1. Your mom has transitioned from sending you articles about the dangers of date rape drugs (her cautionary topic of choice while you were in college) to emailing you stories about female fertility with fear mongering headlines like “90 Percent Of Eggs Gone By 30.”
2. You reply to every such email with a link to the awesome feature in the Atlantic debunking the popular theory that women’s fertility decreases dramatically by age thirty-five, even though you definitely share your mother’s fears about your egg count.
3. You collect glory stories starring women who waited until their late thirties or early forties to get pregnant and succeeded on their first or second try.
4. Out of self-protection, you mentally shelve all stories starring 20-something women who are struggling to conceive.
5. Your mom has a habit of letting you know how many kids each of your high school peers now has (information gleaned from run-ins at the supermarket, typically), even though you’ve repeatedly explained that you’re up to date on such affairs thanks to the Internet.
6. Since a lot of your friends already have kids, they’re constantly posting Facebook and Instagram photos that inevitably make you envious—not only because babies are adorable and you’d like one of your own (hypothetically…one day…when you’re ready), but also because those posts get hundreds of likes while your selfies and pictures of street art receive only modest attention.
7. You’ve done enough Googling to know that women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, whereas men continue to produce new sperm throughout their lives. This seems totally unjust.
8. It also seems unfair that of the one to two million egg follicles you were born with, most died by the time you hit puberty through a terribly morbid process called atresia.
9. You’ve plugged your personal info (date of first menstrual period, current age, etc.) into one of those online calculators that estimates how many eggs you have left. The answer didn’t please you.
10. You also regularly calculate how old your kid(s) will be when they graduate college depending upon what age you actually start trying to conceive.
11. You sometimes wonder what it might be like to be one of the older parents in your unborn child’s future kindergarten class. Next to the increased risk of having a child with a disability, your fear of being the wrinkliest PTA member seems like a valid reason not to put off pregnancy too much longer.
12. Figuring you might as well pinpoint the days of the month when you’re most fertile, you download an ovulation tracking app.
13. The app, which sends several push notifications per day about baby preparation, overwhelms you, so you delete it within days. You can always re-download it when you’re ready for the information…hypothetically…one day…
14. You find yourself eating as many pregnancy no-no foods (fish, soft cheeses, eggs, etc.) as possible, figuring you’ll be less likely to miss those things once you do get knocked up.
15. While you’re at it, you figure it’s wise to consume more caffeine and alcohol than usual so you’ll miss it less when you’re finally pregnant.
16. Meanwhile, you regularly remind your boyfriend or husband that he’ll have to clean up his act (eat better, drink less alcohol, get enough sleep) at least six months prior to whenever you start trying to get pregnant since you’ll need his sperm in tip top shape, considering your advanced age.
17. Whenever you go out for the night, you find yourself tallying how much more expensive the evening would be if you had to pay for a babysitter on top of everything else.
18. The morning after any big, drunken night out, you remind yourself how awesome it is to recuperate from a hangover in peace, without having to care for a child.
19. Since so many of your girlfriends have been pregnant, you’re way too familiar with the awful aspects of hosting a parasite in your uterus for nine straight months, including (but not limited to): the sudden appearance of acne in places you’ve never seen it before, hair loss, incontinence, insomnia, hemorrhoids, sobriety, feeling like a whale, and feeling stupid (what they call “pregnancy brain”).
20. You’re also way too familiar with the less awesome aspects of childbirth, including (but not limited to): severe pain, the potential of an episiotomy (a sometimes necessary incision in the tissue between your vagina and anus, or perineum), the fact that your bowels give out during all that pushing, and the whole post birth uterine massage thing, which sounds like an excuse for the doctor to fist your vagina.
21. You hang onto the hope that you could be like your one friend who said that sex was actually amazing during pregnancy because her nipples became super sensitive.
22. You know about the benefits of vaginal birth, but part of you hopes for a c-section so your vagina can be spared potential loosening. You’re determined never to experience “hotdog down a hallway” sex.
23. You had a habit of watching swaddling 101 videos online, figuring it’s never too soon to learn—until you started feeling weird about it.
24. You found yourself speaking to your hypothetical baby on occasion for practice—until you started feeling weird about it.
25. You purchased a few fun baby items (B.J. Novak’s “The Book With No Pictures,” and a few onsies)—until you started feeling weird about it.