"I want to have a baby when the time is right, with the right person." Photo: Getty Images
My 34th birthday was the most forlorn and disappointing on record. There I was in the middle of Wisconsin (no Bon Iver in sight), meeting and spending a week with my live-in-boyfriend and his family. His whole damn family.
There was supposed to be a winery tour and horse riding. Jeez, half of my friends were expecting an engagement ring.
Instead there was no milk left in the house, my polite refusal to drink that putrid filter coffee (and subsequent demand to make a trip to Starbucks) and something that was apparently a ‘shrimp casserole’ (but was actually pasta covered in sour cream with microscopic crustaceans sprinkled in it).
There was no gift, not even a card. There was no party. I couldn’t even cry. Although I wanted to, badly.
The dream I had with a man who talked lucidly about having babies after five weeks and said he didn’t want me to be ‘an old mother’ sputtered to an end. I was faced with not only the abominable hurt and rejection (that is what I imagine being thrown in a tumble dryer soaking wet feels like), but the realisation that our my life plan was going to need some serious renovations.
You see, 34 was going to be the Year of the Pregnancy.
Like most childless 34-year-olds, I want to have a baby. But I want to have a baby when the time is right, with the right person.
I have never been in a rush to have a child, I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of cluckiness, or like I am held biologically hostage to ticking clocks. I don’t even feel very much in particular when I see babies. But I know becoming a mother is a big part of what I’m on the planet to experience.
Suddenly (lets be realistic), I’m facing being at least 36 before I have a child. 36 being one number more than the magically foreboding 35 - when apparently, like workers in a factory, all my eggs will start clocking off and heading home, with only the really conscientious ones sticking around to do some overtime.
I’m active and healthy. I’m attractive and intelligent. I have never been pregnant, I have never tried to get pregnant. I have no idea what ‘fertility challenges’ I might face. I hope none. But the longer I wait the more likely the chance that conceiving a child naturally won’t happen easily. Unless my eggs have signed up for overtime.
One in six couples need fertility assistance. Even the happiest and healthiest of my married friends are on the rollercoaster ride that is IVF. I head to the IVF Australia website and tap my details into to their Pregnancy Predictor tool. Bingo! 12% chance of natural conception and around 40% using IVF.
While my body might defy their averages, lets just say I did end up needing ‘help’ getting a bun in the proverbial oven - the cost of baking can add up to be half a house deposit. So, like for any goal I’ve had since I was 16, I’ve set a financial goal and started a savings plan. $15 a week – or about the cost of my weekday coffees is being channelled away for my bubs conception (should she need assistance getting down onto the planet). Hardly enough that I’d notice it, but over four years it’s about the cost of one cycle of IVF.
Now before the Law of Attraction people start yelping that I’m putting out negative vibes to the universe, lets be clear – it’s a rainy day fund, a contingency plan. I’m not asking for difficulty, who would? I know my daughter is waiting for me and she is being very patient while I dilly-dally around with the wrong men. If she arrives as expected – with ease and grace and joy - then that money will buy her a very nice little pony.