Hide your children. You think I'm joking.
December 19, 2007 10:54 PM   Subscribe

In the last couple of months, I have gone from not thinking about children at all to being just. Plain. Baby. Nutzo. My biological clock has to be out of whack - I'm only in my late 20's. But for some reason, I am PANICKING to have a child. And I need one now. I need stories, advice, anecdotes, what have you. Posthaste, people! Posthaste!

I have NEVER been maternal. Ok, wait. I'm maternal toward dogs and children and friends and such, but not maternal in the "I play house with dolls!" way like most women were/are/were as children. I've never played house - I played dolls. That should clue ya'll in a bit. And up until recently, I was pretty okay with the idea of not getting married and never having kids. Sure, adopting is fine, but I didn't want to give birth (say that with a disgusted tone and that was me. in a nutshell).

And now? I think about babies ALL THE FRICKIN' TIME. EVERY FRICKIN' CELEBRITY IS PREGNANT. EVEN JAMIE LYNN FRICKIN' SPEARS. And it's really not helping this sickness.

I see a baby, I want the baby. I have to hold myself back from going to play with it. I was almost late to a job interview today because I was looking at frickin' MOSES BASKETS online.

I AM NOT A MOSES BASKET PERSON. Half of this shit I wouldn't even CONSIDER but yet I'm considering it. I am FREAKING out here. I've tried talking to my female friends and asking them if they're maybe going through something similar and all I get is "omfg WE SHOULD TOTALLY HAVE BABIES AT THE SAME TIME!"

And I can't really talk to my boyfriend about this because a) he is of the "wait, why are you talking about this? are you pregnant? then why are we talking about it?" line of thinking and b) even if he was rational enough to speak to about a serious topic like this without giving me a migraine, he is out of the country and incommunicado for the next two weeks. Thus, I am alone in my batshit crazy baby stupor.

Some things you may or may not need to know:

- I am in my late 20's.
- I am not pregnant.
- I am obviously a female.
- I am not pregnant.
- I have been in a committed relationship for almost a year.
- We will be getting married at some point.
- Prior to my current relationship, I spent the last few years in Dating Hell.
- I am not on my period.
- I am not pregnant.
- I am not having health issues.
- I am not pregnant.

And now, my question(s):

- is my biological clock busted?
- have you/r spouse gone through this very thing?
- is this whole NEED going to die out, even a bit?
- is there ANYTHING - aside from the batshit crazy need to bear offspring - that will help me calm down and actually be able to think without thinking about babies?
posted by damnjezebel to Health & Fitness (67 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
If you're in your late 20s, your biological clock is right on time. When I got pregnant with my daughter at 28, my doctor had me go through the usual "older mother" battery of tests (amnio, etc., etc.,) because 28ish is the peak before fertility starts to wane.

Don't take that to mean that I'm urging you to talk to your boyfriend and get to procreating right this second. Just know that intellectually, your baby lust may be too early, but biologically, it's right on time.
posted by headspace at 11:02 PM on December 19, 2007

Oh, this happened to me when I was around 28ish. I didn't get the urge to look at baby things, but I did actually start to believe that I wanted children and worrying about how that's going to happen seeing as I'm terminally single. It was really weird for me too because I hate kids and have never so much as babysat in my life.
posted by loiseau at 11:17 PM on December 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I was 28. I joke that I didn't have a biological clock, but a time bomb. Not so much a joke though. Never wanted 'em, never understood why anyone would want them, never paid attention to all those parenting things, nothing. Total 180. I cried for about a month trying to reconcile this total shift in my reality. It was terribly awkward.

I have two now & wouldn't trade them for the world. I have no words of wisdom as I fixed it all by getting pregnant on purpose two to three months later. But yeah. This is well within the realm of totally normal.
posted by susanbeeswax at 11:34 PM on December 19, 2007

I'm only 25, but this happened to me recently when I had a conversation with my professor about her life; graduating from college, having three kids as a single mom, and still managing to become an internationally known music professor at a top state college.

Her kids are about my age now and incredibly well-adjusted people, and I saw her as an example of someone who can have both the kids and the great career, something I had always been afraid could never happen successfully for me.

For some reason it made me want children to the point of tears, and perhaps as a result of that, unstable men suddenly became incredibly unattractive to me. I'm looking for baby-makin' material. It's frustrating, but I've decided to go with it.
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 11:54 PM on December 19, 2007

Who can tell why we want the things we want? I'm a dad, and I went from "eh, kids? nah" through "take 'em or leave 'em" to "me wantee" in the course of a couple of years in my early thirties.

It may have a biological component, but it doesn't have to; people change, and the things we're driven to want and do are altered as our lives are altered. Could it be purely chemical? Sure! Could it be that you're finally with a good stable man, and so you can conceive (pun intended) of a life with children for the first time without fear and stress? Sure!

Don't sweat it, but don't do anything hasty, either; after all, any child of yours deserves a mother and father who really, truly want them around. Take your time and enjoy the feelings, see if they stay, and start planning accordingly if those feelings stick around.

Oh, and be honest with your SO about your feelings, and find out how he feels; not because it's a baby thing, but because any time you shift radically into a new phase of personal needs and wants, your partner should be kept abreast of the situation.
posted by davejay at 12:02 AM on December 20, 2007

If this thread fills up with men going "Well, I'm not a woman, but...", SO HELP ME.

I like kids very much, but I didn't have the BABIES I MUST HAVE THEM thing until I was 29, and then my ovaries started going "Hey... that one's pretty good. We should make one! Do you want to make one?"

I'm a big-city girl, so I don't have many people around me endorsing the "We should all panic because we're 32 and not married and pregnant yet." nonsense, and I don't buy into it. Instead, I just stare at your babies. Like I want to eat them.

It definitely felt very chemical to me, and not me shifting into some different headspace: I went from liking kids a lot but thinking of motherhood as this distant goal to (and this is probably going to sound really odd and possibly terrible) thinking of motherhood almost in the same way that you want sex or chocolate NOW NOW NOW.

But that phase of weird, feverish intensity only lasted for a few months, so who knows.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:05 AM on December 20, 2007 [6 favorites]

This thread is truly terrifying to me. I am 26 and want nothing to do with kids. If I have this extreme a change of heart when I turn 28 due to hormonal chemicals I hope someone will lock me in the basement until it passes. I have no advice for you beyond maybe spend time with some actual babies and toddlers. And not that one absurdly perfect sweetheart of a kid your friend has-- but the realistic ones that aren't cute 24-7 and scream a lot. Bring on the tantrum-throwers. Volunteer to babysit constantly for everyone and see if that has any affect (besides making your friends love you. ) If the ideal wears off when faced with the reality-- huzzah. If it gets worse-- maybe it's a sign it's not just chemical?

I don't know, that's just what I would do. Once I was let out of the basement.
posted by np312 at 12:36 AM on December 20, 2007 [15 favorites]

I'm 22 and I've gotten this a few times, not just with babies but very strongly with weddings. I see a picture or movie of someone getting married and I think "aww...I want that."

And then I get near a screaming baby and remember how sick my best friend was when she was pregnant and I realize that I don't want to have kids because I wouldn't know what the hell I'd do with one if I survived long enough through its birth. (Mainly: I don't have the patience.)

so get yourself around not cute, annoying, screaming colicy kids and see if that changes anything.
posted by divabat at 12:43 AM on December 20, 2007

That same thing happened to me after I'd been with my husband for about a year. We'd gotten married recently and it was like my brain said, "You've got a male...now procreate!" I didn't want kids, not even a baby, just a pregnancy. It seemed like a purely chemical, biological urge.

What helped me was reading, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler. It made me realize what went into baby-making, how it all works, and how I could maximize my fertility later on. By the time I was done reading it I felt much better since I felt like I could have kids when I wanted them instead of having to rush to do it now. So perhaps reading the book and getting a physical to reassure yourself that you'll be able to have kids 4 or 5 years from now will help.
posted by christinetheslp at 12:54 AM on December 20, 2007

Having kids keeps life interesting IMO - speaking as the co-producer of two kids and owner of a vasectomy ;). Late 20s is a good time to start breeding IMO, although your american-influenced consumer culture tends to suggest that leaving things till they're almost too late is a much better idea.

I don't think my wife got too broody, but she knew my general position on the matter was "yeah we'll do that at some point reasonably soon", and took matters into her own hands when the time was right. OTOH I'm not sure how much effort we would have made if baby-making had been at all a complicated undertaking.
posted by singingfish at 12:57 AM on December 20, 2007

22 for me. It didn't even make any sense. I hadn't even thought about kids or whether I wanted to be a parent. And what was really really scary: I took risks while bonking like a rabbit without even thinking about it. And because the result of that risktaking is now about to turn 17, I suggest you get some serious don't-even-need-to-think-about-it contraception - like an implant, if it's suitable.

I don't think of so much like a biological clock as a biological imperative. My genes wanted to reproduce. Ta-da! And it didn't stop after i had a kid. As soon as I got over the fear of childbirth, I got pregnant again (less than 12 months later). My husband said he'd felt a drive too, like we were living over the top of the procreate-motherload. We decided then, that this rampant biological non-decision-making had to stop and maintained contraception until I got my tubes tied at 30. They wouldn't have done it any earlier for me.

So, I think your question is, is this desire normal? Sure, it is. Do we talk about it? I don't. Who wants to admit to being ruled by their hormones? I don't regret it - that would be pointless, and the two kids are really nice, and mostly do what they're told, but I had no idea that this was what I wanted.
posted by b33j at 1:59 AM on December 20, 2007

Best answer: I am there right now, totally brooding. My nephew is home and I am thinking "I should be a dad." Me? I think. Yes, John Parman, you would be an extremely excellent father and husband. Then I think I should go for a walk. I'm 28!! This should not be happening. There is a lot of pressure on me to meet someone and settle down, and it's very difficult.

I sympathize. Want to make babies?
posted by parmanparman at 2:19 AM on December 20, 2007 [8 favorites]

This doesn't happen only to women. I (m,32) never wanted children or even thought about it a lot. A few days ago I had a weird, vivid dream, of a little cute girl with curly hair clinging to my legs, calling me "daddy" all the time, and in my dream I felt very happy and loved her very much.
I told my girlfriend (28) and she's feeling it too, after a long "we don't want no kids"-phase. Maybe it's the season? Maybe the biological clock always wins? See it this way: Every one of us has an unbroken line of descent back to the very first lump of DNA that formed in the primordial oceans. Obviously not one of our ancestors failed to procreate, ever. It's a very strong feeling, and we can't escape :)
posted by Nightwind at 2:22 AM on December 20, 2007 [5 favorites]

I got the baby bug at 28. I went from: "Maybe we'll have babies someday" to "I need to be pregnant NOW" in about a week's time. My husband wasn't feeling as ready as I was, so we waited a year. I survived. The NEED slowed down but never went away. (until I got pregnant with baby #1).

You'll survive these few weeks. You may want to discuss future plans with the boyfriend - moving in together or getting married (whichever). A time line in your head for the next few years may calm your hormones for a bit.

Good luck. It's all totally normal. Just sucks a little.
posted by beachhead2 at 2:26 AM on December 20, 2007

I'm 28 in a similar situation (committed relationship for over a year, "dating hell" prior to that). The thing is, I don't share 90% of it with my boyfriend and I think this is a good thing. He knows that children are definitely in our future, and pretty soon after marriage, but all the cooing and freaking out mumbo jumbo in my head I keep it there. I think it's normal!

I think what also helps pull it back is as others have mentioned, seeing the downside of having kids. So you say even Jamie Lynn is having babies... but flip it around... would you want to be Jamie Lynn's mom right now? Teenagers frighten me into making sure we have protection well in stock. ;)
posted by like_neon at 2:38 AM on December 20, 2007

Well, I'm not a woman, but...

I'm really curious as to how this shift in attitude works. Is there a firmly established correlation with a hormonal shift? (In humans, that is. I've heard of the oxytocin/vasopressin results in other mammals.) Does it feel as though there's an immediate change in your outlook and goals, or does it seem driven by lower-level changes? For instance, do you start to feel like you should have a baby because you feel drawn to other people's babies? Is there a general increase in maternal feelings towards other creatures at the same time?

Such a radical change in values sounds incredibly violating, to me...
posted by Estragon at 3:32 AM on December 20, 2007

Well, I'm not a woman, but...

as noted, men get this, too (I get it every couple of years, and have since my early 20s); and every girlfriend I have ever had went through at least a short phase of this -- luckily not coinciding with my own clock-ticking, because otherwise I'd have lots of child support payments now. It's partly age-related, and partly comes up sometimes when you are at a certain point in a relationship, when having a child would not be a complete and total disaster. Babies are so impractical, so expensive, so smelly and loud and sleep-depriving, not to mention sometimes dangerous to the mother's health, that I think the human race would have died out if were not for having baby chemicals take over your brain and produce these urges.

Since I really, really like babies, I say "go ahead and have it" and then all the childless clock-tickers around you can stare at it intently and offer to hold it "just for a minute" and smell that good baby smell.
posted by Forktine at 3:50 AM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

I'm only 25 so far but when I get the pangs, I remember this:

'Morning' sickness sucks - really, really sucks
Sore nipples are not fun
You will feel as big as a house and need to pee all the time
Your belly will become public property and complete strangers will treat you like an invalid
You get kicked from the inside
...then your waters break! (probably over someone's nice new leather couch ;) )
Then a bunch of doctors/nurses/midwives come and stare at your vagina
Giving birth is painful, dangerous and so much can go wrong its amazing our species has survived.... (in fact I'm sure the hormonal urges you're feeling right now are the reason we've survived)

Then the kid is born:
Sleepless nights
Baby Vomit
Changing nappies
Complete loss of social life (unless your friends are also dropping sprogs)
Major career hit
Basically, your life is no longer your own.

and if all that really doesn't put you off, you and your boyfriend need to have a serious chat ;)
posted by missmagenta at 3:52 AM on December 20, 2007 [14 favorites]

—Yes. Exactly yes. Although I got to 35 before one afternoon the need popped into my head.
—Not sure. For me, I got pregnant within a week (hey, I was 35...why wait) but among friends (ages spanning 25-55) most who wanted one eventually got pregnant. The few who did not due to fertility issues or spousal opposition adopted humans or small dogs.
—Sex. No, really, sex. Oy.

(on preview)
To offer a contrasting experience regarding pregnancy/early childhood: mine was the easiest pregnancy ever. 20# gained, zero morning sickness, friends and general public who didn't suddenly start touching me up, the totally cool sensation of feeling something growing inside, the really really cool experience of watching a significant part of my biology swing into action without me consciously having to do a damn thing, and as far as the birth went, one word: epidural.

The first few weeks after the baby was born had some crazy moments; I recall crying hysterically in the shower a few days later during a hormone crash all the while being aware a) this was my hormones crying, not me and b) wow, these hormones are powerful stuff. There were a lot of random bodily fluids but honestly, I saw more and worse in college. Social-life wise, it depends on how large you've cast your net. Being relatively late to the baby party, we suddenly regained a lot of friends who had children earlier. Not that there was any falling out but just a drifting away: they got busy and had different priorities once they had kids. Once we had ours, we understood and the wavelength was back.

I took zero career hit but admittedly, that's probably due to my age at pregnancy.

And...my life isn't my own. My life has never been my own although it took 30 some years for me to figure that out. Relatives, significant others, friends, neighbors, coworkers, even total strangers and society in general all depend on each of us, in some way. The nice thing about a child is at last the investment of time, care and love spent feels completely reciprocated.
posted by jamaro at 4:29 AM on December 20, 2007 [5 favorites]

I know how you feel - I am 27 and female and I have been feeling a little baby-crazy on and off for the past year. I just got married in September and we are kind of/kind of not trying (that is, I went off birth control and I'm charting but we don't really abstain). My husband is 30 and I think his biological clock is ticking too, as it were.

I really sympathize, though; I have dreams all the time where I'm pregnant, or where I have a little baby and I wake up sad that I don't have a baby.
posted by sutel at 4:34 AM on December 20, 2007

- is there ANYTHING - aside from the batshit crazy need to bear offspring - that will help me calm down and actually be able to think without thinking about babies?

Babysitting. Seriously.
posted by happyturtle at 4:41 AM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Sorry to read that this is stressing you out. Although I *am* a women (and currently pregnant!) I’ve never had these urges, so don’t know if it’s misguided to ask – is there any way you can totally embrace these feelings in a super-pink-girly or solid-earth-mother kind of way (except for actually having the babies)? Buy a shedload of Anne Geddes stuff or do volunteer childcare so that you can suck up as much baby niceness as you like? Possibly, going with the flow rather than fighting against the urges may make things easier.

Not to get all Luce Irigaray about it but as horrid as they often are, having periods, wanting babies, giving birth etc are also some of the more amazing things about being a woman and we should give themselves the opportunity to make the most of the good parts of them.

This may be the pregnancy talking. ;-)
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 4:50 AM on December 20, 2007

Am I a freak of nature? I (female) have never, EVER wanted children. NEVER have I felt any instinctive, hormonal urges. And now that I'm permanently sterile my reaction is "oh thank God."

But a lot of women (and men) do get these instinctive, hormonal broody urges; if the human race were made up of people like me we would have died out long before we learned to make tools.

Just remember that "biological urge" doesn't mean you have to give into it; you want to take a good hard look at where you are career-and-relationship-wise. And if you do want to go ahead and have a kid, make damn sure your partner is on board with it. "Oopsing" a partner is never EVER EVER EVER a good idea. EVER.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:57 AM on December 20, 2007 [6 favorites]

Nothing anyone hasn't said yet, but:

- is my biological clock busted?

Nope! I sort of took it as a sign that you found the right guy and things are progressing as they should. It's Nature!

- have you/r spouse gone through this very thing?

Yes, we both did. I wouldn't let us have kids until we had a house to put them in, so I used to get all teary at any mention of the word "house" until we finally borrowed a down payment. I was insane. This from someone who STILL doesn't like other people's kids that much. But my own are awesome.

- is this whole NEED going to die out, even a bit?

Not until you have kids. But you can hang on a little while until you get things ready for them -- get married if you feel like it, etc.

- is there ANYTHING - aside from the batshit crazy need to bear offspring - that will help me calm down and actually be able to think without thinking about babies?

I doubt it -- just have fun imagining it. I think the suggestion for birth control you don't have to think about is probably a good idea until you're both ready.
posted by theredpen at 5:19 AM on December 20, 2007

It happened to me when I was 24 or so. Like flipping a light switch.

Interestingly for years before that I never ever wanted kids. EVER. A casual boyfriend informed me that at a certain age that would change. I scoffed and told him he was nuts.

He was actually right.

(If you can figure out a way to have your grandkids first I do recommend that highly. ;-) )
posted by konolia at 5:21 AM on December 20, 2007

I went through this at about the same age, it went away after a while. I wouldn't take it as a "sign" of anything other than your hormones doing what natural selection has programmed them to do. If you're not in a place where you're actually ready for a baby (and from the sounds of it, your BF definitely isn't), then chalk it up to your biological clock and accept that humans are animals, affected by their body chemistries, but animals with big ol' brains that (should) allow them to over-ride their instincts.
posted by biscotti at 5:37 AM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

My friend used to say she never wanted to get married or have kids. I believed her because it really fit with her personality and lifestyle. That was several years ago. She's getting married next year and wants to have kids immediately thereafter. How old is she now? 28.

Since this in on your mind now, you will be noticing a lot of pregnant women and babies. They will be everywhere. Realize that they were always there.
posted by probablysteve at 5:58 AM on December 20, 2007

Honey, it's hormones. Hits you like a truck, huh? I didn't get the THUMP! until I hit 30 or so.

For me it comes in waves. In your more lucid moments, write down a plan that does not involve getting knocked up this very second. (No use writing up a plan explaining why you don't want to have babies. It won't make sense when your clock's doing that thing.)
posted by desuetude at 6:15 AM on December 20, 2007

For a neurological (neuropsychiatric?) perspective, read The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine. She talks about how all the different stages of life affect a woman's brain. Reading it, I had a lot of "Oh, that's why!" moments.
posted by CiaoMela at 6:33 AM on December 20, 2007

I'm single and 25, which seemed to me too young to get baby fever. Unfortunately, there are so many pregnant women and cute new babies among my coworkers that I started to feel a little left out. Then my good friend told me she was expecting, too, and something inside me snapped -- my biological clock went to war with my practical side, which knew that even if I wanted to get knocked up, it wasn't quite the right point in my life for that. Fortunately, the battle ended in a tie, and I adopted a kitten. She's nothing like a baby, of course, but I love that she's satisfied my maternal side without all the fuss involved in pregnancy. For now, anyway. I know the baby fever will get me again, but hopefully the timing will be better next time.
posted by phatkitten at 6:45 AM on December 20, 2007

Thanks, CiaoMela.
posted by Estragon at 6:57 AM on December 20, 2007

There must be something wrong with me. I'm 35, female, in a committed relationship for (gasp) 8 years, and the closest I've come to it is warming up to the idea of picking up a friend's child. I never aspired to parenthood, and always figured if something happened, I'd do ok, but I wasn't about to try. Now I have several friends who have the GOTTA GOTTA HAVE BABBIS! fever and are hard at play trying to make it happen, but to no avail. I feel for them, but can't empathize.

I *was* reading this thread in comfort thinking, gee, if I made it to 35 I must be safe...then saw jamaro's post.

Look at it this way: you could be obsessed with something less normal, then everyone would look at you funny. Be honest with your partner and see if he's got the bug (and is maybe fueling yours?) But please, for the love of all that is sacred, don't bring a child into this world based on hormone crazies alone! And no pins in the prophylactic.
posted by foxydot at 7:03 AM on December 20, 2007

At 24 I was like "nope, not really interested, thanks." Our best friends had their first child then. He still laughs about my look of fear and horror when I visited them in the hospital and how I politely tried to not hold their son.

At 25 I had it hit me that I wanted kids. It wasn't the whole NOW moment you're having. However, it was a "Yeah! I could do that!"

At 26 and 27 I would cry whenever my period came and I wasn't pregnant. It sucked. I would ask my husband if he would still love me even if we never had kids. Silly me.

Then, just before Christmas that year, I had lunch with a gf and she suggested I needed to pee on a stick. That night I did. My reaction was a stunned "HOLY SHIT! GET IN HERE!"

I've had it a time or two since then. We've tried and not succeeded to get pregnant again. The doc's have told me that I shouldn't even consider another pregnancy. I get it sometimes but not so much anymore. I'm able to look at that urge for a pregnancy and negate it with the desire to live. I still have the urge for a baby though. Just not the pregnancy.
posted by onhazier at 7:10 AM on December 20, 2007

Ha. I'm 23 and just last night I had a particularly intense dream that I was pregnant. It's not the first I've had in the past few years, and it's one of a bunch I've had very recently! Is there something in the air? Nah, I really think it's all the celebrity and friend pregnancies I've been hearing about recently. I'm jealous of that excitement, the attention, and all the good stuff that goes along with being pregnant, while ignoring the reality of the fact that I am not. even. remotely. ready. Neither is my boyfriend, who is actually younger than me.

Still, I can [quite literally] dream...and know that one day the time will be right.
posted by infinityjinx at 7:25 AM on December 20, 2007

One thing to add that I had not seen in any other postings.....you had mentioned you had been through Dating Hell before your current half...could it be that this new mood is due to that? Most women are very attaching creatures, if you have had horrible experiences with men prior to your man now, perhaps it is your psyche (and a bit of your biological clock) that is elated at having a wonderful partner in your life. I am assuming you two are currently happy since you had stated there were plans to marry in the future? Perhaps this is an extent to that.

Biologically and chemically, your baby cravings are understandable. I know the age of 28 is when fertility wanes, but it is different for every woman when her actual clock is. We all get our periods and boobs at different ages, why not baby phases too? I never wanted kids. But as soon as I met my husband, that is all I have thought about.....I really do think it is closely connected to meeting the right person, I know it has been that way for me and I just turned 24!
posted by dnthomps at 7:36 AM on December 20, 2007

One more "me, too." I think it was when I was about 28, too. Maybe closer to 29.

Having kids is completely financially, physically, and emotionally unfeasible and/or unwise for me personally. It still made me all weepy at times.

It goes away, mostly. I'm 33 now and no longer get that incredibly intense urge you're describing. I do sometimes get a bit sad -- but more pissy and offended -- when people talk about having kids and basically imply that it's the only reason worth living. But that's another issue.

Oh, wait, your actual questions:

- is my biological clock busted?
No, sounds like it's working perfectly.

- have you/r spouse gone through this very thing?
Not applicable for me, but I have a VERY hard time believing guys go through this exact same feeling.

- is this whole NEED going to die out, even a bit?

- is there ANYTHING - aside from the batshit crazy need to bear offspring - that will help me calm down and actually be able to think without thinking about babies?
Not sure about this one. I'm guessing that what might work would vary from person to person.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 7:37 AM on December 20, 2007

Clearly, you are not alone. Mrs. Plinth got hit hard around 31 or 32, to the point where I could tell when she was looking at anything that was making her feel the "I want THAT now feeling." She had a particular expression on her face and I would get her attention and say, "babybabybabybabybabybaby".

There are so many incentives and disincentives which is one of the reason why having and raising children is one of the most challenging and human of endeavors.

To address your questions, like everyone else has said, your clock is pretty much right on time. Good for you!

I think you should talk to your boyfriend about this. It's fair communication to let your partner know when your body is affecting how you feel and how you act. Example: my adrenal glands have, at times, acted funny and given me a very, very short fuse. I sure let Mrs. Plinth know so that she knows that it's me, not her and that I'm trying to do what I can. It's fair to both of you.

Will these need die out? Sure - as the hormones go away.

How can calm yourself down? There was some awesome disincentives that remind you of the reality of pregnancy. I'll offer a few others:
'roids - big motherfuckers that reek and ache and the doctors will do next to nothing but palliate
back pain - like you've never felt, training you to not sleep because when the child is born, you'll be dreaming of the night when you can get through without an interruption and you'll be trying to find that one dream truss that supports 'the belly' when your body fails you
maneuverability - embarking and disembarking from vehicles will feel like craning a piano into a second story window
feet - can't see 'em but they've swollen up like balloons and you sure as hell feel them
bodily fluids - for YEARS you will be dealing with them: poo, puke, pee, bile, blood, snot, pus, lymph, ear wax, vernix, meconium, tears, and so on.

(aside - I'm a father of two and while I don't love every minute I wouldn't trade the experience in - the curiosity that causes a child to reach into a diaper and create a code brown situation requiring immediate containment is the same curiosity that drives a child to giggle out the middle of nowhere because (apparently) toes are funny. Your time may come - it's just not now.)
posted by plinth at 7:40 AM on December 20, 2007

This thread is scaring the bejesus out of me ... I thought I was safe at this point in my 30s ... now I'm terrified I'm going to have some hormonal snap in the next few years and all of a sudden start cooing and dreaming and ugh .... I can only hope that my biological imperatives remain dormant.

but to address your concerns, I think the suggestion of going on an aggressive babysitting stint would be helpful for you. Then you will know if you are interested in the reality of raising a child or just the media created fantasy of motherhood.

If you decide that this is what you really want ... then talk to your boyfriend about it.
posted by Julnyes at 7:52 AM on December 20, 2007

I'm not a woman but...... ;)

My wife miscarried in 1997 and after that she wanted nothing to do with the whole pregnancy thing. We both hated the idea of having kids and wanted nothing to do with them. Around 1999 we were spending a lot of time with a friend of mine who had two kids. Watching the way my wife doted over our friends kids made me snap in a big way. She was still so-so on the idea but damn, she sure looked like she wanted to be a mom. Then in 2000 it happened. She had our first daughter in 2001 and still wants more but realizes that its pretty risky now at her age.

My wife was 41 which, to me, would be an indication that this can happen at any time. Since I'm a dude I can't vouch for that. She still talks about having another one but realizes the risk involved at our age. Sounds like that biological clock has a mind of it's own!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:34 AM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

What's wrong with thinking about babies? Maybe it's in your description, but I don't see you describing a I MUST HAVE ONE NOW as much as an OMG CUTE WANT TO PLAY AND SQUEEZE AND SNIFF. And any rational person thinking more than 5 minutes ahead realizes that as much fun as kids and cats and dogs (ad infinitum) are to play with, they're a big and long commitment. So why can't you just let yourself think "OHH NICE WANT!" when you look at a baby without working yourself into a huge complex? Presumably you can have these impulses and desires when you look at a big fancy house or expensive car or any number of other things that would require huge life changes to support.

You're changing in your outlooks and desires and things you enjoy, as we all do as long as we're alive, and your outlook on kids has shifted. Perhaps that's a nurture thing or a responsibility one, maybe it's a reflection of other things going on in your life. You're having an obsession problem with what is, honestly, one brief stage in a LONG process, go confront yourself with the overall picture and reality. Maybe that'll put you off entirely and your earlier impulses were accurate. Maybe you'll discover you don't care and you love everything about caring for another (and there's nothing wrong with that, so stop beating yourself up for perhaps changing in your goals). Maybe the truth will be somewhere in between.

np312 and happyturtle give good advice - indulge your impulses here in a productive way that also let you soak in what the reality is like. I think babies are neat too, and can do so without worrying about my opinion on child-rearing. You clearly are feeling like you can't trust yourself with that impulse. So go get some practical experience.
posted by phearlez at 8:35 AM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

I don't think you necessarily can/should quell the urge to have BABIES EVERYWHERE. There are extremely good reasons (as well as powerful urges) to have children earlier rather than later in life if you are a woman.

On the one hand, there are various medical procedures by which older women with significantly reduced fertility can still carry a pregnancy to term - on the other hand, what a lot of people don't realize is that most of these procedures are invasive, expensive, and emotionally draining to undergo. There are some really well written blogs out there by women trying to get pregnant through various fertility procedures (pretty heart breaking to read, though).

Further, we're finding out now that the window of optimal fertility is smaller than previously thought; for some women, their fertility declines sharply beginning in their early thirties. I recommend reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility for more perspective on this.

Anyways, I think that you should definitely talk to your boyfriend as soon as possible. Wanting to have children is a natural and rational goal in life. You want a boyfriend/fiance/husband who supports your decisions and helps you to achieve your life goals, whatever they be.

Nota bene: I'm typing this and joggling my seven week old son in a bouncy seat next to me, and I knew that my husband was the right man for me when we were dating and he made funny faces at every baby we saw in the restaurant, street, or supermarket.
posted by Wavelet at 9:19 AM on December 20, 2007

Response by poster: I'm only halfway through reading your responses, and I feel the need to apologize to all of those that are now scared half to Jesus.

(but i take exceptional pride in knowing i'm not alone. thank you =)
posted by damnjezebel at 9:42 AM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think this is normal with a lot of the "big" life things. Every now and then I think I desperately want to own a house. Once I really think about it I think, man, why would I want to own a house? Too much work. Not ready for that yet. Same with babies- I have several friends who have them, so I get a decent amount of baby time and baby/baby parent time. I love my friends, but some of them have gone completely batshit since having a child. I don't want to be that, so that fixes it for me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:10 AM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

(The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine has been fairly well debunked; she used a lot of made-up research.)

damnjezebel, it might also be the holidays reinforcing some of this. I've noticed there are all sorts of cozy-family television and print ads lately, and children look totally adorable all bundled up in hats and boots, and there's just a general feeling right now (for me at least) of "FAMILY! FAMILY GOOD! YAY, FAMILY!" The reality doesn't always match up to that feeling, of course, but I'm definitely going through thought exercises like "How would I dress up my kids for Halloween?" and "How would I want Christmas to be for my kids?" (and I don't have kids). The country just seems to get very kid-friendly and kid-focused from Halloween through Christmas, I think.
posted by occhiblu at 10:18 AM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't know why you think your biological clock is out of whack -- as other people have said, it's right on schedule. You've probably been fertile over half your life! It's just modern times that cause us to wait so long...

I'm 24 and engaged and it comes in waves.
posted by changeling at 10:43 AM on December 20, 2007

One way to deal with your brain is to make pregnancy seem creepy and disturbing. For example, look at this article about conflict between fetuses and mothers during pregnancy (courtesy of this thread). It's all about how your future sweet little baby will hang out in the womb manipulating you.
posted by medusa at 11:41 AM on December 20, 2007

It was the fall of my 29th year. I was driving home from work and, suddenly and very distinctly, I wanted a baby. Like, NOW. If there'd been a ready option for me to go and get knocked up that very minute I would have done so. I'd never in my life felt something so powerfully biological in myself. Upon arriving home I actually sat in my room for a good hour talking myself out of going to the nearest bar, picking up whoever I could find and just doing it already. Frankly, it scared the crap out of me.

Until then I'd never wanted kids - I'd actively disliked them. None of my friends were having babies so it wasn't some kind of environmental stimulus. What it was was coming directly from Inside The House, as it were.

Since then I've definitely leveled off and my attitude has opening up. I'm 35 and not in a position to have children anytime soon (so perhaps having one of my biological own is out of the question) but I now think I would probably not avoid any who happened through my life in the way I thought I would when I was younger. In fact, at times, I get downright nostalgic for the impending loss of my fertility and the option it once gave me. I don't think I'd have made a good mother at 29 (I only became this magnificent at 32) but sometimes I wish I'd have put my shoes on and headed out to try my luck.
posted by marylynn at 12:03 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

If it's any consolation (probably not), once the crazy hormone thing dies down, you may start worrying about fertility. Even though 28 is a good time, you've got 7 more years on average of good feritlity. Anecdotally, many of my friends have had healthy babies into their late 30's.

Just a datapoint. Good luck!
posted by lalochezia at 12:05 PM on December 20, 2007

One way to deal with your brain is to make pregnancy seem creepy and disturbing

I kinda feel like this is what makes people "snap" - it's like it gets repressed and then bursts forth, instead of just being a normal possibility that is neither ew/ugh/alien or MUSTHAVENOW. I dunno, maybe I'm weird, I'm already 34, and I feel how I've felt about babies for a long time. They're neat, maybe I'll have one at some point, won't be the end of the world if I miss out, though it might be a little regrettable. Seems to me you should just relax and start taking seriously the real choices you have at this point in your life. (I'm not saying your hormones have no say here, but it's a two way street.)
posted by mdn at 12:20 PM on December 20, 2007

2nd occhiblu. I completely agree that it's the bizarre family-focus that magnifies from Halloween, ramping up for Thanksgiving and pouring on the cute-cuddly aspect for Christmas. And yet New Year's has a completely different focus, let's get drunk and party. I think. Does that seem right to you?

My mother and I had this conversation last Sunday. It's dark and cold in most parts of the world, it's the end of another year and you still don't have your life together, no matter how old you are. All of that together can be more than a little overwhelming. Maybe get a kitten, or take a few deep breaths, and see what kind of things you can control in your life.
I notice the 'babybabybaby' drive whenever my life is spiraling beyond what I can control.
posted by lilithim at 1:32 PM on December 20, 2007

For some women, it never goes away. Not even having babies makes it go away. They still want another one. Or two. Or so.

Me, personally? Don't even like kids. Not at all fond of the notion. And, yeah, some women never hear their clock ticking - my mother for instance. She will hold babies and such, because it's polite, but I don't think she actually likes them. At all.

The chances of me having a hormonal 'snap' are to say the least, low. I'm 26 for reference.
posted by ysabet at 3:07 PM on December 20, 2007

And, yeah, some women never hear their clock ticking - my mother for instance.

Except that she did, because she had you, right?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:30 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm with mdn. (At least, my interpretation of mdn's comment.)

I'm a couple years older than you and since I was a teenager I've known I want kids, absolutely but eventually. It's always been a sort of hope and fantasy, but the feeling has never been intense and immediate for more than minutes (when I'm holding a very cute baby). I think this may be - in part - because I have been comfortable with the desire for children for ages, and so that desire doesn't have to burst out of my psyche like water shooting out of a hole in a hose.

So, for your questions:
- is my biological clock busted? Of course not - It's PERFECTLY normal to want kids by your age. Decades ago (and in most of the world still) girls have their first babies between 14 and 18. Ish. But anyway, way younger than 28.
- have you/r spouse gone through this very thing? Not really. I'd be interested to see how many women feel like me - constantly interested in having children, but never intensely so. It's not the right time for me to have kids, but I look forward to being able to be in the right time and to enjoy it when it happens.
- is this whole NEED going to die out, even a bit? I can't answer that having never had more then minutes of baby cravings, but I would imagine it's like other cravings... they either go away or you satisfy them. I'm sure you can get through this. In my experience, intense emotions eventually subside, from exhaustion if nothing else.
- is there ANYTHING - aside from the batshit crazy need to bear offspring - that will help me calm down and actually be able to think without thinking about babies? Distract yourself. Think about all the terrible things involved in being a parent, as others have listed.

Since you have been anti-baby for so long, I think it's only fair to the world and your future babies (and your bf) that you resist this urge, let it subside, think rationally about baby-making, make a decision about children, and then see if the urge comes back.
posted by n'muakolo at 7:38 PM on December 20, 2007

Is it just a baby craving? Do you notice the urge to gobble up children? Because, like puppies and kittens, babies are adorable, cute, fun and relatively easy (compared to children). But, most babies will become children that pick their noses, YELL instead of cry, throw things, ask a zillion questions, want to eat junk food when you try to get them to be healthy, make things really messy....etc.

Which is why spending more time with older kids might help put things in perspective. How difficult it really is...and the cuteness comes in very different ways.

Oh, and if this passes as a biological phase minus the moses baskets...you will have your early 30s to really enjoy another biological phase....your sexual peak! Not quite as easy when you have a kid or 2.
posted by hazel at 7:39 PM on December 20, 2007

I'm a twentysomething woman, and I get the baby fever too. The best remedy is to babysit kids of any age for extended periods of time (like at least a half-day), or even better, stay in the home of friends with kids for a few days. I bet the need dissipates around the fourth inexplicable crying jag you have to comfort. I stayed with friends who have a 1 and 3 year old, and while the kids were lovely, there was much squealing, and they just stayed so YOUNG for the whole week I was there. I nurtured and played, and then three hours later I hadda do it all again, and by the end of the week, they were still 1 & 3 years old, despite my hours of wholesome play. That experience wrapped my personal babyhammer in foam for the time being- it's been several months and still I'm A-OK without kids right now. Although I know I'll be popping out at least a couple in the next decade, and promise to nurture them endlessly til they are 18, and then they can nurture me.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:26 PM on December 20, 2007

Nthing all of the responses above that say: your biological clock is not busted, and you are not crazy. I just turned 28 and am currently six months pregnant, so my crazy maternal desire is being satisfied, but it came on with a vengeance just after I got married 1.5 years ago. Something about being in what I perceived as a safe, permanent situation must have just turned on the baby hormones (even though we'd been together for 7 years before that...). Perhaps that's a little of what you're going through as well. Also, my pregnancy has been really wonderful so far, emotionally and physically, which I sort of looked forward to because that's the experience my mother had.
I am not sure about the whole need part dying down. I tried to convince myself that we weren't ready- we didn't own a house, we lived in a HCOL area, I wanted to stay home with the baby, etc, but my husband joined me in the baby-craziness and we actually moved to a LCOL area with better employment, bought a house, etc. all basically so that we could have a child. Talk with your boyfriend, see how he's feeling. Even if he's not on the same wavelength, I think it would be helpful to put your feelings out there.
I'm not sure how you can fully tune out the urge to procreate, but I think that focusing on the non-baby things you enjoy helps- think about the things you can do spontaneously now, like going to see a late movie or having a party, that you might put on hold after you have a child.
posted by mrstrotsky at 8:53 PM on December 20, 2007

I'm with mdn...I'm a couple years older than you and since I was a teenager I've known I want kids, absolutely but eventually. It's always been a sort of hope and fantasy, but the feeling has never been intense and immediate for more than minutes

Just to be clear, I think there are multiple levels of relaxed interest. I would not say I've ever had a hope or fantasy about being a parent - it's more like I feel like I'd miss an aspect of life which could provide a perspective unavailable anywhere else. But if I had to choose between "never publish a book" and "never have a kid", I'm pretty sure I'd give up the kid...

Maybe that would be a dumb choice, I dunno, but I definitely don't have a raging need for children, just a sort of curiosity. I like kids, and I think development is fascinating, and I can imagine the whole thing being pretty cool. (I do not enjoy them enough to work with them constantly or anything - I definitely need "grown up time" & would it be a small family). If it never works out, I have a lot of other interests, though. But I suppose with all the obstacles to actually following through, perhaps that's why you're more likely to have kids than I am...

Except that she did, because she had you, right?

I think the point is that there are people who just decide to have children, rather than getting ordered by their biological clock.
posted by mdn at 9:09 PM on December 20, 2007

I think the point is that there are people who just decide to have children, rather than getting ordered by their biological clock.

I'm not sure I believe there's a difference. In the end, everyone decides.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:21 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

About a year ago, at 28, I had something similar. It wasn't wanting a baby so much, but wanting to be pregnant. I can't describe it much better than that - i just really, really wanted to be pregnant. I wanted to be huge. I wanted to be responsible for growing something as cool as a baby inside me. I wanted all the oohing and aahhhing and random people touching my belly. I wanted to be shopping for baby clothes and everything related. I also wanted to eat everything I craved and not feel guilty. I didn't really feel the need to have the kid so much, however. I think i was thinking I could handle 9 months of change - not 18+ years.

It passed. Thank god. All I really want now is a couple cats. Hell, I think i'd rather be the crazy cat lady than have a kid right now.
posted by cgg at 9:40 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, the need will die out. There are lots of people who wish they never had kids, given the state of the world. I know this because many people have told me so. There are so many unwanted kids in the world, so many people that need care, that you can console yourself with the fact that there will always be someone that needs your mother love. You do *not* need to add to the sum of human reproduction in this overloaded world. It's not all good, necessary. Holding off could also be good. Let it be, let it go, be aware, don't act on impulse.
posted by Listener at 10:08 PM on December 20, 2007

Rosie M. Banks - You're not a freak. I'm 27 (been married for 2.5 years) and I've never wanted them for a second. I long for the day that I have enough money to get sterilized.
posted by mabelcolby at 3:36 AM on December 21, 2007

I'm not sure I believe there's a difference. In the end, everyone decides.

I know several women in their 60s who say that they never wanted children; they just went along with what everyone around them (and particularly their husbands) were expecting them to do, which was having children.

I think this is much more explicitly a choice today than it was a generation or two back, which is why these decisions become so agonizing. I mean, yes, of course it was a choice then, and there were women who chose to not have children. But that was a harder choice to make than it would be now -- fewer birth control alternatives, fewer employment and social options for women, etc.
posted by Forktine at 4:10 AM on December 21, 2007

Anecdotal absolutely. I was that friend who loved everyone else's children but couldn't even begin to imagine having kids of my own. Lived with someone for 4 years, the topic came up and was quickly resolved without regrets (what-if's remain, of course). That relationship ended, was single for a few years, and then fell very quickly and unreservedly in love, hormones went zing zing zing and all of a sudden I was that friend who always said she'd never have children but did (at 34).

The thing is, unless you feel really violated by the fact that you're carrying someone inside of you, you will love the person you produce. Anytime is the right time, but you can't ignore the fact that if you're not prepared for it, or if everything turns to shit, or even if you think you are prepared for it, it can be extraordinarily difficult. You'll pretty much always love yer kid(s) though. You gotta remember that you will always be you and you won't suddenly turn into supermum and forget about what's important to you as an individual.

I love being a mum (I have two now) but I'm still the person I was before. I just have to be aware that I have responsibilities (in all kinds of ways) that I didn't have before and I have to face up to them. Today, for instance, I was shouty mum and oh my god I just wanted half an hour to myself, but at the end of the cliche, I've had to adjust to what parenthood has brought me, and I have to make sure that the end result (my lovely boys) know absolutely that I love them, before they go to sleep.
posted by h00py at 5:06 AM on December 21, 2007

Can't offer advice on what to do. I'm 26 and at the point where I hear about women's miserable, god awful, puking every day, bed rest, gestational diabetic misery and think..."Awww, bring it. Bring me the babiiiiies." Seriously, I want a baby so badly that puking three times a day for 9 months seems like a fair place to start to get one. It's a really hard set of emotions. If you figure it out, please let us know.
posted by bilabial at 5:01 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think the point is that there are people who just decide to have children, rather than getting ordered by their biological clock.

I'm not sure I believe there's a difference. In the end, everyone decides.

Ah. There are two things that make me disagree with this assessment. First, my grandmother hates children. Always had. Probably always will. We got along because I was just a little adult. She had open contempt for my siblings. But when she was a little girl, the legend has it, she had a vision of herself with four children. So she grew up and had four miserable children.

Second. Abortion issues in this country remain...tense. There are a lot of women, young and otherwise, having children today who don't "choose" them. Whether through failed contraception, inability to procure contraception, or a partners refusal to use contraception, women get pregnant from having sex, not from wanting a baby. Even though abortion is technically legal today, that was not the case before Roe v. Wade (and may return to pre Roe v. Wade status). Additionally, even after that case, there were areas where abortion remained unavailable.

So let's please stop assuming that every woman with a child chose/wanted it.
posted by bilabial at 5:29 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

28. Got baby fever. Normal.
posted by k8t at 8:33 AM on December 22, 2007

I'm not sure I believe there's a difference. In the end, everyone decides.

Well, isn't that dismissing the claims of the people describing their experiences in this thread? The point is some people say they feel compelled by urges beyond their control. Whether that's just subconscious desires taking over so that conscious choices don't have to be faced, or a preset and powerful DNA trigger that can only be followed or fought against, is basically a philosophical question, but the experience of mothers clearly differs.
posted by mdn at 11:50 AM on December 22, 2007

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