In 2019, I turned 27 and life started to make sense. I changed careers and started to make a solid salary. I was taking lunch to go on dates, I was sparkling in meetings at work. I could treat myself now. I didn’t have to wait for the semi-annual sale for the bomb ass fit in the window of Zara on 5th Avenue; cue the “Girlfriends” theme song because this bitch was living her best Joan Clayton life.
I was just getting my shit together, then one day after double-tapping another clip of Beyoncé’s Homecoming I saw an ad for egg freezing services. Yes, Egg Freezing, or as the Mayo Clinic defines it, “mature oocyte cryopreservation, [it] is a method used to save women's ability to get pregnant in the future. Eggs harvested from your ovaries are frozen unfertilized and stored for later use.”-- That egg freezing. I didn’t think much of it and continued to scroll down for more Homecoming videos because ugh those horns on the “Sorry” intro and the transition into “Me Myself and I” were everything.
I noticed the ads started to appear more frequently, “5 steps to improve egg quality” “Find out the best age to harvest and freeze your eggs.” I clicked on one ad to learn a little more out of curiosity but meh, still not for me…but should it be? I didn’t have a partner I’d trust enough to borrow my monthly Unlimited MetroCard let alone contribute chromosomes for a human being. The guy I was dating suddenly left me to go back to be with the mother of his child. I was already bitter AF. And as the IG fertility ads increased, so did my self-consciousness.
I started to feel guilt and anxiety about getting pregnant. I also started to panic…am I even physically capable of getting pregnant? In addition to being almost 30lbs overweight at the time, when me and asshole guy alluded to above, were seeing each other, he asked if I ever had a pregnancy scare, and when I replied no, he said, “Damn do ya shit even work?” His dumb ass statement hit differently at that moment.
I asked my circle of friends if they saw the ads and they said no. I broke it down, and 2 weren’t in their late 20s yet and one although a little older than me, already had a baby, they weren’t in the target demographic. Just me, I felt lonely, sad and smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.
But can anyone blame me for being on the edge of the cradle about having babies in the U.S.? We know the disproportionately high mortality rate for Black mothers. We have seen the heartbreaking stories of the Black men robbed of their young spouses due to a careless dose of an unwanted Epidural. Despite how good health insurance could be, and how educated the attending staff is, I believe all they see is another Black Life that did not matter.
Those fertility service ads were ravaging my mental health. Ladies on the 5 train coddling their pretty, 7-month baby girls made me teary-eyed. This White couple dotting over their adorable adopted Black baby boy made me tight, “Gimme him! In 13 years, You won’t be able to teach him to tie his du-rag right!” I had to stop myself from staring. Expectant moms with big round tummies and ankles made me cringe. My HS friends were having gender reveals. I was all fucked up in the head. The ads for those services were basically reinforcing the patriarchal concept that women expire once we hit a certain age range.
I decided to leave IG. It wasn’t fun anymore. Here I was finally getting to enjoy a piece of my 20s and a solid savings account; but it was being ruined because in the back of my mind, the nagging ‘what-ifs’ of childbearing were burdening me.
Once I left Instagram and actually said my thoughts and emotions out loud in therapy, I felt better about being hesitant in regards to children. I have enough niblings and on top of that, all the good baby daddies seemed to be at full baby capacity or married to Chrissy Teigen and Ciara. I also evaluated what appealed to me about having kids and “having a mini-me” isn’t a very convincing stance. That’s just ego and a set up for disappointment if your genes are weak.
I also lose interest in children once they start to become mobile and destroy the house. I seek comfort in being the go-to-babysitter because a.) I’m reliable. b.) I can pat any baby down for a nap and c.) I know the parents are coming right back. Knowing this screaming 8-month-old is only temporarily in my space keeps my head cool which allows me to be patient and present.
The permanent residency of a child in my life is too much for me. I gotta be able to snatch my pink Telfar bag and get these nails did. That 9 am class at the gym? I’m taking it. I don’t want to have to wait for a babysitter. I’m not being selfish, I’m being true to myself, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not all women are cut out to be mothers. Some of us use that same feminine superpower to give birth to opportunities, break generational curses, crack glass ceilings, and pave the way for the young women behind us. Remember what the late, great sis Toni Morrison said? “The function of freedom is to free someone else.” I take comfort in knowing my efforts will open doors so my nieces and someone else’s daughters can confidently walk into the C-level suite of a top tech firm. I may not ever be anyone’s mother and that’s ok, because I’m mothering a movement.