I've always been into the idea of having children...someday. I'm praying that mine will be genetically blessed angels with impeccable manners, predictable bowel movements and a flare for fashion. None of this crying at 3am and shitting yourself in public business.
As you can see, my expectations of motherhood are grossly inflated, as is the case with most of my expectations in life. Even though I imagine myself having kids someday, it has always been this blurry possibility of my future, something I might get around to doing one day. While I'm bound to emotionally lactate at the sight of someone's kid, I'm not waiting in some kind of 'Knock Me Up' line. I haven't even taken a ticket yet. I'm still young, I've got time....at least I thought I did.
It's startling when you realise you're not on the same page as a lot of people in your life. For some, the idea of me producing kin is one to be celebrated, when just three or four years earlier it would have been the very worst thing that my loved ones could have wished upon me. It seems as though there has been some kind of universal shift that no one decided to tell me about, kind of like when people start calling you madam instead of dude. It's a completely out of the blue change in your life that you had absolutely no say in.
All of a sudden people are imagining what I'd look like with a bump, asking me what age I might consider squeezing another human from my body and telling me what a good mother I'll be someday.
I feel like screaming back to them, "IT TOOK ME THREE DAYS TO PUT MY IKEA BED TOGETHER. I CANNOT CARE FOR ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE YET! I AM STILL MILDLY INCOMPETENT AT 70% OF THE TASKS THAT I TAKE ON." I imagine having a baby is much like putting together ten pieces of IKEA furniture every single day for the rest of your life.
This all really terrifies me because I can't tell if: A) I've been too busy getting stupidly drunk to realise that I've already reached my mid-20s in what felt like three-fucking-seconds, B) maybe IKEA furniture is kind of easy to put together and I'm just not good at building stuff or C) society places unrealistic age hurdles on people, women in particular, thus making them feel out of the norm for not wanting, or feeling ready for, a particular hurdle that presents itself. Unfortunately, I think it's option D), all of the above.
What terrifies me even further is when I consider the years in between now and when I absolutely must have a baby before my body decides that it's no longer 'into' the idea of growing a foetus. Instead it just wants to sit around and watch Gilmore Girls re-runs living vicariously through someone else's fictional maternal bliss.
I feel like screaming back to them, "IT TOOK ME THREE DAYS TO PUT MY IKEA BED TOGETHER. I CANNOT CARE FOR ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE YET! I AM STILL MILDLY INCOMPETENT AT 70% OF THE TASKS THAT I TAKE ON OUTSIDE OF MY REGULAR ROUTINE."
Realistically, I probably have until I'm 40 (at the very latest) to have a healthy pregnancy sans complication. While that's still a blimp on my radar at this stage, I also have to consider the lead up to making said baby.
I'll probably want to be with the dude that I make a human with for a good chunk of time, you know, to make sure that we won't make a dud; that's probably ten years taken out. So now I've got until I'm 30, which feels a lot closer to my current age, 25, and I also have to consider the amount of dud dudes that I'll have to go though before I meet The One; preferably also someone who has impeccable manners, predictable bowel movements and a flare for fashion. Let's take off another 2 years for that to happen. So at 29, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away, I'm hoping to have landed a pancake making baby daddy with IKEA competency and a high sperm count.
That means I've got five years to enjoy non-baby-making sexual encounters with low sperm count humans before I have to start panicking. Okay, that's not too bad. I feel like I can handle that. Hopefully by that time I'll know a little more about how to hold a baby without touching its soft spot.
I also hope that I learn how to make lasagne by then.
Kate Neilson is a list maker and booty shaker. She is the Founding Editor at Twenty Something Humans and can be lurked @katiepotatierose.