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I have officially been a woman for a little over 12 years. That's about 160 menstrual cycles. One hundred sixty times that I have looked down between my legs to wipe away what had the potential to be a child. In the past couple years, I have become acutely aware that I have never been pregnant, and I am right in the middle of nubile territory. I have child bearing hips and rosy cheeks. I am ready to breed, ready to set up ovulation charts and stand on my head after sex. "Come on, Jen, let's go!" shouts my primitive self when I see attractive babies or children. I eye my birth control pills with contempt - if the time were right, I'd trade in my Ortho Tri Cyclen for a few big red blemishes in a heartbeat.

The time, however, is very much not right.

I have been dating a wonderful geek for a year and a half. He is busy with school, and I am busy with work and therapy. We are both living (separately) 2000 miles from our respective families. We have not discussed long term anything really, let alone marriage. I refuse to put our relationship in jeopardy because of some hormonally triggered urge. Unfortunately, this sets me at odds with myself. I have to argue with myself over what I'm trying to do here, and what the consequences of my actions will be. If I push on some sort of deadline for marriage or commitment, why am I doing it? Am I doing it because I'm ready for it in the relationship, or because my uterus is doing backflips because it's pining for a parasite?

This whole conflict within myself leads me to think about other women's pregnancies - how many of them tried to tie men down with a baby? How many of us are secretly glad when we find out that something went awry and in nine months... well, here comes girl x with a baby carriage, marriage / relationship or not. I think it's terribly irresponsible, and that it probably happens more than anyone would like to admit.

So, reluctantly, but with renewed diligence, I take my birth control pills on time, and I look for sales on tampons and maxi pads. It will probably be a while before I can stop using any of the above - but that's my choice.

and no, I do not consider babies to be parasites. Embryos, however... if the shoe fits...

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