The XX Factor

You Don’t Have To Settle, Even If You Want Kids

Thanks, Jess, for giving us some much-needed perspective on all the Lori Gottlieb coverage . Although her book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough , surely prompted lots of entertaining “I wonder what my life would be like if I had married that guy” Sunday brunch chatter, I’m guessing that many women concluded that they’re glad they didn’t. Because they probably listened to that little voice in their gut that told them something wasn’t quite right, and they wish it were as simple as his annoying habit of saying “awesome” too much. I imagine the rest of the conversations were dedicated to pointing out the just-OK fates of friends who let marriage anxiety and baby panic make decisions for them. You know, the friend whose husband isn’t all that helpful with the kids, or the one who makes cutting comments about domestic life that make you cringe. Unfortunately, those stories tend to outweigh the ones of your college roommate who snagged the short, fat diamond-in-the-rough.

Gottlieb is no helpful older sister to women of a certain age-who are already wracked with anxiety-by perpetuating the myths that men are in short supply and we are losing our chance to have a family by the minute. Not only are there lots of great guys out there, including the second rounders coming off their first divorces, but women have more options in the baby department than ever before. The science of egg freezing has vastly improved and offers a viable option for women who need a few more years to figure out the right partner. As for women too old to have a biological child, donor eggs and foreign adoption have made motherhood possible for thousands. I know many women who held out for the right guy and had children using donor eggs who are blissfully happy. They didn’t unnecessarily freak out and make bad decisions. Gottlieb succumbed to her own worry over not meeting her baby deadline by visiting the sperm bank in her late 30s. Still, lots of women in her boat get married, too. I appreciate the fact that Gottlieb wants to share her regrets over her reluctance to marry. I just wish she wouldn’t attempt to push women to second-guess their guts. Or convince any women that her life is over at 42.