I never bought into the biological clock. I thought, with modern life expectancy and modern medicine, I had all the time in the world. Then my aunt died from breast cancer. At the urging of her oncologist, we were all tested for the BRCA1 mutation, which is known to dramatically increase the incidence of breast, ovarian and fallopian cancers. As it turns out, my biological clock is a time bomb.
Prophylactic amputations are really the only course of treatment. I’d been a career woman most of my life; I dated in college, and in the office, but it was usually because I don’t like being alone, not because I was looking to share my life with someone. I’d been thinking about my options more recently, but I hadn’t gotten past the posting profiles on dating websites stage of denial.
I want children. I’ve known that since I held my niece for the first time, and she was an ugly baby, with a head like a football, but when she squeezed my fingers and blew little spit bubbles at me, I just lit up like a Christmas tree and I knew. I didn’t just want to adopt, which to me always seemed too much like rescuing a pet from an animal shelter, but I wanted at least one child that was mine.
I don’t know that I ever want to get married, but I do know that I don’t want to raise a child on my own. I’d started talking to a gay friend of mine, who wants kids, too, and was considering a donation when he made some kind of a smart remark about the kid being a time share. And I know he was joking, and I know I’m crazy for taking it like this, but I knew I just could not carry his time share baby.
My doctor advised against it, but I’m still young enough that the increased risk of cancer is “manageable”- so I’m holding out for now. My family is supportive and worried. My mom tried to get me to do our mastectomies together; she needed me, but I told her I couldn’t do that for her. Still, I was there; I didn’t leave the hospital during her procedure, and I slept overnight by her bed, holding her hand.
My dad was in and out all night; he really wanted to be there for her. But she’d made the mistake of asking him honestly if he’d still be attracted to her without breasts- and he’d made the mistake of answering her honestly that he didn’t know. And I know they’re all right, and I know they’ll get through it, but they’re both really scared, and I think it’s good for me to see this side of it, too, because this is a part of my life, now.
My body and mind are at cross-purposes. I don’t want to rush into having a child with someone and then find out the relationship isn’t going to work; but I also don’t have time to vet him as thoroughly as I want, and raise a puppy with him to see if we would even make compatible parents (which might have been a dumb idea anyway). Seriously, if you know someone, introduce me. I’m desperate and picky, because now I have to be both.