When the Clock Strikes Baby (and No Partner’s in Sight)
What’s A Girl With Baby Fever to Do?
by Elisa Hatton
Biological clocks are a real thing — for men as well as for women, of course. It's just when that clock starts ticking that's pretty individual. I don’t have a memory of a time when I didn’t adore babies; of both the animal, and human kind. Anything “baby” that needed my help, I’d be there for it. I am writing this article in my head thinking ‘don’t sound like a crazy baby lady’, but I’m finding it hard to avoid that. We live in a culture where wanting a baby conjures up these images of desperate, loony-eyed mid-thirties women, drooling over babies in the mall, before they have to go back for their post-lunch work meetings. For the record: I don’t drool over babies in the mall. I say “hi”, in a very dignified voice, and keep all saliva inside my own mouth, thankyouverymuch. I would like to have a go at whose idea it was to label women who have an active interest in fertility ‘crazy’. My wild guess? Perhaps a few men had some say in this notion. Although they are rare, you do find boys who have always wanted to be dads, and even played with dolls when they were younger. Which, for the record, I do think is a healthy pastime for the future modern involved fathers of this world.
The truth is I was a mother before I was anywhere near pregnant. (I miscarried that baby, and yes it was as horrible as anyone can imagine). I have a very maternal personality, albeit one that is very focused on feeding people. You know that scene in the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where Tula is sad, and her mother says ‘Oh, Tula, eat something!’ That is basically my personality described in under 30 seconds. I also like to make sure everyone has a coat, and a jumper, and a fleece, and that everyone has eaten and where’s Geoff? Has anyone seen Geoff? He went off on his own?! Right. I’m going to find him.
Even though I don’t buy them (cut me a little slack), I do notice all the cute baby stuff in the stores. I try to just have a look, while my empty uterus feels like a black hole in the universe. (Okay, you got me, I might have bought a few things). In case you are feeling concern right now, I assure you, that they are stashed away deep in a cupboard where a one-night-stand will not find them.
The infertility feelings — which I in no way intend to compare to women who are TTC and struggling, or women going through IVF —-make me sad. It’s a sadness that stems from the fact that I could make a baby — I mean, I have all the gear — but I am blocked by circumstance. Like there is a wall between me, and my future baby, and I can hear it crying on the other side. There is a sense of urgency.
Sucking at manifesting the right baby daddy feels like a fertility fail. Dates feel less ‘young, wild and free,’ but honestly I’ve never been ‘young wild and free’. I also never want a guy to feel like ‘I want one thing’, I’m actually looking to have the right partner in crime for this crazy life thing too. I just happen to want one who is also a good dad. I mean you’d like a girl who’s a good mom right? Whatever you consider “good”, that is. You just never say that out loud because most boys ‘aren’t thinking about that sort of stuff yet’. They are supposed to be sowing their oats, or whatever breakfast themed euphemism is currently popular. I can imagine that would be kind of fun. ‘Good for you but not for me,’ as Amy Poehler would say. I do blame dating apps in part with how late men are allowing themselves to grow up these days, too much fun to be had, plus Picasso had kids in 70s right? Also girls, please send all the single guys you know my way. I am very very single.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to man trap you. Firstly I do have integrity, and tricking someone into being a dad would wrack me with guilt. Also, if he finds out, then my solo mumming adventure suddenly becomes a co-parenting-gig-with-a-guy-I-don’t-know adventure. There’s a lot of potential for that to be not fun at all.
On the other hand I’d be so psyched to date a guy who already had a baby or kids. That’s not off-putting to me at all. As long as he wants more kids, because I’d still like to have a go at being pregnant. I get I’m not your average 26 year old. I’m not going to go clubbing with you. But I have other things to offer; like looking after your baby when you thought you had to do it all alone, soothing your broken heart, and trying desperately to be friends with your ex against her will. Does she like her cupcakes chocolate or strawberry? I can even drop them off. She’s away in Paris? I will make a plan!
You want a mom bod? I already have that. What a joy. A couple of stretchmarks all over my butt, and not fat but ‘curvy’, and a tiny a pooch in the front, but Marilyn Monroe had that and she was a sex goddess. I mean why not carry that little bit of extra weight you cannot shift no matter what you try? It’s sexy, right? But seriously #fuckyourbeautystandards is already changing the world anyway. Tess Holliday has the bull by the horns, and all of us should be grateful damn it. But on to sex. I received a great piece of advice when I was younger, and it was that guys don’t care about your flabby bits, or your stretch marks, or your one boob being bigger than the other, when you are standing naked in front of them. They are just so excited that they are getting to have sex with you, that none of that matters. That’s a majorly nice thing about guys in my book, and no — it’s perspective rather than low standards at play.
I not only want a family, I want a big family. Like, six kids. After all, Angelina got Brad (and they are already back together in my brain). She locked down Brad after she already had a kid, and was open about wanting many, many more. Yes, this is the most beautiful woman in the world we are talking about, but I firmly believe that us mortals have a shot at the same kind of charmed life.
My only resignation with single mumming can be summed up in three words: money, money, money. First, you need enough cash to impregnate yourself — and then you need enough cash to hire a nanny, and then you have to go to work to pay the nanny you hired to look after the baby so that you can go to work so you can pay the nanny, and you have to buy baby stuff and presumably you also want to live in a house so you need to get one of those too.
Sperm Donor sites are a major perk; they are like the Bumble app but better. I’ve fallen in love with a couple of guys on there. Can I find them? Am I allowed? Definitely not, and also how would I? But seriously can I please date them immediately?
I do find all the single mums I know, or fan girl out about on Instagram, to be extremely badass, and everything I’d aspire to be as a single mum.
So I think I’ve made a good case by now that I want a baby very badly, but I don’t know when I’m going to get the chance. This is “singledom infertility” in my book, or perhaps just an inability to afford fertility treatments on my own because of lack of money. Either way my eggs are on ice (metaphorically speaking), just eagerly awaiting the day they are called up for active duty. Until then I will look at strangers’ babies; and ooh, and ahh, and silently die inside a little. But don’t worry I make jokes, and everything is fine, FML LOL.
Elisa Hatton is a full spectrum doula, writer and talker. You can follow her at @babylossdoneover—her instagram account that focuses on providing emotional support for parents who have lost babies at any stage of gestation. She has also partnered with fellow doula @oh_mwanawanga and together they are launching a maternity fashion brand @houseofdaughter -for daughters by doulas.