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Happy Family Day Canadians in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan! Happy Viola Desmond Day in Nova Scotia, Islander Day in P.E.I. and also Louis Riel Day in Manitoba! Phew. Why can’t all of Canada agree on the same bloody holiday? That’s what this girl from an island that fits into your country, like, 40 times over (I calculated it) wants to know. What better way to celebrate the (rather patriarchal sounding) holiday by oversharing my conflicted feelings about aging, babies, careers and being a queer lady who is not pregnant, nor has easy access to sperm?
My little brother, who used to be small enough for me to pick up in my arms before he grew into an oversized human, is going to be a Dad. He FaceTimed me on the way to a dinner party with the news that he and his girlfriend — excuse me, fiancée — are engaged and pregnant. Cue slightly maniacal laughter from both of us about the prospect of him being a Dad, my predictable outburst “I’m going to be the coolest feminist auntie ever!” and my also predictable sinking feeling that he will now definitely be my parents’ favourite child, forever.
I immediately call my partner and discuss where we can get some gay sperm to knock me up. I can get very competitive.
I spent the whole of yesterday in a weird daze, having given myself some kind of half concussion by dropping a glass pot lid on my nose before I found out that I am going to be an auntie. Within a couple of hours of my brother’s we’re-having-a-baby-and-we’re-getting-married,-surprise! bombshell, I found out a dear friend of mine is also engaged. This follows on the heels of learning that my best friend is pregnant and a literal baby explosion among my straight friends in the U.K.
It seems like all of my friends are having babies and getting married.
I, on the other hand, had spent a good part of last week trying to convince my partner that we should move to the prairies for my PhD program and had finally resorted to the manipulative outburst “I’ll marry you if you do.” Well done, Laura, you win romantic proposal of the year award. No thoroughly planned date-and-ring for me, oh no, just a desperate attempt to have my cake and eat it too.
Apparently, now we’re pre-engaged, or whatever that is. I prefer betrothed, as it sounds more Jane Austen-y and less nineties romcom or whatever.
So, all this is to say that I’m feeling a lot of pressure when it comes to the aging, queerness and career front. Having vacillated on the babies question in my twenties, not least because it’s not so straightforward when you’re unlikely to be partnered with a cisgender male, I am coming to the conclusion that I probably do want the babies. Problem is, I also want the career, am starting a PhD this year, have no money and, according to received opinion, my eggs will start drying up in a couple of years if they haven’t already started to do so.
Argh! I know, #middleclassproblems, right? I am also aware that getting to do a PhD is a huge privilege. I know that my parents will always bail me out financially if necessary and I can probably get the sperm from somewhere. As I get older, I realize more and more that a) time passes and b) there is no perfect time to do anything anyway.
Plus, I’m a feminist and sceptical of the “have babies now woman it is your job and your time is running out!” patriarchal narrative, because, you know, the patriarchy has an agenda.
I’ve also been following queer femme Michelle Tea’s blog on getting pregnant and found it upsetting to read about her fertility problems as a 40-something-year-old. Luckily, those fertility problems were not insurmountable as she now has a cute gayby called Atticus.
So, I think I’m probably going to try to do babies and PhD at the same time. This will be a couple of years after getting my dog next year, because, I’m not completely crazy or anything!
Anyway, that’s my opinion on gaybys. Happy Family Day everyone! (Barf.)