First of all, thank you for writing such encouraging thoughts on your very positive website. You’re helping a lot of people, something I strive to do as well – sooner than later, I hope. Thank you, really 🙂
I’ve been reading almost all your posts. There’s one topic I haven’t found though, and which is keeping me thinking and contemplating since at least a year now: What about those beautiful women who are still on their own, in their thirties, and who would very much like to have children?
There’s been some very important and loving men in my life. Yet, these last few years, with all the reading, building on my confidence and convincing myself that real, lasting love will one day cross my path, I feel that one of my biggest dreams would be to have children. Of course, I’m almost 32, my clock is ticking, and even if I meet someone special next year, getting pregnant can still take years of “trying”. So I’m thinking about other“solutions”. I reckon this might sound a bit irrational. I just feel the need to reassure myself by knowing that there’s an alternative, which doesn’t require waiting for/depending on the arrival of that special man.
Adoption or a donor could also be a solution, but – selfishly and biologically, and if I’m lucky enough – I would really love to have children on my own, and I wish them a father too. Actually, a good (homosexual) friend and I are seriously talking about having children together. We're giving it at least year to think it over, because it is, of course, quite a big step.
I’m wondering what your opinion is, and how you see this 🙂 Much love, Mady
Thank you for your kind words; it's hearing from women like you that so inspires me here doing what I can to make a difference on this journey. I hear exactly what you're saying about that longing for biological children before it is physically too late, and I understand what it's like to feel that reality check of your biological clock ticking with no real prospects in site.
I was quickly approaching 30 before I met my husband, and I remember feeling that same familiar panic; what if I didn't meet him in time? What if it was too late? I knew that I wanted to have children in my future, and I felt like I was constantly reminded by the media, my friends, my family, and my own inner voice that my biological clock was just ticking away. It didn't help that I had married friends who struggled to get pregnant and took a long time trying; that just added to my fears and belief that I needed to find the right guy, and fast.
Fortunately, all of that worrying about my biological clock helped me to get really focused on what I truly wanted in a partner. You see, all those qualities that I thought I wanted in a guy, all those must-haves on my list, were really all about my own insecurities and my earlier programming from the media, peers, family, etc., and had nothing to do with what I really wanted, which was a family of my own. While I was out searching for the elusive fireworks and butterflies, what I should have had my eye out for was someone with the qualities of a good husband and a good father.
Many of us fall into the trap, and I did as well. When evaluating men, we tend to think it's an either-or scenario: either we're head over heels attracted to him or he's just not our type. But I can't tell you how many women I know who married the seemingly perfect guy they were head over heels for that turned out to be the wrong guy for them. I can't begin to express the heartbreak and pain of the separation and divorce for everyone involved when in the end, the perfect guy turned out to be the player who just couldn't stop playing, or they finally realized that they just wanted different things in life. All of them realized, painfully too late, that if only they would have known what to look for earlier they would have chosen differently.
So, my beautiful single friend, if you're so concerned about your biological clock that you're thinking about having a child without a partner in your life (and it certainly can be done these days) remember that the reality is being a single mom is one of the most challenging and difficult roles you can take on. It's very common, but that doesn't mean that it's easy by any stretch. It also will make finding a romantic partner much harder, as supporting yourself and caring for a child leaves very little time for any kind of serious dating.
Being part of a couple when you're raising a child really is a much better scenario. The key is to make sure it's with someone who is on the same page, shares the same values and has the qualities that really matter, even if he's not what you currently think is your type. The fact that he’s going to be such a great dad to your kids, treats you well, and shares the same values is going to make him so attractive to you when you can look beyond the must give you butterflies entry on your current list. You'll be amazed at just how quickly love can grow when you respect and care for someone that respects and cares for you in return.
As I said, I've been there. I overlooked far too many men, especially two in particular, who are now married with children and are the most wonderful fathers (and treat their wives so much better) than any of the players I chose instead over them have ever turned into.
I do think it's a great idea to have a contingency plan, but give yourself as much time as you can. In the meantime, take another look at that guy who's your good friend, or the one you just don't feel it with, or the one you think is missing something. Look at him in this new light of what you really want – a committed relationship with a guy that wants to be a dad as much as you want to be a mom. He might just be someone that you could fall in love with after all when you realize what’s really important to you. You'll start to see that most of the qualities that are important in a dad aren't the same as what you've been finding yourself attracted to in a man.
The other thing that I've found is very important to think about early on, that many of us don't even give a thought to, is how you want to parent once you have a child. Do you believe in heavy discipline, or is gentle attachment more your style? Do you want to push for early schooling and academic excellence, or are you more interested in letting your future child explore his passions and find his calling outside of the bonds of academic structure? Do you want to be a stay at home mom or continue to pursue your career? Differing views on how a child should be raised have broken up many marriages, and it's much more important to find a man who shares your vision of parenting than it is to find a guy that gives you goosebumps. Those goosebumps will be gone in a hurry when you don't like the way he's treating your beautiful child.
So if it helps to relieve the biological clock anxiety, go ahead and allow yourself that contingency plan, and then treat it like insurance – it's good to have it, but you hope you never have to use it. Then use that deadline to give yourself the energy to get out there and find the future father of your children. If you haven't tried your hand at online dating, now is the time. Take a crash course on online dating (there's a lot to it and many great techniques that will help you to be successful), and get your profile up. Spend some money and get some professional photos taken that make you look your best, get a few new outfits, and head out on some dates. While you're on those dates (and even before you go on the dates), look at him through the eyes of your future children who are looking at their dad, and allow that to guide you. This will help to keep you from falling back on your old patterns of going with what you think is your type.
The good news is that you are at the right age to meet lots of great guys who are also at the right age to really want commitment and family – guys in the late 30's to early 40's range. If you haven't read it yet, pick up a copy of Marry Him by Lori Gottlieb, and don't let the sub-title fool you. It's a good read and will help you to make sure you are being picky about the right things. I'm not saying that you're being too picky now, since I don't know the details of your dating history, but I know that we all have a tendency to look first for the fireworks instead of the qualities that will get us what we really want, and we all also tend to gravitate towards the same type of guy over and over again – two habits that are essential to break if you want to get to true love.
So try something different today or tomorrow or the next time you find yourself talking to someone who seems to have those great dad qualities, but that you're not initially attracted to. Look at him and find something attractive about him to get you started - it could be his kind eyes or his easy smile. This isn't about settling, and it isn't about trying to make yourself be attracted to someone when there's nothing there. This is about taking a second look at someone who one day you may look back on and wonder why you couldn't see it then.
It happens all the time, to the best of us, and to beautiful women, just like you.
What do you think? Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for Mady? Please share them with her in the comments!