Grab the garlic, ladies: fertility vampires are apparently here to suck away your baby-making prime years. Horror movie or real-life drama? You decide.
Last week I received a sad phone call from my very dear friend who lives interstate. She was breaking up with her boyfriend. Never much of a fan of him in the first place, I struggled to hide my glee. “Does this mean you’re moving?!” I squealed.
“Maggie. Don’t you understand?” she choked down the phone, “He was my last chance. He was meant to be The One.”
A year shy of 30, walking away from a 6 year relationship in which she had poured her heart (time, money, the list goes on…), welcomed into her circles, and negotiated some pretty major life decisions around, I could see why it felt like the end of the world.
Whilst she couldn’t put up with their crappy relationship a second longer, she also wasn’t ready to face the possibility of entering her 30’s – the baby making years – without a partner.
We all have encountered these men in our life: the ones with stunted emotional abilities. The ones who suffer from failure to launch. The ones who would rather actually suck someone’s blood than sign a rental agreement with you, and freak out at the idea of having their own toothbrush at your house.
A fertility vampire is a certain type of man of who swoops in, snatches your prime baby-making years with false promises, and then flaps off into the night cackling as he munches on your embryos and dreams of white picket fences.
Fertility vampires start off as men with commitment issues, eventually morphing into middle-aged con-artists playing puppets with their partner’s dreams for the future
It was a catchphrase that initially had the feminist hairs on the back of my neck standing
Uh, hello! I thought. What are we, cattle being prepped for mating season? Is this what women are STILL being reduced to? Hordes of children, juicy uteruses, and a faint squeal from atop our gilded tower as those damn men continue to steal away our hopes and dreams?
The whole thing felt a little bit antiquated to me.
And yet. Like any good Libran, I begun to swill the opposing argument around in my mind – maybe it was it possible that the concept of a ‘fertility vampire’ was a valid argument? Premenstrual and emotionally unstable due to the lack of chocolate within grabbing distance, I started to see the light: women want babies. It’s integral to who many women are, and what they want, and what they yearn for. And for many, thanks to shitty men, that’s now not possible.
Now, let’s make a few things clear: yes, there are many amazing men out there that just don’t want kids – and yes, that doesn’t make them evil.
Yes, women can conceive a child without a long-term partner.
Yes, they can also raise their child without needing the support of a man. The modern woman is exceptionally independent and blessed with an array of alternatives from the traditional nuclear family. But the fact remains – for many women, new-age feminists like myself or otherwise, the dream of falling in love, getting married, having a child, and raising your family together is still the ultimate dream.
Many years ago, the fabric of society was stitched around the concept of family. The general expectation, once a woman hit the years of 30 – 35 years old, was that she would settle down and pop out some kiddlets. Whilst these expectations undoubtedly created innumerable unhappy men, women, and children; it also created a safety net for many. All things aside, women could almost be guaranteed to have children. Men understood their role in the process, too: following the initial days of courting and marriage, they knew what came next – kids.
Give your wife some children, and she would be happy.
Thankfully, we now live in a world where these meat-and-three-veg societal norms have been shaken up like a snow globe, resettling into a wonderful array of family shapes and sizes. But among the losses from the old-world traditions, was the expectation for men to, well, do the right bloody thing.
Relationships fall apart for a variety of reasons, and it’s almost always complicated. But, in the very simple scenario – as what happened to my friend – is it OK for a man to walk away after openly discussing, and agreeing to, a lifetime of commitment and family?
We’re in dangerous territory here.
No, it’s not alright to expect a man, vampire or otherwise, to stick around if something is not working. That would make you the vampire.
But nor is it to alright for him to lead a woman on to believe in a future that would never eventuate. Like it or not, the age in which the average (read: non celebrity) woman can safety and reasonably have kids IS limited. That is, quite simply, the facts of life.
The modern woman is still forging ahead to create a new way of life following millennia of being a man’s object. But, as we demand our independence (and rightfully so!) maybe we have to accept a consequence – no one is indebted to anyone anymore to create a family, man or woman.
As always, the key is communication. Talking about the future isn’t a taboo that you should dance around to avoid ‘scaring off’ your partner any more. Know your non-negotiables, and make them clear from the start. Our world is now one where relationships can and should be grounded in realism, not stitched up in fairy-tale romance.
Leave the vampires to the storybooks, ladies.