As I checked out a tall, slim man in his 30s with salt and pepper hair at a Greenwich Village party, a lady astrologist a couple of years older than moi looked my way and said, “When we get to this age, we lose interest in men.” I assume she believed I would agree with her reading of the situation, but I, a divorced, almost 49-year-old Jewish female from New York City, still have a 70-year-old aunt who dates. I also contemplated how we women “peak” sexually in our 40s, but I am one year away from, gulp, 50. And the thing is, I want to be pregnant again. I already have an amazing 23-year-old son, but I want a repeat performance.
Yes, even as most women my age throw in the hormonal towel, I find myself looking at guys much the way Samantha would in Sex and the City, sizing up men between 25 and 45 at the supermarket, the mall, the ballgame. Only I’m not looking for potential lovers, I’m looking for a baby daddy. Blue eyes or brown, balding or Kennedy-esque – I try to gaze right through their skin to see their very DNA.
My friends think I am off my rocker, that I should enjoy the empty nest and not make a syndrome out of it. They’re in the been-there/done-that phase, and those still interested in men go for immediate-gratification relationships and have no desire for long-term proposals. Not one friend will admit that maybe my pregnancy desires might be something she feels, too.
And I know it might be difficult, but it’s not impossible to get pregnant at my age. Two years ago, at almost 47, my doctor told me I could still get pregnant, and actresses Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter and Geena Davis gave birth in their late 40s. TV host Nancy Grace was 48 when her twins were born. Kelly Preston, at 47, and her husband John Travolta are awaiting the arrival of a child. And my personal favorite is energy healer Aleta St. James. She welcomed twins into this world when she was 57. A healthy baby – I have done it before. I can do it again.
I admit a part of me wants to get pregnant to finish a pregnancy that never got completed. Almost 20 years ago, as a married woman doing the suburban thing, I suffered a miscarriage six weeks into my second pregnancy. Always wanting to have two or three children, I was devastated. One thing led to another, and by the time I was told I could conceive again, I no longer had a willing partner in the project. So here I am today, still without the guy but wanting to try again.
A couple of years ago, I made the mistake one night of telling a man I was dating that his kids would be adorable. He said, “Please don’t say that again or I can’t invite you back.”
After that, I tried a dating site. I asked for contact with men between 35 and 45, but the site kept sending me men in their 70s and 80s. When I questioned it, I was told, “Don’t women want older men?” I did not renew my membership.
And truthfully, I don’t want to use a sperm bank or have a one-night stand. I can’t start with something as uncaring and unromantic as that in the search for something I care so much about. But how do I tell a man that I want baby – and that I’m on a deadline? “Hi, Mr. Salt & Pepper, my name is Bonnie Bernstein – not the one from ESPN. I want to get pregnant, so could you please fall in love with me and give me that opportunity?” Ha.
The reality is, I have just about given up. When this year is over, I am done. I will not force the issue anymore.
Over the years, I have substituted baby number two with a hamster, gerbils, a mouse, fish, cats, dogs, a ferret and chocolate (Godiva helped my hips but nothing else). But nothing, no matter what, could ever take the place of a baby kicking within me, or of three-hours labor and almost giving birth on the Grand Central Parkway in front of Shea Stadium on the way to the hospital (as happened with my son) or of the first moment seeing a newborn’s face. I want it again, and I still have a little time to try.