I've had to think a lot about what I want the next five years to be. My school applications keep insisting on my vision of my 34-year-old self, for one. And when I'm confronted with the realization that it will take me three or four years to complete school, it lays bare one particular fact: I can't dare to have a baby for a while.
I mean, I could, except one program advises applicants not to make any big life plans for the first year, like getting married. They do not want you to plan a party, yet alone have a baby. So, yeah, if it's impossible to make catering decisions while enrolled in this program, I am definitely not bringing up bebe. The program will eventually slow down, but there's still the matter of starting that new career once I graduate. And unfortunately, we know companies do not look too kindly on the female and fertile.
I've had the luxury of many years to noodle over this though. I got married young, so I've spent most of my twenties married, watching friends slowly pair off and get married at more acceptable ages. Knowing most people in my peer group weren't even married yet provided a buffer for the kid talk with my husband. We had individually expressed vague desires for kids at one time or another, but there has never been a concrete timetable. It was a decision that could be put off indefinitely. But now these recent entrants into marriage are actually getting pregnant and having kids. Instagram acquaintances that I swear to god just got married have toddlers. For once, I'm the late bloomer, half-wondering to myself, gee, that seems fast. Slow down, whippersnappers, you have your whole life!
Except, ha, if you're a woman, not really. You have to have that baby before your eggs apparently wither into dust, whether your career is in a good place or not, you have savings or not, and you have a supportive partner or not. Biology is a shruggie and we are yawping into the void.
My five year plan is not foolproof. There's the terrifying prospect of not getting into my chosen program this year. What would that mean? Push back any possibility of a baby? Or have one now, and possibly never return to school, and perhaps, in turn, never return to work? To not be accepted this year would carry the sting of rejection, but also the sinking feeling that my body is older, not younger, and I don't have time for this shit.
If only I could put that in my personal statement.