Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Babies float through my consciousness daily. The born ones, the unborn ones. Wherever I go, I see them and they see me. No babies escape my notice. I was on vacation recently in Vancouver, sitting on a stool at the bar in the food court of the Granville Market, sipping some chai, reflecting on life and all of its great glories when a mother and her ten-month-old son sit down at a table near me. Within seconds, this little round face is staring deep into my eyes. No, into my soul. He smiles and flirts with me a bit. We exchange a conversation in motherese which I picked up a few years back while teaching infant development to new mothers. It's the same wherever I go. Somewhere there is a baby talking to me, reminding me that my procreative processes are nearing their expiry date.
I discuss this with my boyfriend who is almost four years younger than me. He doesn't quite feel the urgency I do. I don't think it's the same for men. They're not on the same clock. The average man can deposit his seed until the day he dies. Ewww...you'd think evolution would've corrected that anomaly. I mean, how good can the sperm be by the time a man hits 70? Must be slow little bastards anyways. I can picture the race to the egg...all these little out-of-breath sperm, having to stop for directions because they can no longer remember which way is up. Nah, men don't ask for directions. These tired old sperm probably just get distracted along the way. Ooooo, look at that soft cushy vaginal wall, maybe I'll just curl up here and sleep for a while. Now that's more like it. Couch-potato sperm.
I think the only man who could even empathize with the plight of the aging, increasingly infertile woman, would be Captain Hook. He's the only guy haunted by a ticking clock, being chased down by inevitability. At least he can see it coming. It's kind of hard to miss a ticking crocodile. For a woman, no such luck. Sure, there are some signs of her impending egg shortage, but she's never quite sure when it will all be over, when that last egg will drop and her last chances for motherhood will disappear into oblivion.
I think it strange sometimes that there are, as I type this, a finite number of possible children sitting in my ovaries. And that with each passing month, another potential person slips through the cracks (no pun intended). It's a lot of power I hold within me. Power that may or may not ever be utilized. In the meantime, the babies of the world will continue to cross my path, ticking away with their little crocodile smiles, reminding me that life does indeed go on, regardless of my role in it.