It’s time for me to make babies.
I know this not because I’ve found my soul mate, gotten married and settled into a financially stable career.
I know this because my insurance company tells me so.
Last week, I received a flier in the mail with the ominous message “Big changes ahead?” Below was a woman sitting in the middle of an endless field of flowers carefully caressing her neck with a yellow bloom.
My first thought was that my insurance company was planning to cut my benefits. Nothing sugarcoats the blow of jacking my insurance like a pretty, flowery flier. But my woman senses told me that something looked funny about that flower-loving field lady. She seemed a little too much like she belonged on one of those pamphlets you got in a middle school health class. Was this some kind of pregnancy flier?
No way, I thought as I tore it open. My insurance company knows me better than that.
“Expecting?” read a pink box next to a beaming, bulbous pregnant woman clutching her belly. “Answers, support and rewards are just a phone call away.”
“Thinking of having a baby?” the next line read. “Let Future Moms help you prepare.”
Um, no. I am not thinking of having a baby actually. Was this some kind of sick joke? Why did my insurance company think I’m pregnant? I’m not pregnant. Wait, am I pregnant?
Of course I wasn’t pregnant. I had just been to the doctor days earlier for a completely unrelated issue, and they had run a whole battery of tests including a pregnancy test. But as a woman I’m trained to be paranoid, and it doesn’t help that doctors love to blame a possible pregnancy for every ailment on earth. Tell a doctor your foot hurts, and they’ll immediately ask if you could be pregnant.
So I’m not pregnant, but apparently my insurance company wants me to be. This got me thinking.
Biologically, I was capable of making babies more than a decade ago. Of course, that didn’t make it was a good idea. In my teens, I was just a child with no financial means to care for a baby. And honestly, not a lot has changed. I’m an adult now. I drive a car, I have my own place and I make a meager living. But I’m not ready for a baby. I’m not even on the cusp of being ready for a baby. How could they be so stupid as to send me this flier?
That’s when it hit me. My 27th birthday will be here in just a couple days. A quick survey on Facebook revealed that many of the other women at work around my age received the same flier.
I don’t consider myself too much of a feminist, but this flier makes me mad. Since when does turning 27 mean that you have to be having a baby? I want a lot of the same things as other women in the long haul – a committed relationship, a financially stable job, homeownership, a kid of two. But those things seem to be coming my way very slowly. Some of it is the fault of my chosen career path – I have trouble breathing when I think about buying a house and getting locked into one location – but a lot of it is just the product of bad luck in relationships.
I really haven’t spent a lot of time worrying about it. I figure you can’t rush the things that matter. But this flier was messing with my head. All of a sudden all that misguided advice from my young mother friends was running through my head. “You don’t want to be OLD when your kid is graduating high school.” “Twenty-seven is almost 30!” “You can’t have babies after 30!”
Or was it 40?
I shook my head as I caught myself careening off track. “You’re letting them win,” I told myself calmly. “You’re not ready to have a baby. You still roll your eyes at crying children in restaurants. You can’t even commit to getting a puppy.”
No one else in the office seemed quite as incensed about the flier as I was. I guess they all threw it in the trash with all of their other junk mail. But I’m seriously considering sending it back to Anthem with a letter about how incredibly offensive I found it.
I’m sure it won’t do any good. All the 20-something women across the country will continue to get fliers reminding them about their ever ticking biological clock whether I write the letter or not. But it might make me feel better to take a stand for all of the perfectly normal ladies who don’t have babies on the brain.