Where did my biological clock go?

By Valerie Khoo | Jun 06, 12 09:27 AM

Apparently, I have a biological clock. And apparently, it’s meant to be ticking. Loudly. In fact, by my age, it’s supposed to be deafening.

Apparently, I have a biological clock. And apparently, it’s meant to be ticking. Loudly. In fact, by my age, it’s supposed to be deafening.

However, I can’t actually hear a thing. The “tick tock” that’s supposed to remind me to have babies just sounds like … silence.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against kids. They’re cute little things that brings lots of joy into people’s lives. But I’ve never had that visceral urge to have one. Not even the slightest twinge to procreate.

It’s true that my life is already full with a successful business, lots of projects and a never-ending quest to experience new things. But raising a child has never been one of them.

In my twenties, I did imagine that I would have children – but mainly because that’s just what everyone did. In the same way that everyone (in my then fairly sheltered world) got good marks in the HSC (tick), went to uni (tick), got a job (tick), bought a property (tick) and so on. Kids were simply another step in a stereotypical life journey (yet to be ticked).

And now that I’m WELL over my twenties, I do sometimes wonder whether I should head down this path … just in case it’s an utterly amazing experience that I might miss out on. I was talking to my friend Bob the other night. He’s a first time father at 50. “I never wanted them either,” he confessed to me. “But now that I have one, there’s nothing in the world like the feeling you have when your child looks up at you and cuddles you. It really is unconditional love. There’s really nothing like it.”

Sounds like an amazing experience.

Would I like to experience it? Sure.
Would I have a child for it? Hmmmm ….

I figure that FOMO (fear of missing out) is probably not the best reason to bring a child into the world.

I was speaking to a woman the other day who said to me: “But you should have children … after all, who is going to look after you when you’re old?” (I didn’t think that was a good enough reason to have kids either.)

Sometimes, I also wonder if I missed out on that clucky gene that makes you want to populate the world with little versions of you and your partner. For years I never quite understood the desire to have a child.

Then I watched the movie Children of Men, starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. I had no idea what it was about when I flicked my Foxtel on to it. I just figured Clive would be some nice eye candy for a couple of hours. Little did I know that it was set in a post-apocalyptic earth where all women have become infertile. No children have been born for 18 years and the human race is slowing becoming extinct. Then a miracle happens. A woman manages to become pregnant, Clive Owen’s character has to protect her in the midst of a war-torn planet. This is in order to save … the human race.

During the movie, when it was vital for mankind to live on – and the fate of the world rested on the birth of this child – I had a brief moment of understanding. For about a minute, I felt what it was like to WANT to have a child. To carry a baby in my arms. To nurture it and give it a chance at life.

I realised that I DID have the capacity to want a child. I just needed the fate of the human race to be in my hands in order for it to kick in.

It was also fleeting glimpse into what it was like to yearn for a child. And I finally understood and empathised with people who told me how much they wanted a family of their own.

That feeling went as quickly as it came (possibly because Foxtel then cut to an ad break). I never felt it again and, to be honest, I’m glad. Because it was so very sad. To want something that nature (or luck, God, the Universe or crazy chromosomes) may not necessarily grant you.

So I have to say: I’m grateful that my biological clock is deafeningly silent.

Who knows? It may wake up one day. And by that time, it could all be too late. But for now, I sometimes wonder if I’m just living in blissful ignorance. I adore my life. And if I’m completely honest about it, I love the fact I don’t have kids. I’m in awe of people who do – not because they have children, but because they manage to successfully juggle so many responsibilities and demands – and I just don’t know how they do it!

Whatever your situation, I wish you the best. In the meantime, my biological clock and I will be hanging out with Foxtel. And next time Clive Owen appears on screen again, you might hear a faint sound … tick … tock.


Valerie Khoo is a journalist, small business commentator, Editor of the Business Chicks magazine Latte and Managing Director of the Sydney Writers' Centre.  This post was originally posted on her blog at www.valeriekhoo.com

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