On Labor Day Weekend, I posted a video of myself dancing in a white flow dress on Instagram Stories. I had a beautiful day with my family in Northern California and we were capturing some fun moments after a few stressful months of house hunting! I felt so relaxed, free, and in-the-moment.
Within the first 5 minutes of my stories going live, I received two separate DM’s from followers I have never met in person. The first one reads, “OMG! Is this what I think it is?” The second notification popped up briefly on my phone, and I saw “I don’t mean to sound rude but I’m just wondering…”
My heart sank. I didn’t need to read the rest to know exactly what they were referring to.
Just to clear any confusion – I’m not pregnant. (Ya girl enjoys eating one-too-many dumplings, that’s all.) While these comments from women seem to mean well, there truly was little regard to how I would be left feeling.
For the rest of the afternoon, I was quiet and deep in my thoughts. Insecurities came over me. Am I gaining weight? Is the dress making me look pregnant? And, perhaps, the question I have been dreading to ask myself – “Is time running out for me to have kids?”
Let me preface this by saying our society allows little room for ambivalence around this topic.
In my early-mid 20s, I was not sure if I ever wanted to have children. Unfortunately, we live in a pronatalist world where the unspoken rule is that everyone should want children and have them. Women who are vocal about their uncertainties surrounding having children often feel a sense of shame, because it certainly seems like everyone else came to their decision with ease. Back then, when I used to say I wasn’t sure if I wanted children, it was almost as if I had to be prepared to explain why I was uncertain.
“You’ll be ready one day,” one of my closest friend used to tell me. “When you know, you know.” To the contrary, my mother would say, “No one is ever ready for a baby. That’s why you have 9 months!”
Within the blink of an eye, I am 32 years old. And I wonder if I have to get down to business before my ovaries implode.
According to multiple fertility research societies, fertility decline begins at 35 and more rapidly from 38. Thanks to modern medicine, this doesn’t not mean that women over 40 can’t have babies. It simply means the chances of conceiving for a couple who is trying for the first time with “normal” reproductive health declines.
Apparently, there’s a term to what I have been feeling. Baby panic. Oh yeah, it’s real. There are two groups of baby panickers — the first includes those who are trying to have a baby, but there is a question mark around whether it’s possible; the second is women who want to have a baby but not yet, or who aren’t sure but feel pressure to decide before it’s too late.
Although I do feel more ready for kids now, sometimes, I feel a who mix of emotions. Thinking of the future, I feel anxious, wondering if it would be possible for me to have kids. Thinking of the past, I feel guilty, wondering if I have been putting it off for so long.
I remind myself to trust the timing of my life, and I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. I ask that every single one of us be kind on social media. We should never ask whether a woman is pregnant or not because you don’t know what they’re going through. And frankly, we should respect their privacy. Exercise discernment. And know that typically, less is more.
I do not know what the future holds, but I do know I am not along in my emotions and thoughts. I hope this blog helps us open a candid conversation about feeling a sense of #babypanick! For now, I will just have to settling for spoiling my family members and close friends who have the cutest babies in the world!