"Do you feel anything?" my girlfriend asked intently as I awkwardly held her five-month-old daughter in my arms.
I shrugged and continued gently bouncing the baby on my knee. "Not really," I replied.
"Look, she's adorable and I love her to death, but I don't feel my ovaries flaring up or anything." The squirt twisted around, glancing at me with big brown eyes, and all I could do was stick my tongue out to razz her. She giggled and cooed while her mother shook her head in disbelief.
My friends have always been fascinated with my disinterest when it comes to children. Don't get me wrong — I love kids. Their complete lack of self-consciousness and free-spirited nature is something I can't help but be a little mystified by. I love the idea of being able to shape the mind of an impressionable young whippersnapper, which might be a scary thought for some. But when it comes to the "clock" ticking away, I've never felt any pressure about marriage and childbirth.
As long as I can remember, I've never wanted to have children, or at least physically have them. Even at seven years old, when my parents sat me down to explain procreation, I remember thinking, "Ewww. That will totally screw up my dreams of becoming a baton-twirling majorette, Broadway star, Macy's perfume counter girl, and astronaut!" Though I've narrowed down my career ambitions, the sentiment has stayed the same. Maybe I'll feel differently in a few years, and if so, I won't be alone.
After surfing the net for statistics, I found that the average age of first-time mothers has been on a steady increase since 1940, rising to almost 29 from 25. On top of that, the birth rates for women between 35 to 45 have practically doubled since the late 1970s. Women are putting motherhood on hold, choosing to focus on career and finding the right man before rushing into a world of dirty diapers, breast pumps, and Blue's Clues.
But do we really want to be a generation of older moms? Doctors are suggesting that women who are planning to have children later on in life freeze their eggs now to avoid any complications or miscarriages. Socially it may cause issues as well — who wants to be pushing 60 by the time their child graduates high school? You'd probably miss the ceremony anyway because you'd be too busy yelling at punk-ass kids to get off your lawn.
So while many girls around my age might be sweating bullets over some biological time bomb that's ticking away in their uterus, I feel strangely calm. Maybe because I consciously decided that my career and social life came first early on. The truth is that I'm too selfish at this point in my life to be in charge of another life and a baby should be a blessing, not a burden. At least I recognize this fact and accept it rather than taking on something I know I'm not ready for financially, emotionally, or mentally.
I gagged as I handed the baby back to mommy, who happily embraced her stinky little imp with a prolonged kiss on the forehead.
"One of these days, you're gonna learn to love it," she laughed on her way to the changing table.
Check back with me in five years. I think even then I'll prefer other people's kids, so I can just hand them back to the proud parents when the little buggers think too hard and shit themselves.