Almost 10 years ago, while still in graduate school. My best friend Christian, and I starting batting around the idea that, due to our education and relocation requirements for school, we would end up needing to explore alternative means of becoming mothers. Dating, in graduate school, is complicated, to say the least. Add on top of that, a new practicum every year, relocating entirely for an internship, relocating again for residency and then trying to settle down into a practice? Might as well kiss your reproductive years goodbye.
It was a strange concept for me to wrap my head around. I’d always been young for my year; just 17 when I graduated from high school. 3 schools and 5 years later due to sport-related relocation, I finished my undergraduate education at the tender age of 22.
It never occurred to me during all that time that I’d chosen an educational and career path that would make it next to impossible for me to date enough to find someone I wanted make a baby with, much less spend the rest of my life with.
And yet, there I was, staring down the barrel of my fifth year of graduate school, 27 and with barely the dating experience of your average high school sophomore, and I began to realize that my ovaries might just give out before my socialization caught up. I had no idea where I’d been when I was finally “financially stable.” I was facing a mountain of student loan debt that would kick in a mere 6 months after graduation and our faculty hade made it quite clear from the beginning that nothing really gets easier until you’ve established your practice and had a steady client base, private practice or not.
So what the hell did that mean?
Here’s what it meant:
- Fifth-year would be spent at an internship site making less than minimum wage (I’d be 27)
- The sixth-through-seventh year would be spent searching for, getting, moving to and working a post-doctoral residency so I could accumulate the remaining 1500 hours I needed to sit for my licensing exam. During that time I’d also be feverishly studying for said exam. (I’d be 28-29). It’s worth noting that, unless I was willing to work at one of the most dangerous state hospitals in our state as a resident, I would not be able to move home during that time.
- Finally, at 29, I’d be licensed and ready to open my own practice back home. So….moving searching for a group to team up with since I’d have no start-up capital to start my own business, moving in and getting established…6-18 months of working like a dog at self-promotion, practice and establishing a reputation.
And somewhere during all that…I was supposed to date, meet someone I really connected with, maybe get married and eventually start a family.
Sounded like a big fuckin gamble to me. Christian and I realized that the odds of us as introverted strong women actually meeting “the one” during all that time was actually kinda unlikely. In fact, my dating attempts during undergrad and graduate school made me want to run away from romance forever.
And so….we began our search for alternatives.