I have three kids. Three beautiful kids. Three challenging, exhausting, sometimes life-sucking, gorgeous and brilliant kids.
It’s what I dreamed of as a kid myself, looking into my future. I saw it then: me, in my 30s, looking slim and savvy and well put together (obviously balancing a perfect career with being a perfect mom), with my three cherubic children standing with me, on like, the ocean shore or something, just taking in the wonders of life.
Okay, so I have the kids.
The other stuff isn’t exactly accurate, but I have the kids.
It wasn’t that easy to convince my husband that a third kid was necessary, but I had seen it, and I wanted it. I played the “Don’t you want to try for a boy?” card, after having two daughters. He was happy with his daughters, but I wouldn’t let up, and eventually he caved and has no regrets about his now toddler son (who happens to be the easiest kid yet). At the time, I would have been happy whether the baby was a boy or a girl; I just had to have that third kid I was meant to have.
So there you have it—a family, complete. My maternal dreams realized—simply, done reproducing.
But nothing is simple, is it? Especially when you add biological clocks and hormones to the mix. I mean, we’re all just animals when it comes down to it.
It started after my son was born. It had been a slightly complicated pregnancy in the end, due to some pesky blood pressure and elevated liver enzyme problems, followed by a relatively easy induction—not the perfect birth, but not bad. I was happy. I was over the moon in love with my son. I was glad it was over.
On the car ride home from the hospital, my husband casually inquired, “So, how was your last pregnancy?”
And that’s when it began. I was stumped and silent. The tears welled up fiercely in my sleep-deprived eyes, and I fought valiantly to hold them back.
Last pregnancy. Last.
How could he be so insensitive? Okay, to be fair to him, it was just an honest question. He was done reproducing, and he was happy. He had all the offspring he could want, and he assumed that I felt the same. After all, I had just been through a version of hell that he couldn’t fully understand, but had definitely been hearing about for the last nine months. Maybe it was my declaration of, “I’m never doing this again!” between my episodes of vomiting.
Logically, I should have been happy. But I’m not driven by logic. Postpartum hormones are not driven by logic and neither are the hormones produced when you are in your mid-30s and your biological clock is still ticking loudly as if to say, “Hurry up and get pregnant! There’s still time for one more, but it’s almost too late!”
Those hormones don’t care that I’m supposed to be done. They don’t care at all.
After turning 35, my ovaries started taking on a personality of their own—a really obnoxious, overbearing and dominating personality. We don’t get along now. We clash, actually.
See, my ovaries have baby fever. Is this a thing? Raise your hand if it’s a thing, if you can relate. Okay, you may proceed in reading. All others, just click on out of this rant, because this might sound a little crazy.
So back to the ovaries.
They’re relentless. They’re pumping out eggs at a more predictable monthly rate than ever before. Never have my cycles been so regular. It’s cruel, really. I would have appreciated this timeliness in my youth—you know, when I was actually preparing to conceive.
So here’s an example of a mid-cycle conversation/argument with my ovaries. It starts with some subliminal messages, around day 12. I start daydreaming in pornographic thoughts. No big deal, right? This is just my sexual peak. Sex is fun, I like this. My husband does not complain about my sex drive at all; he just takes it while he can. Then I start to question where this insatiable arousal is coming from.
Me: Ovaries, you’re trying to trick me again, aren’t you? You’re trying to get me knocked up.
Ovaries: Hey, we’ve got a really great egg for you this month. You don’t want to pass this up.
Me: Thanks for the sex drive, but I’ll have to pass. He doesn’t want another baby. So even if (hypothetically) I want a baby, we’re done having babies.
Ovaries: Maybe he’ll slip up. You know you want this egg.
Me: It’s not just about me. And you know what? Maybe I do want to fertilize this egg, but I’m not going to do it. I’m tired. And I have life goals. It’s time to start focusing on improving my life.
Ovaries: This one will contain the sleep gene. This one will be easy. You can do this. You want this. It’s your last chance! Don’t just let this one die.
Me: Okay, but I can’t afford another child. And I don’t believe you about the sleep gene. You have a bad reputation. I’ve been on the verge of sleep-deprived insanity for the last eight years, and I’m not going back. I have 20 pounds to lose, and I’m joining a gym. Also, I’m going to take those belly dancing classes again, and yoga, and I’m thinking about going back to school. I want to improve myself now, so I can be a great mother to my kids—someone they can look up to instead of a sleep-deprived mombie shell of who I could have been.
Ovaries: You have a point, but still, you know you want this egg. Just find a way to get that sperm in here. Here are some more sultry, erotic thoughts to help you along in this journey. Go get him!
Me: Ooh, those are some nice thoughts. But wait, I’m not changing my mind. And neither is he. It’s just not in the cards. Please understand. Can I keep the sex drive?
Ovaries: Sure, go ahead and keep it, because we will win! You might as well just give up now. Seriously, don’t be an egg killer. Do these emotional thoughts of pregnancy and birth help convince you? How about some nostalgia: You were so happy when your other three kids were born. And how about this thought: You’re getting old and dried up. You don’t really want to focus on yourself. That’s depressing. Focus on creating another beautiful, young, perfect being. That’ll distract you.
Me: (sobbing) Shut up, ovaries. Just shut up. I’m going to have sex now, but not because you want me to. I’m in charge here.
Ovaries: Fine. Do it. Waste the egg. But we will torture you every month until menopause. We will fill your soul with regrets. We will ensure that you hear about every pregnancy announcement possible (especially fourth pregnancies—who knew they were so common?) and you will cry tears of despondence that you are past that time in your life. It’s over. How does that make you feel? And we will give you false pregnancy symptoms each month, the day before you start your period, just to mess with you. You will be punished.
Me: I said, shut up! He’s getting a vasectomy. There will be no sperm.
So there you have it. My mid-30s hormones have officially made me insane. If you’ve figured out how to shut up your ovaries and stop the biological clock, I’m open to suggestions. As for now, I’m off to the gym.