The Biological Crock?

The Biological Crock? A little rant on what society says my body shall order me to do.

Ah, the bioclock. The preset number of eggs women are given with, that age and die off as she gets older. The body sends a “warning” that a woman doesn’t have much time left to reproduce. This is called the “ticking”. The random dreams about pregnancy. The sudden staring at baby clothes. The passing thoughts, particularly among professional women, who say, “Well, it wouldn’t be so bad to go a few nights without sleep,” or something like that. It’s the nagging poke of the uterus extending her finger into a woman’s side, saying, “Hey. Get knocked up before you can’t. NOW.”

A basic rundown of the process of the clock can be found in this lamely written article from the Chicago Tribune.

An interesting fact that comes into play here too, is the socioeconomic factor brought in by the ever-persistent, fucking useless gender inequality. In this CBS News article, the following quote seriously pissed me off:

“The more qualified, the more successful, the higher earning the woman, the less likely it is she has either a partner or a child. For a man, the reverse is true. The higher earning the man, the more powerful, the more likely it is.”

There’s another bit later in the article where a woman relates something called the “H-bomb”:

According to the fertility charts, Lisa, Ani and Leslie, in their mid- to late 20s, are at the perfect age to have children. But like most men their age, they want to have it all: Big careers in top management and children. They also want husbands, which isn’t so easy for take-charge, high-achieving women.

“It’s actually very difficult,” says Vartanian. 

In fact, at Harvard, she says, they call it the H-bomb: “The H-bomb is basically, some guy turns to us and says, ‘So what do you guys do?’ And we’re like, ‘Oh, we’re students.’ Oh, great. Well, where?’ ‘Oh, we got to school in Boston.’ ‘Oh, great. Where in Boston?’ ‘Oh, in Cambridge.’ ‘Oh, where in Cambridge?’ ‘OK, Harvard Business School.’ And as soon as you say Harvard Business School, or even Harvard, they turn around. I mean, that’s the end of that conversation.”

Why should a woman have to choose when a man doesn’t even have to give the second thought to it? Have kids or have a career? The allusion to the choice of either have a life or have a husband is even more infuriating. 

Yet in all this, even if a woman ends up “waiting too long” either because she is having trouble finding the right partner, or because of career or life circumstances, or whatever the case may be, few of the articles I’ve read through before becoming angry or nauseous with this topic mention adoption as a viable option. And not even adoption abroad — adoption domestically. There are OVER HALF A MILLION children in the American foster care system today, with 150,000 waiting on being adopted.

If you really, really want a kid, adopt. Honestly. While we may feel a call to get children from other countries (which I definitely do stand behind as well), it is easier and less expensive too to just adopt domestically first. These kids need homes and help just as much — they may not be somewhere wartorn or going without food or water — but in the end their needs are the same: a loving home. All that damn clock is telling us is to reproduce, and love what you make. Love is at the basis of it all. Give it to the ones who need it, be they your biological or adopted children.

Is “the ticking” real or is it the result of some kind of social conditioning?

My mom had me when she was 41. This was in 1981. I am 28 now. I was not born retarded, crazy, or somehow dysfunctional. I made it through just fine, and my mother did not go to drop thousands of dollars on a fertility doctor. My parents didn’t have me earlier because they weren’t interested in having kids really. I was a happy little bundle of accident (I think that’s cooler than to be planned, really. The best things happen on accident!). As a woman in the CBS article mentions, women are not their uterus. One can make a decision not to have kids and that clock could be playing the fucking star spangled banner at full blast. My mom didn’t care.

Being 28, I am supposed to be in the beginning of the ticking. I have noticed more of an obsession with furry animals and taking care of things, but outright wanting to have a kid has not crossed my mind. 

Catherine Redfern writes in glorious grumpiness about the choice issue presented by the fucking biological clock:

The idea that there’s a ticking time bomb inside all women, making us desperate, obsessed, and broody – its just horrendous. It’s not the idea of babies themselves that makes me mad – it’s the concept of having to choose whether to have one or not, and being forced into that choice by our imperfect, time-bound bodies. But it’s a decision that the majority of us will have to make at some time or other: do I want kids or not? Well, do I? Do I?

… 

Not to mention the unspoken pressure of expectations. If I don’t have kids, I’m denying my parents the pleasure of being grandparents. And there’s my partner’s parents too – so straight away that’s four people disappointed, not to mention aunts, uncles, etc. Although I’m sure no-one would ever pressure me into it, there’s still a feeling that by making a choice for yourself, you are denying someone else of something they may never experience any other way. The amount of pain mum went through having me – the scars, the drugs – surely I should give something back? Am I selfish not to?

The clock, I conclude, is in the societal expectation. 

“Not everyone wants or has to be a parent,” a wise soul said on this message board

Don’t do it if you don’t fucking want to do it. And if you feel the wild pressing urge to have a child but can barely support yourself, DEFINITELY don’t do it. And if you want one, and can’t find the right person, or your uterus put up the “CLOSED” sign at the cervix, then adopt.

There are 6 billion people on the planet. Let’s take care of each other first.

Magic and the Megafamily

Welcome back, friends and neighbors.

In “The Impatient Clock“, Yona is a magician who quit magic after a miscarriage and decides children shouldn’t have imaginations. They should be taught reality and the sciences right off the bat and not be taught to believe in Santa Claus or imaginary places, people, or anthropomorphized caricatures of love.

Why set children up to take them down, is the rationale. What joy or benefit is there for all those involved when kids learn from their parents that ol’ Claus is going to get them something or whatever, until the inevitable day comes when the parents are caught by the upset child(ren) in the middle of the night; or telling them about underground families of trolls; or telling them about the Easter Bunny; or faeries or anything magical?

I’ve always thought it’s quite related to the same reason for which grown people will pay top-dollar to watch David Copperfield or David Blaine or Criss Angel or Penn and Teller: amazement does crazy things to people. It opens a little door in your head. Big or small, I think people like to know and feel and maybe witness some kind of an unexpected otherness. Because then, who knows — WHAT ELSE can be possible?

There’s a bit of a magic trick tucked into the story arc of “The Impatient Clock”. Figure it out. The world needs more womagicians.

For those of you interested in learning something new to fuck with your friends, impress a date, blow some time or make your parents mad about missing change or table utensils, here’s some magic tricks for shits and giggles.

But first, nothing about magic would start off right without a quote from one of the best damn magic movies ever made: The Prestige.

“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called ‘The Pledge’. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called ‘The Turn’. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call ‘The Prestige’.”

Let’s go.

Magic Tricks

First, a little cheap flash and shockwave magic with Merlin’s Clock.

One of Leo’s favorite coin tricks: The Peripatetic Coins

Good old card tricks and mentalism notes. Woo!

Video tutorials on card and coin tricks and other random stuff on PubTricks.

The classic, sawing a woman in half. Frankly, I think there’s more adventure in sawing a man in half … Pity the guys who volunteer for (or perform) these tricks aren’t hot, heheh.

Babies, Babies, Babies, BABIES, BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!

Children all over the world are orphans, lose their families, get sold, get bought, fall ill, get lost — whatever sad fate that robs them of familial connection — there are children all over the world who wish they had a family or even one caring adult (doesn’t have to be a traditional “parent” setup) in their lives. You never know how some love and encouragement can help someone… There’s food shortages. Disease outbreaks. Myriad other things that make me think Momma Earth is saying, “STOP REPLICATING!”, and yet some people want LOTS of children. LOADS of children.

WHY?

Inevitably we will find ourselves talking about Nadya Suleman so I’ll just start with her to get her Guy Smiley likeness out of my face for this week. The writer at Childfree Clique said it best: “[Nadya] is batshit fucking crazy.”

CC makes a good point later on though — some people are obsessed with the fact that they CAN make more people. But they don’t seem to understand that the babies are indeed, PEOPLE. That need. That depend. That will eventually grow. As the world learned of Nadya’s madness, she kept citing that she had an awful childhood and that she wanted to give her children the best of what she could provide, etc. Fine. However, if you’re going to try and “make up” for what your childhood lacked, realize that you can’t do that without getting YOURSELF STRAIGHTENED OUT first, or your children, which you bore with the intent to bless, will suffer. And resent the fuck out of you.

Now I know this doesn’t always happen. Plenty of people who come from fucked up pasts have gone on to be good parents. The majority, however, don’t. As Leo tells Yona in my story, “kids aren’t bandaids.” They’re people with their own lives and even if you’re the parent, guess what — they don’t exist to serve or fix anything FOR you.

The seemingly “perfect” megafamilies like The Duggars (or as I call them, the Mormon Mob) are a different story. I found an interesting opinion on an old blog entry from “Thoughts of a Regular Guy“, where he pretty much states that the Duggar’s business is their own. Apparently they’re not relying on the government to foot their clan’s bill, the eldest children helped the dad build their house, the kids grow their own food, etc. Some people have worried that the kids won’t get enough love from the parents but the Regular Guy stresses that they’ll have unique relationships with each other as siblings — love needn’t just come from the almighty mom-and-dad routine. And I agree with that. But there’s something about the Duggar’s that just has NOT seemed right to me from the get-go.

An entry called “America’s Creepiest Family” addresses several of my concerns with this set up. Read through the comments for the real meat. Most people commend them for being good Christians and the like. A user called tiger1981 blows up some research they did from some place or another, and cites financial and religious shenanigans on the part of the Duggars. An inevitably anonymous user calls them a cult. Frankly, for me, it’s the mental inbreeding that looks like it’s going on … is a bit weird. 

Be fruitful and multiply, to paraphrase the bible, is what a lot of religious folks follow. I always say it’s better to help one’s fellow man and take in lost and lacking souls.

I’m also a firm believer in potential parents being required to take psychoemotional evaluations before having or adopting their first kid. Cuz what the fuck — WHY do we need stories like these in our world? Kids in cages… fuck. And let’s not forget gems like fathers who have kids with their daughters and variations on that kind of story. If you missed it, there was a guy in Colombia with a similar story to the Fritzl case, only he didn’t lock the woman in a fucking hole for 20+ years.

And people hide behind God, then blame God for standing there, why? The Devil has less to complain about in the scapegoat department than God, that’s for sure. 

“Fucker’s settin’ up franchises” — Tyler Durden

Then we get folks like this, who have a bijillion kids with a bijillion women. Why?

With the exception of dudes like the franchise man, and evolutionary theories a lot more people seem to hide under and behind lately (like evolution-focused reasons for why high heels make sense), it comes down to the fact that an alarming amount of people swear that the family dream situation will make them happy. This April 2009 article calls bullshit on that, and so do I. Here’s a fun snippet:

Why do we have such a rosy view about parenthood? One possible explanation for this, according to Daniel Gilbert (2006), is that the belief that ‘children bring happiness’ transmits itself much more successfully from generation to generation than the belief that ‘children bring misery’. The phenomenon, which Gilbert says is a ‘super-replicator’, can be explained further by the fact that people who believe that there is no joy in parenthood – and who thus stop having them – are unlikely to be able to pass on their belief much further beyond their own generation. It is a little bit like Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest. Only the belief that has the best chance of transmission – even if it is a faulty one – will be passed on.

 

As Ali G. would say, full real. 

Be happy with yourself, your life, your circumstance first. Add on to your wisdom and your talents, your experiences and your life — so you have much more to pass on to your offspring when you have your kid(s) or adopt. Because in the end, having kids should also be about bringing about changes and progression. The real magic in our existence is in wonder, discovery, imagination and enrichment, and all the wonderful places we can go, and people we can become.

Til then, remember this poor fuck should you get tempted to take the easy way out and pop out a few to help fix things at home: 

Tomorrow: The “dark side” of magic and the “dark side” of the womb. No not the moon — the womb.