married by now if I had been less choosy, but I couldn't bring myself to do that. I'm sure we've all seen enough unhappy marriages and divorces to know that while children might always be good things, spouses are more of a gamble.

I want kids too, I'm now 36, and I know my clock is ticking. I'm a guy, and I'm lucky that my deadline isn't as hard as a woman's, but I meet all the time women who assume I don't have one -- and all I can say to them is "do you think I want teenagers when I'm 60?"

But no, my desperation is not for babies, not the way Megan describes. My desperation is for not being so fucking lonely anymore. And in the dark days of that loneliness, I'm not sure I can believe I was any less desperate to find someone than Megan is.

Being a guy, I don't know if I can offer any useful advice to someone like Megan for how to find a man. I know that my female friends had almost nothing useful to tell me about how to find a woman -- it seemed like they should know something about it, but it turns out that things look so different from opposite sides that most everything they had to say was useless or misleading. The most common advice, "just be yourself," was actively counterproductive, since "being myself" meant being quiet and retiring and not bothering strange women. (The one exception of useful advice I got from female friends was on how to dress better.)

I hope no one thinks I'm putting down my friends here. They're smart, wonderful people, and I have no idea why they aren't married, either. (I mentioned a category of people I was attracted to who just didn't want to date me, above.)

I have a lot of sympathy for Bruce Charlton's point of view, not because I know any statistics, but just because it jibes with my own experience. I spent a lot of years trying to figure out how to get women's attention, and the parts that seemed to help most were most deliberately directed at learning how to present myself in a higher-status way.

I don't know if I have a point here, other than that modern singlehood sucks intensely, and I sympathize.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Megan,

I'm the post-er who was trying to link you the story. Here's the link again:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070419.wxbabies19/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/home

If that doesn't work, Google "Montreal egg freezing doctor" -- it should be the first hit.

Good luck,

Indigo S.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you marry please marry because you are in love and not because your biological clock is ticking. Not trying to be snarky because I have seen a number of these unions and they, at the very least, do not appear to be shall we say, healthy.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read all the comments, it's only to your original piece I am commenting, so this may have been said before by someone else... take it as reinforcement in that case...

Tick, tock, tick, tock, who's afraid of an old dead croc? Naturally being a guy, I'm looking at this differently, so it'd be handy if you meet me at the frontier. It's not for naught that there are many stories of guys that have been roped buy women who felt the need to have children. Sometimes those stories have perfectly happy endings. Other times, you look back on 10 years of marriage and say the words: "Well, at least I have 2 beautiful children..." The rest of your life could be a wreckage, you may wish you never met the parent of those children, but at least you have them. Notice how this sword cuts both directions? I don't have to put gender in because it can happen to either. [um, yeah, true story...]

What is to be done? You are certainly tired of hearing your various options. So you know them. I could enumerate the potential downsides, but that doesn't help you, directly... But you should at least take a look at them. Like the part where in all your long life of about 80 years, 20-30 are the only ones with kids in them, directly. Sure when you are in your 60's you relate to your kids, but they are adults then...
That leaves 50-60 years of the rest of life. Are you interested in choosing that later part to be a constant acrimonious fued with your opposite parent, just because your biology demands it? It may well be far better for you to go solo at a fertility bank, than to have that. Especially if you have a family who is understanding enough to support the endevour. Perhaps you will meet the ideal partner later.

You may be convinced I am looking the wrong way through the telescope. :shrug: But that is how the kind of single focus drive you are speaking of looks to me. You are looking for someone to mate with, rather than partner with. The partner aspects DO take time, and they ARE difficult. If you cannot wait, then you are driving the search for a mate based on the bioclock, and you are hoping against hope, that the mate will also work out as a partner.

From his side of the coin, this is a trap, pure and simple. This is why it irks guys just a bit. You are interested in them as a person secondary to their ability to provide you with childen. Guys do that to in some cases too. The upshot to that can be a fair amount of time in servitude for the guy. Once you have your kids, are you still going to need him? Or will you only need the money?

I know you are a slave to this biology in ways I can't fathom, but are you willing to dictate the life of several sovereign individuals because of that? I have seen this go several different ways in my core family, beyond my own misfortune. The question always comes back to this one: Why do you WANT to bring a child here? Beyond making decisions for yourself. Beyond making decions for a mate. You are making decidions for a NEW individual [or more]... It might be that you want to have an answer to that question before make your mind up. Are you willing to say that your own biological clock should be making life choices for three or more people?

And no, you don't get to say it's not up to you. It IS YOUR body.
You have a boatload of options pro and con. It is you who must decide and act. It is you who must persuade a mate to go along and become a partner if that is your direction. It is you who must gamble that you aren't going to get everything. That you will find a partner that didn't reveal all to you. That the partner you choose may change his mind. Or that the child you do have is not what you expected.

I wish you luck, and I hope you would go solo rather than trapping anyone...
D

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was 28 years old, a dear friend, long ago married, sent me something in the mail. The envelope looked like it contained a card or an invitation. As I happily opened it, a pink ribbon tumbled out, attached as a bow to the corner of her baby announcement. She had a new baby girl, my dear friend did. I stood there in my apartment, all alone, while a sob poured up from somewhere I didn't even know existed. I cried and cried, and I hated my friend. I mean I really, truly despised her. I sent a gift, and a congratulatory note, but I didn't mean a word of it. My envy and longing for a baby was all-encompassing. That day, I knew I would never have a baby of my own.

Well, as the story goes, I dropped the loser boyfriend, opted for one who would make a great dad, and two years after that baby announcement arrived I sent out my own. With a pink ribbon in the corner.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That post is incredibly sexy. If I didn't have 4 kids of my own I would make an attempt to ease your longing...

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too concerned with my career... unable to find the right partner... suddenly I found myself in my 40's and childless. But guess what, now I'm a step-mom. It's wonderful. I love every aspect of it and the kids appreciate how much I love and take care of them. Of course, since another woman had the children, my body didn't suffer pregnancy and childbirth. What I am trying to say is - you never know how kids will come into your life. If you aren't set on reproducing yourself or 'immortality' for your gene pool, there are many ways to bring children into your life. Just remain loving, open and positive... and it will happen

2:26 PM  
Blogger TM Lutas said...

It astonishes me that I've read through the whole thread and not come across a straightforward defense of textbook western christian dynamics. Go look at how we got to 6 billion people and try to find bits of those cultures that are still around (I know they are, that's how I got married) and make yourself a part of that.

Find God and start going to church socials. Maybe a nice conservative jewish boy would be willing to help you convert. Stay away from the people who say (or whose social/spiritual leaders say) divorce is ok, that kids are optional, that you can have it all without sacrifice. You already know *that* is a crock.

I'd recommend eastern catholics because that's my own culture but there's plenty of others with a deep respect for life. That deep need for kids is a small piece of the package. If you don't wrap it with the rest of a viable culture, you're going to regret it.

2:36 PM  
Blogger paul a'barge said...

I'm going to go home and put on the movie "Russia House" and have a nice glass of wine and remind myself that magic only happens when you abandon it.

this desperation, which is more painful for me than for anyone else ... than for anyone else?

Bingo. Self. Mirror. Introduce yourself.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

It is hard to believe that any man who is of age to be seeing a woman of 30ish years would be scared off by her desire for children. Are men today such pansies? So selfish? Narcissistic? Cowardly? Immature?

It must be, as I have two wonderful daughters who are going through the same thing. My mom always told me it was really hard for a smart, strong woman to find a man to match her, because the really good ones are snapped up by other smart, strong women.

Mom was right.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you should consider someone older. I met the girl of my dreams a few weeks before my 50th birthday and had a beautiful son when I was 52 (my first child) with my 33 year old bride.

AT this age I’m done sowing wild oats and have a great time taking care of my son 3 days a week. (We have our own business together and each work 3 days a week while the other stays home with our son.) I never could have done it at 20 or 30 because I was more interested in ME, getting laid, and making money. Now I love daddyhood!

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 41 and childless, and fairly happy, and I just wanted to remind you that sometimes things change: what we want, what makes us happy, what makes us the best people. I always, always thought I wanted kids - I just love them - and was fairly depressed around the age of 35 in much the same way you were (though not as intensely). But it gradually faded. Now I wish I were married, but the kids part is not a big deal any more.

So, I'm not suggesting that you go back on your plans to change your life in order to find the right mate and have kids - it may well be worth it for you, and of course it is a totally legitimate and deep desire. (Just remember that you have to actually raise these kids with this guy - that seems to be a much bigger hurdle for people who seem great with each other and are completely in love from the outset.) But do remember that those of us who head into our forties without kids are not all miserable and lost, and that you might feel differently in five years.

I also suggest that you find a way to keep children in your life - my life has been really enriched by by nieces and nephews and friends' kids, and by tutoring at an elementary school. It seems to me your thirties are a time when you should be with kids, and you may fulfill some of your needs through that. (And you should really think deeply about what those needs are: being with a baby? caring for a young child? having someone care for you when you're older?)

Good luck!

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Tassled Loafered Leech said...

FWIW, look to men who are divorced with kids. They won't mind one or two more. Worked for me and my second wife, whom I married when she was 39, kids at 40 and 42.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Kirk said...

John (3:25am),

FWIW, as a fellow boomer (but not divorced) I'm just the opposite of you.

That is, there's no shortage of cute women out there, but life is way to short to spend time with those that don't have something else but mere looks going for them. It sounds like Dizzy and Paul agree with me...

6:27 PM  
Blogger Andy Johnson said...

Don't compromise. Men will rise to the level of expectation of women that they care about. My Grandmother said that. It is true. When you are valued and respected nothing speaks louder than deeds.

Quit spending time with boy-men and focus on people of responsibility. Men feel the same urges to protect, defend and provide... This is the "Fatherhood" clock kicking in. Give us a good reasons to do the right thing. Having been dumped by the women who fall for the bad-boy, we have been burned.

Kids are a lifelong commitment. Both parents should be focused on that same successful child goal. When children arrive no other person is any longer important. Only the child is important-ask them. As they grow they will need one then the other to provide something intangible but crucial at a given moment. You must provide the quantity time that provides them the quality moments they will use and remember.

If the man or woman is not willing to set aside their prolonged childhood then they should not have children.

There is more to life than self gratification. Bringing another human to adulthood has value beyond any degree, any toy, any financial success... A successful marriage and child rearing is something that no amount of money can purchase, no other human can give you. It must be earned, one day-one hour at a time. Looking backwards, those days and hours were as minutes in a movie that almost happened to someone else.

Good Luck... Make the man be worthy of you and you will have to work to be worthy of him...

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Forty-five year-old slacker said...

I would echo Anonymous at 3:25 PM. I'm no spring chicken myself, and it's taken me a while to grow up. But at age 45, I'm starting to think in terms finding someone to settle down and raise a family with, as hackneyed as that sounds.

Now, if only I would get off the dime and get a job commensurate with my education. (I have a BS in mechanical engineering from a good school [Univ. of Delaware] and am currently a warehouse worker-bee. It's what I do when I can't think of anything better to do with myself.) I'm just old-fashioned enough to want to contribute my fair share to the household finances. Thirteen bucks an hour doesn't cut it when I could be earning a lot more.

Keep your eyes open, Megan. There's nice guys out there. We just may be in unlikely places.

Good luck finding a man with whom you can be happy and who will find happiness with you.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Try China or India and be clear to men there, probably shorter than you, that you're looking for man to love, live with, and have babies with.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gasp! I read ALL THE WAY THROUGH 83 COMMENTS (that's how many there were before I clicked your comment link, now there are 85). I knew exactly what point I wanted to make and then BAM! at number 82 someone jumped in and stole it from my keyboard. Curse you, "tassled loafer leech!"

There something else I want to comment on though, which is this notion that men have got all the time in the world. Interestingly, a guy in my bookgroup was lamenting the nonsense of that not very long ago.

He began by remarking that the Anna Nicole Smith style of May-December romance is notorious precisely because it is so rare. The vast majority of men partner with women whose age is ± 4 years of their own. Indeed, by far the most statistically relevant variable two people can share in terms of their likelihood to mate is not race, education, or social class, but age range.

And his regret was that most of the women he seems to meet lately are no longer listening to their biological clocks. They have given up, and so must he. As unappealing as the idea is to most women of having a child and raising it alone, it at least is a viable possibility. Not so for the man who can't rent a womb for nine months and a couple of boobs for a year or two...

~pfish

8:01 PM  
Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Hi Megan!

Don't lose hope OK? I'm 49, my son is nearly 6. My partner's just a year younger than me. We've been married for 26 years.

We only had the one, but the odds against us becoming parents were astronomical, far worse than the 1% chance we'd been given a while ago.

I desperately wanted children from about 10 years old, though I wasn't too clear about the details of how that was accomplished. At age 12, I was told I could never be a mother.

I was infertile - just. Hormonally freakish. We had many miscarriages in the three years before we hit the jackpot.

What I'm trying to say, poorly, is that you may still be fertile at 40, or even 45. Don't give up, you will be a wonderful Mom. But don't just blog about it, get p and do something about it!

8:05 PM  
Blogger altoids1306 said...

Hi Megan:

I am simultaneously 24 and male, so it is quite likely that there is nothing I say that will be of value to you. Nonetheless, I'll offer my thoughts for whatever they are worth. (Linked through asymmetrical information). I have read a somewhat random sampling of the comments.

First, thank you for your candor, it's very refreshing, and very needed in our present age. Honesty and political-correctness rarely mix well. And like most men my age, any glimpse into the female psyche, even over the anonymous internet, are very welcome. Your situation is difficult and I sympathize, and although I have advice to offer, I doubt you will find it comforting. All I can really say is that I do know women who have married in their 30s, and have done so without making undue sacrifice, and have gone on to have happy marriages. A close female relative married at 34, and now has a 5-year marriage with 2 children. It does happen.

Now, for the advice that is uncomfortable but, I believe, accurate. Attracting a partner is not a matter of personal qualification, but qualification in relation to the competition - in other words, competitive advantage. Men can't make babies, so indicators of fertility, youth and beauty, are universally attractive to men (surprise surprise). Even enlightened men can't resist biology. You need to find other competitive advantages. Good cooking (I'm being completely serious), emotional maturity, and/or intellectual sophistication can help you beat the competition. Identify what makes you different and seek men you think appreciate those differences.

I don't think there's anything wrong showing your interest in having babies. Really. Some men might be intimidated/scared, but it's better to know upfront that waste your time. Screen them out early. Most men appreciate the honesty. Good luck to you.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Erik said...

Jenn

What about being a thirty-some man who knows what he wants, and knows it isn't kids makes him a Selfish, narcissistic, cowardly, immature pansy?

One could say women who share Megan's view are all those things with just as much evidence, and fairness.

It isn't ever wrong to know what you want or don't want and act accordingly.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan,

My heart bleeds for you. So many comments here have it right, as your original post does too. As a rule, men in your age group know all about the biological clock -- and they don't care. They assume that if the urge strikes them to have kids, they can always find someone younger.

So it's true love, and true love only that will get you where you want to go. The problem is, men (and women) who have stayed single through and past age 35 are so jaded from fucking so many other people, they don't trust even their authentic emotions. They grow ironic distance from them. Any Seinfeld episode is a good illustration of this.

My feeling is you should hold out for true love, and try to calm this baby urge until you find it. It's a Zen type of thing. The quickest route to your goal begins with a step away from it.

As for your readers in their twenties, especially the ladies: Marry young. Marry while love and sex are still confusing and confused. Marry while it's still possible to go insane for someone, and for someone to go insane for you. Having kids in your 20s is inconvenient, especially for the woman. Well, life's a bitch. It's just the way it is. You'll find a law or engineering school that will take you when you're 46, after your kids are out of school, if professional achievement is so important. It might be less than you're entitled to, but it will bring happiness if you have your kids first, raise them, then start climbing the career ladder. Megan, you are a case study of what happens if you dance away from the insane love urges of your early 20s, and I don't think you like it much. I wish you all the luck in the world, and would certainly date you if I was available.

-- 50 year old man

4:07 AM  
Anonymous Claudia K. said...

Colin said:

I know that my female friends had almost nothing useful to tell me about how to find a woman -- it seemed like they should know something about it, but it turns out that things look so different from opposite sides that most everything they had to say was useless or misleading. The most common advice, "just be yourself," was actively counterproductive, since "being myself" meant being quiet and retiring and not bothering strange women. (The one exception of useful advice I got from female friends was on how to dress better.)

That is all so true. We are not helpful, because we don't really understand what it's like to be male.

I have spent a lot of lonely lonely years struggling with trying to find a partner, and running again and again into the problem that the ones I'm attracted to weren't interested in me, and probably to some extent vice versa (though of course many women are so trained not to make the first move that I probably don't even know who was in that category).

That last part is also very true. In my defence, I will say that I had to learn from difficult experience that it was better to wait for the man to get around to making the first move. Not that it didn't "work" when I was more proactive, but it set the wrong tone for the relationship, with me too much in charge (even when that was the last thing I wanted to be).

If it makes any difference, I really liked reading your post. It reminded me so much of my favorite male friends who absolutely deserve great women but are somehow unable to find one who valued what they had to offer. I tried dating a bunch of those loveable, wonderful guys, and the problem I always ran into was that they were too deferential to me, not male-acting enough. There's nothing wrong with this as a personality trait, but the problem is there seems to be a kind of chemical reaction in my brain, so if someone does not act assertive enough I tend to become more so, which I intensely dislike. I feel like the worst version of myself, not feminine, and not sexy. And I know this is not just me, because I've seen it in a lot of my female friends. They become very irritable and aggravated in their relationships. Which is not exactly magic for getting a man to feel more "in charge" (to use an imperfect phrase) and protective of you.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Deep Thought said...

This is a tough thing to write, I am sure.

As a man with 4 kids and a 37 year old wife who wants 3-4 more, I know the stress that this desire can place on a woman - from a man's perspective. And that is what you now need to consider!

Here is my advice - if you are willing to go through the decisions you mention, look for a well-educated man (maybe not 'conventionally' well-educated - an IT type, a certified craftsman like a carpenter or metalworker, etc. All must be smart and relatively well-read!). Many men your age and older are also realizing their career doesn't fill every void. Unlike some here, I suggest you avoid diverced fathers if you can. Widowers and guys who used to travel a lot for work are good.

The Christian denominations that reject divorce are a top choice (Catholic, Orthodox) because religious commitments mean men in those traditions are more likely to either marry very young or delay marriage until about 40, plus they value children, plus they will avoid divorce.

Remember what the Victorians said; love is important, but mutual respect and shared values will lead to love. Marrying a man who love now but don't share values with is far worse *from the viewpoint of children* than marrying a man you respect and who respects you.

Good luck. Hang in there.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

A very good friend of mine elected to have a baby by a man she chose on an intentionally momentary basis. Her child has since graduated from college and she has always been vocally pleased with her choice. -- Extreme, but doable if you so choose.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Erik...No, I didn't mean that. I have no problem at all with a person who decides to remain childless for whatever reason. I think it is a shame, as educated, moral people don't have enough children, but I can understand why people make that choice. I am talking about men who see that look in a woman's eye and immediately run the other way like a dog on bath day. They only want to get laid. They don't want their lifestyle inconvenienced. Etc.

I do not mean to imply that all men are like that, or even that most are, but the fact that anyone is surprises me. I can see it at 20, but not at 30. By then you ought to be growing up, and that means the sorts of permanent comittments that marriage and family require, as well as all the joys that go along with them.

I think there is some truth to the axiom about buying the cow when you can get the milk for free--too many young people today want the milk, but that darn cow represents waaaay too much trouble...you have to feed her, and provide a place for her to live, and, gosh...stuff. Bummer that, I'll just find another cow who will give me all the milk I want with no strings attached.

Call me old fashioned, but I feel strongly that the family unit is what holds society together, and when people don't figure that out until they're 40, it's getting way too close to being way too late. I'm not saying that people should marry early and reproduce right away whether it's the right person or not, and I understand the desire to find Mr. or Miss Right. One should be able to get all that playing around stuff over with before they turn 30, and if they haven't, then yeah...they're bordering on the adjectives I used in my previous post. Chosing to be childless is using your head, running away from adult responsibilites in favor of having fun is using your gonads.

Men are great--I have two sons whom I love dearly and who will be great husbands and fathers when their time comes. The older one, pushing 30, is just now beginning to look at his married friends and realize that his life is much poorer than theirs and that he's been an idiot for thinking he can fill a lot of emptiness with all the stuff he tries. The younger one? Well, a smart woman got him already, and he's smart enough to be glad she did. He's not going anywhere.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Claudia K. said: "there seems to be a kind of chemical reaction in my brain, so if someone does not act assertive enough I tend to become more so, which I intensely dislike. I feel like the worst version of myself, not feminine, and not sexy."

I think this is a different side of the same coin Bruce Charlton was getting at with the "high status" stuff. I think the thing I most had to learn was assertiveness. Long, difficult process, changing one's demeanour, but it can be done, enough, eventually.

There's probably some equivalent for women, but I wouldn't be in a position to know what it is. Unless it's to do with appearance, and the beauty industry has been all over it for centuries.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am somewhat amazed by the older guys (let's say 35+) who think they don't have to worry about biological clocks because they can always date younger women (as in less than 30). The solipsism is for to laugh! Alas, they must be deluded that they inhabit an alternate universe from the one which affects the rest of society.

Hello! If the girls weren't in to you when you were younger and hotter, what makes you think your softer belly and balder pate has made you a great catch to the next class of college grads? If you think having a little more money will help then I have news for you, my pumpkins. Unless it's the kind of mega-money that has bimbos leaving you love messages day and night (in which case how DO you find time lounge around so much on the internets, naughty boy?) don't expect that to offer you an edge! No, no, no - more money is the price of entry - what you will HAVE to have in order to still compete poorly against the looks, energy, and fitness of the younger guys. The "secret" is out: aging isn't just for women anymore. After all, when is the last time you saw attractive young women at the peak of their game helplessly drawn to the sad old guy hanging out late at the club?

Seriously, people want to date and mate people their own age. You may be sure that you've discovered the magic formula "I'll just marry someone younger!" But, by Jove, it turns out that idea has been tried before. And if it were a formula for success then we would expect to see many such pairings in the general population. But, we don't. Instead, the vast majority of couples are very close in age.

Perhaps it is more related to resource acquisition than fertility, but it turns out that girls prefer youth and energy in their mates, too.

Sorry boys, but what happens when you prolong your adolescence indefinitely, is that when you finally get around to popping the question? You're the one whose going to be shelling out mega-bucks for your wife's fertility treatments.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Folks, I have been largely impressed with how well you've followed my obscure comments policy, and grateful to all of you who sent messages of optimism and understanding.

BUT. I hate messages that overgeneralize, or who send snippy messages to the other gender, or who generally revel in their own cleverness. The one above is like that, and there have been a few others. This is not a blog for mean generalizations about the other gender. Take it somewhere else, or better, abandon it completely. We've heard sweet testimonials from men in many different situations; too many situations to say snide things about all men.

So BE KIND here. There are kind AND true things to say here. But if you have to choose, being kind is more important than whatever story you decide is true. If you cannot be kind, you are always free to say nothing.

Men, I am sorry you read the above comment on my blog. Women, I'm sorry for any nasty comments you've read above those. This is my home and you are welcome, and I am sorry that my other guests were rude to you. It reflects poorly on me.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Laika's Last Woof said...

"The most common advice, 'just be yourself,' was actively counterproductive ..."
Right, like if your thing just happens to be Civil War reenactment you just lost the "be yourself" lottery.
I'm not saying be fake, I'm just saying you have to filter your spectrum of the frequencies that won't resonate.

Advice Megan can use ... there is a whole legion of guys out there who find motherhood extremely sexy. Rather than be "scared off" by talk of having children such men are turned on by it.
Unfortunately for you the availability of single mothers creates some serious competition. This may sound like a trifle but to us men it is impossible to overstate the importance of sex, and single mothers are a sure thing.
Here's what I mean: some women lose their appetite after having a child, but a single mother has passed the trial -- if she's a lioness at this point she's going to stay hungry for the rest of her life. If she's not at least you find out before you've committed to anything.
I don't know a realistic way for you to overcome their advantage, at least not in the beginning.
You need to put your desire for children up front to screen out the guys who don't want them, yet nothing screams "post-partum frigidity" like a woman who expresses an abstract goal to reproduce.
The right way to proposition a guy for fatherhood is to appeal to his ego, tell him you want to have HIS children, but if you bust out with "I want to have your babies" on the first date that would likely end in disaster.
The best way for you to neutralize the single mother's greatest advantage would probably be to casually find ways of suggesting that you're turned on by men who are good with children. By associating your sexuality with his skill at parenting you're reassuring your prospect that having children will make you desire him more, not less.
What I'm telling you is what would work on me. YMMV.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Laika's Last Woof said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Claudia K. said...

Colin said:

There's probably some equivalent for women, but I wouldn't be in a position to know what it is.

I would say it's agreeableness :)

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just took a look around to see the wonderous variety of comments, and read my own... so I suppose if I read harsh in my own eyes, it would be all the more so in yours... suffice to say I wouldn't accuse you of looking to trap anyone, I was speaking more broadly, of the way it can feel to a man.

It's a paradox and true, that the more experienced guys get in life, the more likely we are to view the life beyond us with interest. The more likely compromise with a partner may be. Many have commented at their older age that family is much more welcome. Perhaps the issue is not only meeting the 'right' [quite the complex issue] guy. Perhaps it is meeting enough guys to find one.

Look for the subtlety, rather than the overt. The poster who commented about 'too deferential' turning her brain away... I can see that, but guys who have had most of their rough edges smoothed by life... they might strike you that way. Those of us who are looking for a partner rather than a servant, might also act this way a bit. It is no great shame to treat everyone equally, with courtesy.

Honestly, the different tack is caused by the ideas you mentioned about finding a mate, as part of the child equation. If it's to be the first part of the equation, perhaps a better focus is there. Before you eviscerate me with a dull deer antler, I can imagine that you have been looking long and hard for a mate. Occasionally it may help to step back and take stock. Talk truth with yourself. Is there something specific that is holding you back? Are you still treating the 'scene' like you did in your early 20's? Do you contiually make excuses to not do the things you think may help you succeed? I do. I know I'm not the only one. I also know that breaking through is lots of small steps, small enough that you can't tell yourself no...
FWIW

D

2:26 PM  
Blogger Kevin Jaeger said...

If you want to know why lot's of men don't seem to be the marrying type you can read an explanation stripped of all subtlety by Fred Reed here:
http://fredoneverything.net/Reimer.shtml

Particularly in a post that tells men to F-You over and over, you mind find Fred's thoughts either illuminating or infuriating. An excerpt:
Were I to offer thoughts on marriage to young American men today, in these the declining years of a once-great civilization, my advice would be as follows: Don't do it. Or, if you do, do it in another country. In America marriage is a grievous error.

And why so? Because of The Chip. The Attitude. The bandsaw whine of anger, anger, anger that makes American women an international horror. It's there. It's real.

You, a young man, may not recognize the Chip if you have never seen normal, warm, happy women. If you are twenty-something and haven't been out of the US, you haven't seen them. They exist by the billion--in Latin America, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaya, China and, last I looked, France and Holland. And of course not every woman in America carries the Chip. None of them think they do. Yet it is the default, the usual, what comes out of the box. [...]
Now, you might well wonder, why are American women carrying the Chip? Practically, it doesn't matter: They do carry it, and will continue. Still, it is partly because from birth they are fed the notion that they have been oppressed, battered, cheated, deprived, harassed, used as sex objects, not used as sex objects, on and on. Being rational, you are perhaps inclined to point out that never has a female population been less any of these things, but don't bother. It will have no effect.


But read the whole thing to enjoy it.

Or this one:
http://fredoneverything.net/MoonPie.shtml

5:40 PM  
Blogger Laika's Last Woof said...

Heh, I'd always thought of a woman with "The Chip" by another name, the "PhD Princess".
Many highly-educated women are sane, balanced, and emotionally stable ... many are not.

Advice for Megan ... your bio says you're an engineer. Be proud of that and proud of your male colleagues, who incidentally significantly outnumber you.
All engineers secretly believe what they do is really cool but that the rest of the world is filled with idiots who don't realize it, and most secretly long to meet a woman who understands.
Tap into that giant engineer ego and you'll have your male peers eating out of the palm of your hand. When you're out with an engineer, don't be afraid to be one yourself.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Bruce G Charlton said...

I have found this posting and the comments fascinating, and a couple of days reflection leads me to venture some (evolutionary theory-based) practical advice intended to be helpful - both to men and women.

If you are not meeting marriageable people in your current life this may be because you are only meeting people of the same age and in the same job. Widen the search.

The key is non-work social activities (NWSAs), those with a mixture of men and women, those where a formal organization or activity is combined with opportunities for semi-structured socializing.

NWSAs include creative activities of all types, artistic, dramatic, musical, crafts, performance, sports; and also religious, spiritual, political, charitable and ethical organizations.

For women the strategy is to sample several NWSAs at the same time – maybe choose three NWSAs and devote an hour or two a week to each. Don’t get too deep into any one of them, don’t get burdened with responsibility. Just participate, enjoy and appreciate.

For men, try a few NWSAs then pick one that you like and are good at – and get better at it. Take positions of responsibility and leadership wherever possible. Or start an organization, or club, or journal, or arrange meetings or outings.

The logic is that men who are not excelling in the educational or work sphere may have talents, skills, moral strength, leadership qualities which will be manifested elsewhere in non-work social activities – and which may elicit respect, admiration, even attraction from women. Women need to know about and probably experience these NWSAs in order to become aware of these men and their qualities.

Hope this is useful.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Nausicaa said...

Hello,
I think you are making some basic mistake here. It's wrong to search for a partner with an immediate objective to have kids with him. What if after you have kids it doesn't work out? How would it be different from just getting pregnant from a sperm donor (which is btw something you can always do if you don't find a partner in time)? I think it can actualy be worse, since it'll leave both of you emotionally scared, and also you'll be less prepared to raise the kid on your own, since you didn't plan it in advance. If I were in your situation, I wouldn't rush it as you are describing you already do. I'd search for a partner who does want kids, but not neccesarily immediately. And I won't make concessions just because this guy is ready to marry and have kids right away. It's better to have a responsible partner who's fun to be with and whom you love and a kid from donor sperm, or adopted, or whatever, then a disfunctional marriage with someone you hurried to marry to have kids naturally.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This might help: we had our first and only kid when I was 40 and my wife was 46. Our girl M is perfect in every way. We love her to pieces, and eachother too, though M is at the center.

Also, I'm not bucking for Mr. Model Dad award nor would I deserve it, but having M is *much* more fun and fulfilling than I had believed it would be, and much less onerous or scary. It's hard to believe in advance, though, and ours may make that easier than average.

I hope you get what you've wanted. Go and make it happen.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your primary goal is to have a baby, I suggest adoption or artifical insemination, because at your age, there are health risks if it takes too much longer in order to have children. My mother had her first kid at 32 and her last at 41 and she's had to have enough surgery as a result that the cost of it could have put most of us through college. (Thankfully, we managed to afford college anyway)

Otherwise, you may well have to give up on children by the time you find someone and get married.

Not that single motherhood is very easy, but so many relationships collapse these days that you are going to have to plan for the likelihood that if you do find someone and get married and have a baby, there's still a pretty good chance it will end badly, and then you will be stuck raising your kid alone anyway.

There are lots of guys who don't want children, so it's best you be honest straight up with them as early as possible. This will drive off lots of guys (It would drive me off), but you're better off that way, as if you want kids that badly, you need a man who as enthusiastic as you are. They do exist, though at your age, many of them are, unfortunately for you, already married to someone.

Good luck. Raising a child can be very rewarding, though you'll find it very aggravating at times as well. I wish you luck, though I fear you may end up not achieving your goal unless you are willing to just go out and adopt or get artificially inseminated, as finding someone to marry is not a fast process if you want to avoid marrying someone you'll regret later.

John Biles

6:35 AM  
Blogger Alysia said...

Do you have an age range? I think I would like to set you up.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Bruce G. Charlton at 1:42 wins for the funniest comment: a long lecture to Megan on the importance of Non Work Social Activities. Suitably acronym-ized to NWSA. (Regular readers of this blog, or people who know Megan, will understand the humor here).

I mean this in the kindest possible way!

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Robert Herrick said...

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying :
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer ;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry :
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.

11:20 AM  
Blogger S.M. Stirling said...

You might consider having some ova frozen.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. I am a nearly 40 year old man, who has only now been married for a year (to a 30 year old woman).

When we met and started dating, we were both very honest with each other that we were looking for marriage and wanted kids right away.

And just so you know, as a man, while I probably don't feel it as physicall or intensely as you, for a number of years I was feeling the same things about marriage and kids. Who wants to be over 50 years old with a 10 year old kid?

Unfortunately, although we have been trying to get her pregnant for over a year, we have had no luck, and are into our second month of artificial insemination. So, even after marriage, the process continues.

But, keep hope alive - there are guys out there who have the same desires and goals as you.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous katie said...

Beautifully expressed. I just wanted to say bless you, and thank you for writing this, for all the other women (and, though probably not as many, the men) who are feeling this way.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mom would say, "What a potty-mouth!"

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not desperate, you are wise,

I am 45 yrs of age, female, who was inculcated in my youth to believe the Second Wave movement that having children would ruin my life, my career, trap me forever in poverty and deny my search for self-identity. I followed the sisterhood and not my own self, now it is too late for me. I am facing a barren old age that no career nor wealth nor anti-aging treatments will ever fulfill.

You are wise in that you did not wait until the age of 43 to realize that time is not on your side. I believe a man in whom you can believe in will come to you.

One of the biggest regrets I have in my life was believing that males and females are equalized when nature shows us we are complimentary to one another.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Knemon said...

"It isn't ever wrong to know what you want or don't want and act accordingly"

Doesn't that sort of depend on what it is that you want?

11:45 AM  
Blogger mcg said...

I know we men don't have bioloigical clocks, at least not to the same degree, but the awareness that women do has a certain impact. When I met my future wife I had already decided not to waste my time dating people who weren't lifelong material. She felt the same way.

She was 39, and I was quite surprised by her age because she looked so much younger. She was wonderful (of course) but I thought of that damn clock. It really was my only concern about her age but it was there.

After our first date I just laid it out. I said that if we ultimately got married, it was OK if we didn't have kids. But it wasn't OK not to try immediately once we were married. Thankfully she appreciated the spirit of my words and agreed with them to boot.

In the end, we needed medical assistance to have children. Ironically our difficulties in conceiving were partly due to my physiology as well as hers. That is, we were both to blame!

I am grateful for the one beautiful child we have. My wife is now kind of pissed that nobody convinced her of how good motherhood would be. She was convinced instead that she ought to focus on her career until the right man came along, clock be damned. I'm not pissed, because if she handn't done that, I wouldn't have met her---but I understand.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder you can't keep a guy.

Also, your assumption of the mind/body dichotomy, which leads you believe you haven't been "nurtured" (as opposed to "natured") into this mania, is pretty obvious. You want a kid desperately, obviously, but your observations on "why" can tell us very little--not that it matters.

12:12 PM  
Blogger mcg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

mcg:

Thank you for rising to my defense, but the comment policy here is affirmative kindness. That means kindness to EVERYONE, including people who leave rude comments.

Our goal here is to transform them into friends, make them be kind. It isn't for us to be less kind.

Please, show your best nature in my comments section, to each other, to women and men in general, and to me.

1:12 PM  
Blogger mcg said...

Fair enough! Post deleted.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Thanks. I appreciate that, friend.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're fairly cute so you should do all right. I don't think guys are all that attracted to women who write the word FUCK so much- just saying. You may want to clean up your act a little. DBR

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan, I have a close friend, married with 4 kids. He wants to leave his wife. Because he is raising kids and the last child has 2 years left before graduating high school I told him he has no choice to make for the next two years. He must stay and find a way to make a family life. Children trump any level of personal want or need. Any. This reasoning applies to your dilemma. Your very, very valid need to have a child does not trump a child's need to have a two-parent family. Yes, it happens. Yes, a single parent can do a good job. But, by all accounts, a married set of parents provide the best possible chance of a good upbringing. There is, I'm sorry to report, no choice to make because a child's needs trump yours - however desperate and painful - every time.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Wow, what a post & some great responses. My bio: i was 30 when i got married, & 35 when my first child (Emily Jean) was born. She is the apple of my eye.

My wife is 7 years younger than me, so we never felt any time pressure until just now; we want to start our 2nd but I just got a new job that will require a lot of travel for the next year...

But we'll work it out.

I am sorry you're an atheist since God has plans for you & believing in him will help you find that plan.

But I know this...if you become friends with a man & fall in love, the rest kind of comes naturally. If you put sex or any other want or desire in the first place instead of where it belongs...nothing will work out.

Any any so-called man that is afraid of children & a loving wife isn't going to do you or your future child any good.

God bless you & I hope you achieve what you're looking for.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think your "fuck off" attitude is excellent, and it's just what mine was. i actually told men i was dating that a) there was a time limit and b) it wasn't my fault, but biology's, so why should i apologize for it and c) i'm not going to waste my time so if i'm still dating you after 2 yrs (or so) and there is no proposal then i'm taking off. i know, SO RETROGRADE. and yet so realistic. and anyway, it worked.

i've always used the visual of the door closing on the death star where luke and leia jump through it just in time before being smushed by it. the door is closing on women, like it or not -- and the ridiculous career expectations imposed on women now make it worse. before age 26, it's all "DON'T GET MARRIED, WAIT WAIT". after age 26, it's all "SO, GETTING MARRIED ANYTIME SOON?". the rushed-ness of it sneaks up on women. bottom line, if someone thinks you are desperate and has the poor manners to say so, dump him. there is nothing wrong with arranging your life consicously to enable having children. GOOD LUCK.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Auto Report World Editors said...

Megan,

Are you willing to sign a prenup that will give the father of your children at least joint legal and joint physical custody should you decide that you don't need him anymore?

Many men don't relish the idea of being kicked to the curb as retroactive sperm donors. They also don't like being forced into indentured servitude.

There is no such thing as reproductive choice for men. Their children can be aborted against their wishes and they can be compelled to support a child they don't want.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

postscript to my 3:26pm: i think men find it refreshing to hear a woman say "yeah, i too wish i could be young free and single for 30 or 40 more years -- join a rock band, write a novel, travel the world --and THEN have a family, but biology forces me to think about this stuff now. it's a drag but it's a fact. i'm just being realistic, not desperate." men can relate to that, and that approach makes them less defensive (it also has the virtue of being absolutely true)

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was struck in the original post by what was missing: where were the details about what would be offered the man who would be responsible for the impregnation? Where was the mention of LOVE for said man, or even so much as interest in his happiness she would insure?

This is exactly the reason why men like myself have developed radar against these types of women. The whole post wreaks of "me, Me, ME!" Its all about what she wants, nothing about what her partner (who apparently would be kicked to the curb upon doing the deed) might want in return. I am in my last year of residency, and upon paying off my medical school debts, looking forward to meeting a good woman and starting a family. BUT, I want to start a REAL family, not some vehicle for procreation with some woman who wants the kid, without much interest in the man. Desperation in a woman is as detectible as stink on a pig, and it is NOT attractive in any way, shape or form.

Were the poster desperate for the love of a good man, desperate for building a life-long relationship with someone, instead of expecting some man to come along and be oh-so-happy to exchange bodily fluids towards the creation of another life, with no thought as to the long-term welfare of that life, she might be having better luck.

These are the women who do not value the contribution of a FATHER in a childs life, and their numbers grow more numerous by the day.

Luckily, men are on to you, and I am happy to say that the poster's odds are SLIM that she will achieve her goal, unless she decides on lesser male DNA for the other half of the contribution towards a new human being. It will take a man desperate for SEX, not love, a man with less to offer, less to share in terms of love, affection, trust, dependability, and likely CREDIT, for this person to find the man of her dreams, no, her ovulation.

Mark me down as disgusted, and glad for the knowledge that no only are selfish women like this out there, that they are now showing their cards soon enough to fold. As a man who loooooooooves women, it would really be nice were the attitudes expressed in the post so indicative of what we guys with anything on the ball have to watch out for.

I am afraid that we are losing an entire generation of women to these selfish attitudes, and that by the time some women get it, men like me will be interested only in women half their age.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if you toned down the profanity you might have better success in finding a man. I wouldn't expect a woman that constantly uses the F word to turn out to be that successful as a mother. Ex: I wish that f-ing baby would stop f-in crying. Any man that would make a respectable father would avoid those types of women.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

Most recent two posters: try reading some previous posts by Megan before you get that far out into left field, ok?

6:46 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Thanks, hon. So many new people, coming in with such strong ideas.

7:02 PM  
Blogger J. said...

If I were younger I would jump and shout "Me!" but now the best I can think of is recommend THE RULES - I think they work.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous ny said...

anon at 11:41 is right. the whole story that women are sold that a serious relationship/marriage/ kids means giving up your individuality and opportunity for self actualization in every part of your life has done a terrible diservice.

for any of the guys reading this the 'too deferential' comment is worth memorizing. guys who have been brought up to look for a "partner" are going to be looking for a long time. that isn't to say men and women aren't equal...they are. its just that they partake in different natures that while complementary have completely different parts. for whatever reason, women are attracted to guys who are confident and semi-aggressive.

I learned this the hard way. couple of years ago i was head over heals for this girl ..and she knew it and that I would do anything for her. And the fact that I wasn't confident with her, challenged her and project a value greater than her was a huge turn off. on paper, i supposedly should have had a good chance. she was better looking than me but not by alot. she wanted to have many kids and she was 29-31. I could make her laugh all the time. I graduated from a top b-school and make good money.

But the fact I was always trying to make everything equal between us to make sure we were partners killed the feeling for her. there was no feeling of being taken or pulled beyond herself. There was a feeling of standing side by side...friendship....a warm friendship but still.

I had another friend who is much younger than me and much better looking and she kept trying to steal me from the other girl. The biggest difference was that I was not concerned about us being partners so I was much more aggressive/confident.

the only question left is: if attraction isn't a choice, then what does love have to do with people?

And yes I feel bad that the girl i loved, who dumped me, has to deal with this issue of having many kids before 40.

8:03 PM  
Blogger cherry said...

hi, I know exactly how you feel, all through my 20s I never really wanted kids, this was because my self-esteem was so low (due to my upbringing) I thought I would never meet anyone that would love me enough to marry me and I knew I didn't want to raise kids on my own. Im now 35 and more confident about myself, but I feel I have left it too late, I too would like to meet someone special then have kids, I hope I have a couple of years left. I hope you meet someone special too because I know how you feel.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can buy sperms in the sperm bank.
Easy peasy.

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you want a baby or not? before you can respond what is your nationality or etnicity?

5:28 PM  
Anonymous octavia said...

hi

9:05 PM  
Blogger 烟雨遥 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lunatic. Are women really this fricking nuts!?! Good luck Charles Manson.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I had your intellect and your ability to convey your emotions in such an eloquent manner. I am a 42-year-old single woman with two children. I understand with complete and total clarity your feeling of a visceral ache for children. It's a soul ache. My children just kind of happened. But they were desparately wanted. The baby hunger was at times so bad, I would would wake up shaking uncontrolably. It's physically painful. I had my first child at the age of 29, and my second child at 39. You will get your babies, in your own time, on your own terms. Don't let anybody tell you what you can or cannot do. I cannot tell you how many times an insensitive male would ask my age and then tell me my fertility was "drying up." Even after these hurtful experiences, I went on to have two wonderful children. Life as a single mother is difficult, but the rewards ....
I'm at a loss for words at how lucky I feel. Some people would say they feel sorry for me, but they don't know me. I am ecstatically happy, even with no man in my life. Good luck to you as I already know you will succeed.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Megan,

After reading your blog post the other day I came across something today that discussed dating and committed relationships, so I looked you up again to share this.

It's about conscious dating - and this page seems to have some really good tips for avoiding the stress out/frustration moments. This isn't spam - (I personally wouldn't buy the correlated book) - but I wondered if it might be helpful to you.

BTW: good luck with finding the partner you want to be with, and build a family with. :)

Monica

2:49 PM  
Blogger marydelta said...

I'm getting turned on to your writings by a mutual friend, and I'm grateful she pointed me in your direction.

Something similar to this may have been posted already but...

I think your desires are totally rational and justified. I dated lots and lots of guys before I found the man I married and had kids with. "Being in love" wasn't enough to make me marry... it was our openly discussed and agreed upon desire for kids.

I think there are few things sexier than a clear understanding of what we want out of ourselves and our partners.

I support whatever you decide.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

Girl, get out of my mind! I am 34 and am going through the SAME THING. Even though I've had a steady boyfriend (he's 38) for the past eight months who also wants children, it's not looking like we're on the same page time-wise. He's the best man I've ever known and I don't want to break up with him OR "trap him" into anything but, once our year anniversary rolls around, if there's no progression in our relationship, I'm getting a sperm donor and I'm going to do it on my own. I still want to stay with him but I'm not going to risk losing my shot at motherhood.

1:13 PM  

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