I’ve got the fever — Alexandra Hilliard

I am 22 years old, and finishing college in roughly 8 months. I have been in a steady relationship and am rather careful, if you know what I mean. Over the past two years, it has become increasingly difficult for me to stop thinking about babies! I’ve got the baby fever, I am proud to announce, but it does cause some heartache for me… Let me give you a little bit of an introduction.

Growing up, I never wanted children. I thought pregnancy and birthing were gross, and unnecessary, and wasn’t interested. Not until a couple of years ago did my “clock” start ticking. Over this past summer, a couple of coworkers at another job got pregnant. I was happy for them, but couldn’t help feeling like I wished it was me. Then, my boyfriend’s sister who is happily married, has one child, and a great career, got pregnant as well. SHEESH! To top it off, my 17 year old sister just told me on Saturday that she is pregnant. I was used to hearing about girls in my high school getting pregnant, but it never really mattered much because I didn’t care about them. I had no real relationship with them, and thus the news of their impending doom had little to no impact on my life. However, to see all these people around me, who I care about deeply, getting pregnant, has been hard. When I hear the news, it’s like a punch in the gut. Actually, Angela, my boyfriend’s sister, is having her baby today (yippee!).

I am not here to ask you for sympathy or for you to rationalize to me why I shouldn’t have one now. Blah blah blah you’ve got so much potential blah blah wait until you’re married blah blah one day you will have them… I have heard it all from a million different directions, and it doesn’t help because it doesn’t address the root of my problem.

You see, I have always wanted to be a doctor, specifically, a neurosurgeon. These days I am more interested in getting a medical degree as well as a PhD in neurobiology or another scientific mechanics o the brain sort of field. I am nearing the finish line, and am getting dangerously close to achieving my first real goal (graduating college). If I am able to do what I want, and study as I’d like, I might be in school for at least another 8 years. It will likely be more with post-doctoral research and a medical residency. To be frank, I can’t see myself having children until I am at least in my 30’s, but even at that point, I cannot guarantee that I will feel financially secure and settled in a position of my choice to even consider having one. Additionally, I am not sure how many women you know in the biological or life sciences who has a PhD, but few of them are married. These women that I mention, work at top universities, or important industries, and are chasing their dreams down. Although there are several women at my college who have PhDs, they have opted for the quieter road. They get to teach classes and do a little bit of research. It’s hard to say whether or not they have achieved all that they desire, I assume (and know from a conversation with a particularly strong-willed, intelligent, and inspiring professor) that they may have chosen to work at this college because they knew they could have families and careers simultaneously. But I don’t want to just have a career. I want to conduct breakthrough research that will change the lives of millions. I want to have a significant impact on my field, publish many papers, and be able to successfully practice in the field of medicine and develop a name for myself. Does that sound like the kind of woman who has a family? Not really. Not if you’re not the type of woman who is willing to let her children be raised by a daycare or a boarding school. What I mean to say, is that I fear the tradeoff I will inevitable have to make. My dreams, or my child.

All in all, I just feel like it’s kind of scary to see my peers having children, because that might not ever be me, and even if it is, I will surely have to wait a long time. I mention this, because I am sure many women have wondered this to themselves. I doubt many of them would have the zeal to mention this for fear of being judged or considered weak. I am not weak for having feelings or worrying about my future. I am responsible and I am a human being. I am proud of my femininity and maternal desires, and to all you ladies who feel the same way… It’s hard, boy do I know it…

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