November 11, 2005

Cornucopia / Cynthia Dewes

Romance and waiting for the baby train

It’s interesting how words and their meanings evolve. It used to be if we talked about eggs we were usually discussing the offspring of hens to be used in cooking, eaten for breakfast, deviled or put into potato salad.

After a while, eggs as food became the subject of controversy. Did they raise our bad cholesterol? Did they lead to clogged arteries? A “bad egg” came to mean something even worse than we’d thought.

Now, eggs have come even further on the road to importance in everyday life. Today, they’re the “fruit” of young women, which are part of the ripeness resulting in children. The old formula of “find an attractive mate, get married, have a baby” has evolved (if that is the word) into sophisticated harvesting of female eggs to be used in reproduction only when, where and if their owner so desires.

On a recent news program, we were edified to see a 37-year-old woman who has not yet found the man of her dreams, or even a man she finds suitable to make her a mother. So, she’s deposited several of her eggs, at great expense, in a freezer bank to be used “whenever she wants.”

The annual rental fee for the freezer amounts to many people’s monthly wage, but this woman says it’s worth it. She said she’s now “relieved of the pressure” to have a baby while she’s young. Apparently she doesn’t expect to meet a prospective dad anytime soon.

Now I ask you, how sad is that?

First of all, this woman seems never to have met a guy she wanted to make a baby with, let alone marry. Or, even if she did, she apparently ran into the inability of young people to commit to permanent relationships or their desire to “wait” for marriage and kids until they have the house, the cars, the boat, whatever.

It seems that young men and women today are afraid to trust each other, to take a step into the unknown with someone they love because there are no guarantees of success in human existence. Instead of adventure and hard work and—well—real life, they want instant sexual gratification, comfort and no problems.

Naturally, this attitude destroys romance. There’s a good reason why chastity before marriage is essential since abstinence, like absence, does make the heart grow fonder. Just ask any grandma or grandpa who slow-danced to Frank Sinatra or Elvis, or waited for their beloved to finish military service or college. Indeed, the discipline of chastity before marriage carries over to the discipline of loving fidelity afterward.

Furthermore, there’s a good reason for that “pressure to produce” this woman is feeling. By the time she meets Mr. Right, she may be well into her 40s or even 50s. As any mother can tell you, this is not an ideal age to be raising babies.

Unlike the young granny of 45 or 50, the older mom of that age will have those kids 24/7, without the “Now it’s time to take Junior home” escape clause. Besides, patience and physical endurance will be harder for middle-aged parents; think of Girl Scout campouts, trick-or-treating jaunts, romping at the beach and science projects looming ominously ahead.

So my advice is have a little faith. Take the plunge, marry that person you admire and start a family. Now.

(Cynthia Dewes, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


Local site Links: