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Broken Biological Clocks

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Last week, we were all over at Mom’s celebrating her birthday and she said something to me that caught me off guard.

“Maids, you’re not pregnant or trying to get pregnant, are you?”

“No, Mom!” I said defensively. And then, predictably, I ran my hand along my flat, decidedly non-pregnant belly.

“Why do you ask that, Mom? Do I look pregnant?”

“Of course not,” she said. “It’s just that you are talking about pregnancy and babies a lot on your blog these days.”

She’s right. I am. In the past several weeks, I have posted about how not wanting kids is like its own language. Then I followed up with a post inquiring why people want kids. And then there was the post about the whole world being pregnant. And I’ve made it no secret here that despite the compelling kiddie chaos that is my contemporary life, I want two more kids. And soonish.

Why my admitted obsession with all things baby and belly? Is it simply that I am currently a citizen of a world where this is the conversational currency we deal in? Or is there something more? Is my preoccupation with pregnancy rooted in biology? Now that Baby is one and mere inches from toddlerhood, are there hormones coursing through me telling me to have another? Is that proverbial biological clock ticking away, telling me to procreate before it’s too late?

I don’t know.

The biological clock. I have always heard people talking about this clock and its ominous tick, tick, tick. I have always thought of the clock metaphor as appropriate insofar as there is a limited time during which a woman is fertile. (Patently, modern medicine is changing the inner-workings of this clock.) But I am not sure I have ever felt the ticking effect. Looking back, I think that I always wanted kids, I always thought babies were delicious, and after being married for a bit, it felt like the right time to go for it. It was not that one day there was silence and the next, there was that telltale ticking. To the extent that I thought about these things, I always chalked my desire to get pregnant up to reason and not hormones.

I just read Emma Gilbey Keller’s interesting article Why Isn’t My Biological Clock Ticking (Louder)? wherein she introduces us to Hillary Fields, a woman who admits she has never wanted kids, a woman who says she has been waiting for her clock to start ticking to no avail. Fields remarks that despite her advancing age, she has felt no increased desire, biological or other, to have kids.

With this fascinating article now in my arsenal of baby obsession, I am left wondering once more about our decisions to become parents and to forgo parenthood. Are these decisions rooted in part in biological soil?

Have any of you experienced the ticking of that fabled biological clock? From experience or observation, do men have biological clocks? If so, is the ticking of the male clock almost inaudible insofar as the male fertility window is much bigger? Do you believe that we experience biological urges at certain points in our life to procreate or do you believe this is a metaphysical myth?

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