I’ll set the scene for you: two married couples, two babies, and me. The adults are lovely, smart and hilarious. The babies are loud and unpredictable. At one point, one of the women in one of the couples makes a joke about how time and energy-consuming her child is, and how easy people without kids have it. The other woman says, “Damn that biological clock.” Everyone laughs. I look down at my plate of delicious cheeses.
This is not another post about how I plan to remain childfree. This is about how, for 31 years, I’ve managed to escape the incessant ticking of the biological clock that seems to have so many of my friends panicked and yearning, and I don’t know how. Women much younger than me talk about how babies make their insides quiver, how they worry about getting too old, what if the right person doesn’t come along, if they’ve eaten too much mercury already, how they’ll have the money, if ultimately, everything will add up.
Of course, there are other kinds of reproductive sirens that I hear all the time. I’m usually thinking about how I haven’t written enough, how I’ll make sure there are more committed, thoughtful Jews in the world (without having to actually give birth to any).
At the most basic level of my question is another question: Why aren’t I like every other woman? As i f there were such a thing as a typical woman, in spite what the media would have us think. In some ways, I feel like a sixth grader again, desperate in some ways to fit in with everyone else, and also inexplicably joyful that I don’t. The fact remains that just like in sixth grade, when my friends were gossiping with relish about their adolescent romances, I’ll be sitting quietly (as much as I know how to do that), struggling, and failing, to understand.