Tonight's news mentioned that Facebook & Apple will be paying for their employees to have their eggs frozen, if they so choose. When I'd heard that this morning, part of me was really happy, even though I will never work for either of those companies, or any other Fortune 500 company. That will never apply to me. I was having dinner with my parents when the evening news mentioned it. My parents seemed to be against it.* My mother said it was foolish because not every company will be able to do the same, and who wants to have a baby at 60? My father said it was selfish.
I lost my shit. Right there at the dinner table.
I never lose my shit. They give me plenty of reasons to, but I bite my tongue. I couldn't do that this time. I unloaded across the table at him. I made it personal.
I said it was in no way selfish; that these women probably found themselves chasing their careers. They followed the opportunities that they were given, and found themselves in a different place than they'd expected. They probably thought they'd have families earlier, but the timing was never right. The job market had been unstable, and they had to be available for the work; a family is a major time commitment. It's not that they want to have kids just to say they have a kid (though I'm sure some do), but that they were racing toward a particular goal, and when they got to a place where they could pause and look around, they saw a parallel goal had gotten farther away.
I made it personal. I blurted that I thought I'd have kids when I was 25 and be married and raising my family, but when I was 25, I found myself with no romantic prospects, and following job opportunities because they were there. I had become a career woman by accident, I told them. I paused and felt my eyes well up. I think I let 45 seconds pass before I mentioned one of my greatest fears, lurking in the back of my mind always: I have an aunt who started menopause at 39. My heart always jumps into my throat when I think that that might be me. That I might only have 6 years left to start a family.
In my youth, I wanted 5 kids and a farmhouse. I have none of those things. But I have hope. That hope may vanish in as little as 6 years, and I would love to be able to relax about that ticking clock, because I had the opportunity to freeze my eggs.
I didn't tell them that last paragraph. My father recanted. I had sort of shouted at him, and I spoke hard and fast. I didn't look at my mother. We sat at a round table, and she was to my right. My dad was across from me and took the brunt of my outburst. I cried. It took me a few minutes for the tears to dry up. After dinner, we each went to do different things in different rooms, and I didn't get a chance to hear them talking. Probably good that I didn't, but I'm curious to hear if I actually changed their perspectives.
*My parents are high school sweethearts, married at 20, kids at 25, married 38years. I am single, never married, no kids. This explains a lot.
Once again, on the record: Hope sucks. I know it's supposed to be a good thing that hope stayed in Pandora's box, but I'm not so sure. Hope is awful. Hope rarely pans out the way you would like. I'm not so sure hope isn't the devil's doing.