On Being in Your Thirties.

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I was asked the other day how old I was and it took a couple beats for me to do the math before answering “I’ll be 34 in August”.  It shocked me to think that I am that age, as I certainly don’t feel it at all.  There are days I feel 28 and others barely 18. Acknowledging that number kinda hit me like a ton of bricks, and then the inevitable follow up question came…

“Do you have kids?”

I get asked that question more often than not these days, especially after admitting to people  that I’ve been married going on eight years. Hardly a child bride, but young by the standards set by my peers, I was one of the first to walk down the aisle and now one of the last to be pushed into the delivery room.  This unnerves people, the bewilderment spreading across their face as they try to comprehend why I don’t have a bundle of joy yet.  In the past few weeks I have had a hard time with this and the realization that being in your early thirties is really hard as a woman.  It’s the decade of SO much change in our lives- where in one set of friends you can have one person with three kids, some pregnant, a handful childless, others not even engaged yet and some even ending their marriages.  This diversity in lifestyles and milestones causes a tough dynamic between women that seems to get swept under the table because it’s simply too uncomfortable.  It’s such an emotionally charged decade to navigate,  rife with joy, sadness, excitement, jealousy and yearning.  And  just when you think you have it all figured out, for the 24th time in one month, a friend announces her pregnancy on Facebook.  A little snapshot of a sonogram that fills you with both happiness and yet a pang of loss and you begin to think “maybe I’ve got it all wrong”. Instead of reveling in your successes you feel like a failure as you zero in on the one thing missing in your life. And you may not even WANT it yet, but for some reason you feel you SHOULD want it….. paging the shrink.

The truth is, I’ve been trying to get pregnant for many months.  And it’s not happening for me right now.  Medically, we are healthy as horses but the universe has just decided it’s not time yet.  A smart universe, I might add,  as I have a friggin’ BOOK to write (oddly, due in 9 months- deduce what you will from THAT coincidental gem).  My incredibly busy schedule has kept me from feeling I was missing out, and also from starting any fertility treatment, as I felt in my gut that this is just NOT the year.  I have a lot to accomplish and I can’t be sick or “distracted” in order to cross this big item off my Bucket List.   The smart part of me says “Erin, one thing at a time, you’ll be a better mother if you succeed in accomplishing goals for yourself first.”  But then the other part of me feels so left out and that time is ticking for us, I am almost 34 after all, and Andrew is 40 (although I think he’s an emotional age of about 25…)  And I’ve never been the girl whose been just DYING to have a baby, my biological clock is more like a Swiss watch than a church steeple- consistent, but whisper quiet.  Our neighborhood’s obnoxious teenagers also seem to be serving as a sobering reminder that babies turn into screaming, annoying, angsty creatures….but even so, I know I want to experience motherhood in this lifetime, I very much do. It’s just a question of WHEN.

But it’s hard feeling like the odd girl out.  The only one without a baby saddled on her hip. A great job, husband and house- yes- but not that one thing that seems to bind women together.  It’s only natural for mothers, especially new moms, to spend more time with others going through what they are, but I can’t help but notice how motherhood sometimes draws a line in the sand between those with kids and those without.  People you used to meet for a drink or hang out with seem to disappear from your radar.  Dinner dates become fewer.  Emails less frequent.  It’s heartbreaking, yet understandable when it happens.  People latch on to those who are experiencing the same things as they are, it’s only natural.  I’m sure they feel that talking about the all the minute details of motherhood would bore those of us who aren’t going through it, and NOT talking about it would be like trying to write a novel without using vowels. Impossible.  So there is a natural separation. And there is also a specifically tough dynamic between those who get pregnant and those who struggle to. Remember how Miranda felt horrible telling Charlotte she was pregnant because she knew she was struggling and it happened to be (incredibly) easy for her?  That happens every day off the TV screen. It’s happened to me. I’ve always thought I was a Carrie, but apparently I’m a Charlotte too.

As Andrew said to me yesterday with a big sigh after I came into his office a bit despondent, ” Man, you have a lot of complex emotions going on right now.” Oh boy, do I. Someone pop the pinot grigio.

And it may not be a baby for you.  It may be a ring, or a house, or a job.  There is always something that makes you feel your life in not the one you had hoped or planned for.  That there is something missing, incomplete or off.  And the thing to remember is that it will ALWAYS be this way no matter what age you are. Instead of looking and the boxed left unchecked on our life “to do” list we should be looking at the ones we HAVE checked off.  Everyone’s life plan is different and we miss the joy of what’s happening to us right now if we consistently focus on what’s not.  It’s all very zen and “namaste” of me to say, but we do need to be more present. I need to be more present. Yes, I need to be vigilant about my health and have a plan so that I can make sure I can have a baby someday, but focusing on that is making me miss the wonderful things going on right now, of which there are many.

I am where I need to be.  And I’ll be somewhere else soon enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

210 comments

  1. Erin,
    You really nailed IT in your last paragraph…the deal is none of us feel our age…and we, I, will always aspire to do more and be better…

  2. VERY well said. I can relate to this wistful feeling that something is missing, regardless of what ‘thing’ that may be, or what stage of life you are in…Perhaps it is just in the nature of us ‘love of life’ types …we appreciate the excitement, wonder, and adventures of life, so we are always on high alert for what we may be missing…but you are so right..we need to recognize and celebrate our ‘current’ blessings to enjoy life to the fullest. Btw, recently discovered your fabulous blog!!

  3. Yes, so very true! Also, I would like to note that he separation once a woman has kids is frequently less due to not having as much in common or difference in life stage as it is due to the fact that kids are all-consuming, especially if both parents work full-time…there just isn’t the free time for drinks or dinner or shopping or…or…a lot of things! I would LOVE to get together more with the girls (of all stages) but between work, work travel, kids quality time, school activities, sports, exercise for myself, taking care of the house, spending time with hubs, 2 dogs, and trying to start my own business on the side…there just ain’t the time there used to be! And blessed as I am with marriage, home, three wonderful healthy kids….I wist for some of the professional accomplishments that I see childless women with more disposable time to put in and get. Silly i know! But yes, we all Lovers of Life want to have and experience it all! :-)

  4. First off, I really love your blog!! Thank you for sharing how you feel. I’ve been there. I had my son a year ago when I was 33. I felt old and behind all my friends. But the craziest thing happened, all these people around me started having babies too! There is always someone having a baby and your future little one will be worth the wait. I was not ready for my little guy until now. Thank goodness I didn’t try to force it to happen sooner. I have so many life experiences to draw from now. I look forward to your book, what a special gift to be able to create a book! Cheers!

  5. Oh, Erin!
    Thank you for this post, I have these thoughts every single moment for the past few months and I can’t shake them away! It was good to see them written by someone else… See, you are not alone, none of us is as long as we are present, so, everything will be alright!
    Thanks again and I love love looove your blog! :)

  6. Erin, you are a true inspiration and if you notice how many of us ogle over every word that you write every day than I hope you will notice you are doing exactly what you should be doing at this very moment in your life. A baby will come along when your body is ready and your mind has shared as much as is possible until the next faze of your life should start, and don’t you worry, all of your readers and admirers will be rooting you on as well!! Honestly, we are the same age…I wish with every bone in my body that I was as successful as you have become! I’m so jealous of you in the best way!!
    You will be a sensational mom when your time comes as you are sensational in every other aspect of your life!
    xo

  7. Hi Erin! I’m a long-time reader but first time poster. I love almost every single one of your posts, (especially the ones with details on your home reno and pretty much anything to do with your fur babies), but this one really compelled me to respond. As a recent med school grad, about to embark on a residency in OB/GYN (and hoping to ultimately subspecialize in reproductive endocrinology and fertility), I am not only impressed by your candor and eloquence, but am also incredibly inspired. You have single-handedly reaffirmed my desire to help talented, successful, beautiful women like yourself who desire both children and a career. You have such a positive attitude towards everything, and have so much to look forward to! I am excited to hear about your future adventures as a published author and a mother :). Thank you for being such a wonderful role model and for always speaking your mind!

  8. Thank you for this mantra: “I am where I need to be. And I’ll be somewhere else soon enough.” And remember that your friends with kids literally don’t have time to pee alone, so please don’t take it personally when they don’t make it out for drinks. I didn’t understand that until I had my own kids…it’s really hard to wrap your head around how life-comsuming they are until they show up and demand amounts of attention you didn’t even know you had!

  9. One of the best things that I’ve read in a long time. I can relate in so many ways and post was so reassuring to read. You’re such a gem!

  10. Very well said. I’m a 47 interior designer who experienced all of the above, instead of the book, I dreamed of magazine covers. I loved the way life was flowing, and was frustrated with the thought of changing it. I hated going to places not able to complete a conversation without someone running off to chase down their kids. Life was changing and I wasn’t ready yet. I eventually jumped in because it was “time”. I always wanted kids, just always pictured myself as one. Three kids later, and still running my own design firm, I can tell you that it is doable. Just get some help! A good assistant at work, a good house keeper at home and you’ll be great. A little tired but great. But it does hurt a little when my daughter compares me to the “young” moms.

  11. Erin – you are so not alone. We were the last of our huge group of married friends to have children. It was really hard for a long time, especially because both my career and my husband’s were going really well. People questioned if we were more attached to working than to having children. Not unlike you, my husband wrote his second book during this time, and when it was published I said, “Our friends had children, we had a book.” And don’t you know that book made a nice chunk of change so that we could move to our dream community.

    Long story short, our journey as a family led us to adopting two little boys from foster care (turns out we were more comfortable in Dept. of Children and Families offices than fertility clinics), and we cannot imagine life any other way. Now thanks to that book, these boys attend, literally, some of the public best schools in the country, and have boundless resources to help them cope with all that have been faced with in this life.

    Your time will come. You and your husband have an amazing foundation that will make you the perfect parents. Right now, though, you have a book to birth. Good luck with it. I will be one of the first in line to buy it and congratulate you at a local signing. Peace, love and light. Happy writing.

  12. Erin, THANK YOU for telling my 34 year old, single, finally found career satisfaction, possibly want kids… maybe not, at this point really just want a house and a great relationship BUT the clock is ticking for kids story. Listening to the journey through YOUR voice makes it sound like we are all going to be okay. You’ve helped me to realize that I need to pick a goal and see it through and enjoy the ride as I do. And it’s okay if that goal is not a baby at this very moment.

  13. Erin, THANK YOU so much for this post! It is exactly what I needed to read and I will be sending it along to my friends.

  14. A friend sent me this article and I have to tell you- this is so poignant and well written. I’m 28 and it spoke volumes to me. And it probably says different things to each person who reads it, but it absolutely strikes a chord.

  15. Really great post. I appreciate it! I am turning 33 in August and will be having our second child in October (the first in only 15 months old) and I’m struggling with all of the crap that has to be done every day versus making time for myself. Trying to keep a neat house versus letting my toddler sun have fun and learn new things every day. It’s hard as hell. And don’t even get me started on work/life balance.

  16. I don’t have time to read all the responses, so I may be repeating other’s sentiments. Motherhood is the best and hardest thing I ever did. Have children if you want to. They will add so much more than they will ever take away. But do it for you not because you feel you have to. Best wishes!

  17. Not only a great post, but what amazing comments from followers. It’s really amazing knowing there are so many women out there in the world with not only similar experiences/thoughts, but who are willing to share their advice and ideas and most of all positive support. Girl power is really something else. I wish we could all do lunch today! My advice still remains the same from my earlier post: get medically checked out and get moving. It gives you more control over timing, and there are really a million things that could affect conception, speaking from experience.
    Best to you all!

  18. Erin as a person who basically does everything late in my life–married at 34, twins at 38 and a daughter at 42. There is no right or wrong, good or bad way. Life happens just enjoy your moments!

  19. I can tell you from the benefit of hindsight (I am 43) that the 30’s are a weird, weird decade. I personally had my kids at ages 32 and 34, around the same time as many of my friends, but then I had other close friends who were struggling with infertility, who hadn’t found the right guy yet, or who were focusing on their career. 10 years later, every single one of my formerly single friends is happily married and has at least one child (yes, women do still get PG at ages 40 and 42, it just may take some extra help) and all of my friends who have struggled have either managed to get PG (one even after the doctor told her he couldn’t help her any further!) or adopted. Closer to home, my sister has divorced (with an infant, natch) and happily remarried. Friends have advanced in their careers, quit paid work altogether, or taken time off while their kids were little. Couples we are friends with have upgraded and renovated homes while others have lost businesses and had to downsize. Some of our friends live in the “best” neighborhoods and send their children to private school, while others are struggling to make ends meet. And that’s even limiting my pool of friends to those from law school and the early years of private practice!

    I would encourage you to reach out to your girlfriends with young children, if it’s not too painful to be around them. I know that I personally felt very isolated as a young working mom. I worked full time, transported my kids to and from daycare, and took care of the kids, the husband, and the home every spare minute. I would have LOVED to have spent more kid-free time with my girlfriends. Ten years later, I am no longer working and fully in the trenches of volunteer work, shuttling the kids around, and renovating our old home, and I still miss seeing my girlfriends as often as I did before we had children. I guarantee they’d love to talk about something other than poop and pee!

  20. This post needs to be put in every women’s magazine seriously! This line was so on point: “This diversity in lifestyles and milestones causes a tough dynamic between women that seems to get swept under the table because it’s simply too uncomfortable.” As someone who was on a life plan track to have my 1st kid by 30 (I did just 1 month shy of 30) then (I hoped) another 2 years later, I’ve found that while it’s great to make plans and all sometimes you don’t know what you need until it’s given to you. I adore my daughter but being in the middle of motherhood (she’s 2 1/2 now) has caused me to delay future plans for kids. I thought the pressure to have one was bad (we got pregnant 5 months after our wedding) but now the pressure to have a second is even worse. People need to seriously STOP! And regarding mom/non-mom divisions I’ve always been one to at least try to maintain my relationships across both designations and those without kids tell me they think it’s so awesome that I do. Best of luck to you!

  21. Yes, yes, yes. Great post. Thank you for crystallizing all of that so beautifully. Best to you!!!

  22. I feel as though too many people make their life decisions not based on what they want, having truly done the self-searching work to figure out what that is. Too many make their life decisions based on what society says you “should” do, or what others around them are doing. It takes a strong person to stand up and say to themselves and others, “I do not want that / am not ready for that at this time in my life, regardless of what others are doing.” Especially when your friends begin to distance themselves because you don’t have the same life stage in common. Take it from a 38 year old, never married single gal with no kids who just went through her millionth break-up, this time with the one she finally thought was the one. I am single because I choose to be, because I would rather be happy alone than miserable in the wrong relationship, because I haven’t met the right one yet who loves me back and appreciates what I offer enough to commit my entire life to him. I am treated like a leapor by so many because of this. Other women even act threatened by me. It’s not easy to live your life on your terms, but remember, you and Andrew get to define your relationship, not everyone else. Hope this helps a bit :)

  23. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I was married for nine years before having my first child, at age 40. It took me 6 1/2 years to get pregnant. The first two years (ages 33 & 34) I was philosophical, it will happen when it’s right. Then I started going to doctors, who told me I was completely healthy and there was no reason why I shouldn’t get pregnant. Except that I never did. Finally, in years five and six of this journey (when I was horribly depressed and being driven insane by not knowing WHY) I was told that my eggs were getting old. I have much more to add to the story, but the important, VERY important part of my lesson is to be aggressive about finding someone who can give you a diagnosis. As it turned out I had some subtle autoimmune issues that were preventing me from getting pregnant. Very few doctors are aware of precisely how the immune system works in pregnancy and how small things can derail your efforts. Most of the autoimmune things aren’t that difficult to treat if caught early. Since you haven’t been given a reason for why you’re not getting pregnant, I urge you to check out the website of the clinic who diagnosed my problem – http://www.repro-med.net The doctor who started this was a brilliant, sweetheart of a man named Alan Beer. He died a few years ago but the clinic follows his protocols and continues to refine protocols based on research and results. You don’t have to go to their clinic. You simply have to send blood samples for analysis. They can tell from the blood tests whether or not there are any immunological reasons for your difficulty in conceiving. If there are, you’ll be happy to know that they have an 80 percent success rate in helping women to get pregnant. If they don’t find any immune issues, then at least you’ll know to pursue a different path if you so choose. Although I don’t know you or your history, your situation sounds so much like mine that I would be surprised if there’s not something problematic in that area, especially since most doctors never investigate and don’t know how to investigate, immune issues related to fertility. I remember Dr. Beer telling me that after his many years of research and experience he had come to believe that the human reproductive system is so “overbuilt for success” that with some investigating and adjusting most women can get pregnant if they want to. I now have three children, all born after I was 40. Statistics and most doctors would have given me very, very slim odds of having a child at age 40 after so many years unsuccessful efforts. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions – I’ve been through it all! — especially DREADING the question everyone asks after finding out you’ve been married for awhile.

  24. Erin,
    Thanks for sharing. I have always wanted children. I got married at 26 wanted to be settled etc and at 32 have been trying to conceive for three years! I get what your saying about feeling like you lose your friends with kids and that everyone around you is pregnant. I found “Maggie’s ” comment really interesting and would love to get more info from her. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I know so many have posted already noting how they relate to this article, but I want to add my voice in. It’s so nice to read this and realize that we are all where we are meant to be, even when it’s hard to see. At 31, I just suffered a miscarriage. It was heartbreaking. I find myself in a weird place now – wanting to be pregnant again so bad, yet scared to lose a pregnancy again. I no longer feel like a woman who has never been pregnant, yet I don’t have any kids to show for it. Realistically, I know this will pass and I’ll have kids one day, but it’s so hard to dig out of the trenches. Thanks for sharing and I’m sending positive preggo vibes your way, when it’s the right time.

  26. Trust me, you are not the only one going throught this. I’m turning 37 in a matter of weeks…we’ve been trying to get pregnant for the last 6 yrs…and I feel the same way as you. Am I ready? Not sure, I don’t feel 36…but the clock is ticking, and everyone around us is having babies and ruining our social life at the same time. I agree, you somehow need to focus on what you have, and what is great in your life, instead of the negatives. It is hard, maybe impossible, for women our age. We know we can have it all, so when it doesn’t happen we feel like a failure.

  27. I see that you have a gazillion comments, so I’ll be brief.
    I am one of your biggest fans for many reasons, but one of them is the fact that I had the same problem when I was your age. It took 2 years to have my son, and then I never could have number two. So I learned to enjoy my son and not mourn the child that I could not have. And now that I am 54, I can tell you that there are things that are a lot worse than not being able to get pregnant. Hang in there and enjoy all your successes and all those peeps that love you to death. And you probably will have your sweet baby ! :)

  28. As I was reading this and thinking to myself, this girl worries way too much, you finally said the smart thing in your final paragaph and that is that no matter what age, you will always have these feelings about something. I agree that you need to enjoy the place you are in right now. YOu have plenty of time. I was just like you and could not decide but at age 36 I finally had my first and only child. Did it complete me? no, it just made life a bit better. But then I have spent the last 25 years worrying about whether I am doing the right thing as a parent and I am finally here to say that, yes, I did do the right things and the result is an incredible young woman. Sit back, enjoy your life and stop analyzing every little thing. Who gives a rat’s ass what other people are saying? IF you lose friends because you don’t have a child then they were never friends to begin with. A little motherly advice from someone who feels just like you do when people ask my age and I say “61”. How can that be when I feel 28 and sometimes 18?

  29. Totally agree and glad you could sum it up so eloquently. The only thing I would add is the notion of a babysitter. I love my one year old. I miss my free time. Even more than I miss my free time, though, I miss my friends. The availability and cost of a babysitter greatly impacts the ability for moms to keep their friend-relationships current. I didn’t fully understand that before my daughter. Hindsight makes me kick myself a little for not attending more friend-outings when I was sans baby.
    And Erin, happy (early) birthday from another August-girl. Thank you for being brave enough to put these thoughts in print!

  30. I think I echo everyone else’s sentiments when saying this was a wonderful post to read. Very insightful and true, and to me, very moving.
    I think women are often quick to judge one another and compare their lives. In my experience its usually women, whether it be your mom/friend/acquaintance, who prod you with those life milestone questions that can leave you feeling inadequate or unworthy. First its, do you have a boyfriend? Once the boyfriend is had, then its when are you going to get married? Then, after the marriage, its when will you have kids? It sometimes feels like you cant keep up, or you just aren’t “accomplishing” what you are supposed to. Sure, there are a few questions about your career and other areas of success in your life, but it seems to always come back to the marriage and baby subjects, those things always trumping whatever other happiness and achievements you may have.
    Like you so wisely said, everyones plan is different. Some women do not want children, and that is ok. Some maybe just not right now.
    I think its time we women stop being so hard on each other. Stop judging and comparing, and stop jumping to the marriage and baby questions and making it a competition. We have (as in women) come a long way through the years and now WE have the choice of what we want our lives to be. So lets lift each other up and commend one another for choosing happiness, whatever that may be.
    Thanks for the thought provoking and inspiring post!

  31. Your post reminds me something I read not too long ago. I hope you don’t mind if I share it here?

    “No Regrets”

    We are sitting at lunch when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.” “We’re taking a survey,” she says, half-joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?” “It will change your life,” I say carefully keeping my tone neutral.

    “I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more
    spontaneous vacations.”

    But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to
    decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but that becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable. I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking “What if that had been
    MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

    I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “Mom!” will cause her to drop
    a souffle or her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation. I feel I
    should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.

    She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby
    is all right.

    I want my daughter to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester
    may be lurking in that restroom.

    However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more
    years-not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child
    accomplish theirs.

    I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child! . I think she should know that she will fall in love with
    him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

    I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

    I hope she will understand why I can think, rationally about most
    issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children’s future.

    I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or a cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.

    My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say. Then I reach across the table, squeeze my daughter’s hand and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings. This blessed gift from God . . . that of being a Mother. “Author Unknown”

  32. Thank you for this post.

    I feel like that sometimes, but then I remind myself that I am living my dream. Moved from Argentina, to Portland (OR) to pursue a business degree. I was very lucky last year to meet my (now) husband. I wanted to be in the US since I was eight (my mom always recalls the day I announced that “when I’m a grown-up I will live in the US”)

    I want to be established in my career before I think about children. We have discussed this with my hubby and he agrees. We want kids, just not right now.

    Don’t feel like the “odd” one for not having kids right now. You are not alone.

  33. It’s very wise of you to recognize that your body will know when the time is right. I’ve seen this to be true in most women who are trying to get pregnant, and it was definitely the case when I was TTC. On your feelings toward friends with kids- I understand your side as I used to be on it. Very conflicted emotions. However, keep in mind that while yes, it is totally natural (and necessary for one’s sanity!) to gravitate toward other mothers when you have kids, that is not the only or biggest reason you don’t see them anymore. Kids all utterly consuming- they require so much attention, love and maintenance. Time is so hard to come by once you have a child. It can feel impossible to make time for friends with nap schedules and activities and school and bedtimes to contend with. And if you are working, you have SO little time with your children so what time you do have becomes the most sacred thing in your life.

  34. Erin, brilliantly written and I relate to so much of what you are saying. Love the “I am where I need to be. And I’ll be somewhere else soon enough” ….this will be my mantra moving forward.

  35. When your friends who are moms don’t meet you for a drink or hang out anymore, it is not because you are not a mom. Moms don’t hang out with each other, either. I have 3 small boys and don’t hang out with anyone. My other friends who are moms are as busy as I am and even though we try we can never get together. I yearn for a night out with anyone but I feel like I can’t miss being there for the challenging bed time routine of three small children. I also carry the guilt of a working mom, so could I really live with myself for missing my boys’ entire day and then missing their bed time? The only time I get with girlfriends is on the phone when I am driving alone. That is also rare. Moms miss their old friends as much as the friends miss them.

  36. Thank you for writing this! I feel this way everyday! Although we haven’t started trying to get pregnant yet it still hurts every time someone ask why we haven’t had kids yet.

  37. Beautifully written, and I think all women everywhere can relate in some fashion. I am recently engaged at 28 and have friends who are unmarried in their mid-30s and friends who are younger than me already married with kids. It’s crazy to think that society has set some sort of “timeline” for us when we’re all on such different wavelengths. When my fiance and I got serious and bought a house together, we actually felt a bit left out from all of our single friends. And my friends who now have kids? Forget about it – I do well to see them twice a year. I’m not considering babies until I’m in my mid-thirties (knock on wood), so for now, I don’t let myself feel concerned about when other people have theirs. Cherish this time in your life, because doing all the awesome things you do will become MUCH more challenging when you’ve got a little one-regardless of the amount of joy it brings to your life.

  38. A friend of mine linked to this post on Facebook, which was coincidentally the about the time my husband and I were told by our doctor they were referring us to a fertility specialist after a year of trying to get pregnant. We constantly live in a limbo world of our friends “with kids” and friends “without”. We have spent years building our careers and our home and are working on having a family. We are beyond blessed and know that things will happen in “our time” as well, but there is always that nagging feeling of “you are running out of time.” Your words ring so true to many of the challenges we face as we adapt to life in our 30s (and moving forward)-What, I am not 25 anymore?? and I know it resonates with so many of us and it is great to hear others in the same position!

  39. Thanks for the post. Even though I chose not to have kids (but who know I might be a stepmom someday), I agree this is less about that topic itself and more about how and in what ways we feel we belong and don’t belong. I have all kinds of friends in many types of situations with regard to lifestyle and kids or not, etc. One longtime friend (who has 2 special needs kids who are lovely but very time consuming), gave me some advice to also cultivate friends that have much in common with my lifestyle. I feel I have the best of both worlds with the friendships. I compromise but traveling more often to those friends with kids just to make things easier for them, and they appreciate that. I’ve never thought that married or single women have it easier or harder, just different at this point in time. I hope whatever unfolds will be a good fit for you.

  40. holy mother moses. you must be inside my head. and yeah, i’ve felt the urge to pick up the phone for the shrink a couple of times. i usually end up grabbing a margarita instead.

  41. Dear Erin,
    I read this post while sitting in my hospital gown, waiting to go in for a D&C. It was the perfect message at the perfect time and I thank you for it. With the procedure behind me (and two pregnancies over at 5 then 7 weeks), I have to focus on the other things in my life that bring me joy. It’s funny, I met one of my closest friend’s baby yesterday, she is only 10 days old. I have never seen a tinier, more perfect thing in my life. As I held her, this miracle, her head fitting in the palm of my hand, I felt at ease, that something so perfect, takes time and is/ will be the greatest gift. The sense of urgency, jealousy and sadness that filled me just days before vanished. I’ve been blessed with a dream of a husband, working for myself/ doing what I love, not to mention living in a fabulous city…and it it these things, that today, in this moment, I am utterly grateful for. Thank YOU for the reminder, that: I am where I need to be. And I’ll be somewhere else soon enough.

  42. Oh Erin! Thank you. Thank you for saying, so eloquently what I’m not brave enough to. I’d love to print this post out and laminate it to show people when they start quizzing me!
    I really identify with you – we’re similar in age and were the 1st to get married in our bunch. I’m really happy. And really happy with just us. We do want kids, but not right now. I’ve really got into yoga of of late (namaste and all that jazz) and it helps me practice being happy, and just being. It’s hard to say out loud what you want, when you dont know if youll ever get it. But always believe that good things are here now and better things are coming. Sending lots of love and luck your way x x

  43. Erin,
    You seem really sweet and so at 43 having been there and done that I am just gonna say it. If you truly want a baby pray about it and then do all you can to make it happen and do it NOW. Time is not your friend in this situation.

  44. Erin – Another faithful reader but first time poster. Well if I didn’t feel alone after your posting now I certainly don’t feel alone after the comments! Seems I am in your shoes at the moment. Sometimes I find being grateful for the busy career and time with relationships (that probably changes with kiddos) helps with a bit of the sting that comes with feeling like the crowd is in a different place than me. But such are the struggles of women who try to do it all! Your honesty and style are a treat.

  45. Hi Erin! I’m another long-time reader but first time poster. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. Just look how many women you have touched by simply sharing what we all have…or are going through! I’m a 32 yr old professional with a hectic career as a TV anchor. I’m in a serious relationship but question what’s next every minute. But you said it best…. “I am where I need to be and I’ll be somewhere else soon enough.” Thank you again for this wonderful dose of encouragement! **I knew I loved this blog for a reason.

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