Baby Or Bust: My Time Is Running Out

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Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer “radical empathy” and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Here’s today’s dilemma. A 38-year-old woman is in a relationship with a 24-year-old man. Despite the large age gap, everything is going well — she says they have “real, serious, beautiful love” for each other.

But she’s always wanted to be a mother, and worries that time is running out to have a child. Her boyfriend says he’s not ready for fatherhood. She’s now faced with two choices that seem to be mutually exclusive: Stay with her boyfriend, or break up and have a child on her own.


Dear Sugars,

I am in quite a jam. Two years ago, at the age of 36, I met a young man of 22. Yes, that’s a 14-year age gap.

Three weeks after that first encounter, we traveled to Mexico, spent the following three months living in L.A. (both of us completely broke, I should add), and then moved back to our home of New York City and into our first apartment together.

Over these years together, we have grown to truly appreciate each other’s differences, adore and applaud each other’s ideas and successes, and work through our challenges in a respectful, kind and loving manner. We’re the envy of our friends, and our families are thrilled to see how happy we make each other.

Our love is unwavering, honest, reciprocal and exciting. He’s exceptional at understanding and supporting my 38-year-old needs, and I am patient and understanding toward his.

But with this big, safe, secure love, has come a desire to finally become a mother. I’ve always looked forward to having children. A nurturer at heart, I assumed I’d be a young mom, but after a tumultuous and co-dependent 10-year relationship that lasted through my 20s, motherhood never felt right.

Now it does. And it’s well and truly time for me. The thing is, it’s not time for him.

Now, almost 25 years young, my guy is still searching for his dream job. He’s still finding himself, exploring friendships and discovering the hardships and treasures of life. In other words, he’s busy being a young man.

I’m in an emotional quandary, because I don’t want to rush the issue of parenthood with him, but thanks to biology, I don’t have a choice.

I am a successful writer and creative director and have, in the past two years, saved a large sum of money — enough to buy an apartment and ensure security for the next couple of years. So financially speaking, we are good. I’m also in excellent health. I’m remarkably young-looking for my age, highly energetic and fit as a fiddle.

I don’t want my boyfriend to feel pressure or obligation, and I don’t want him to have to give up his goals and dreams. But the truth is, he will never earn as much as I do, nor reach my level of career success.

If I were single, without a doubt in my mind, I’d find a way to have a child immediately, whether through sperm donation or a friend. But I’m in real, serious, beautiful love with this person, and he is in real, serious, beautiful love with me.

We’ve had a couple of tense but adult conversations about it, and he’s firmly but kindly stated his feelings against fatherhood for the unforeseeable future. He’s just not ready.

At almost 39, I don’t have time to wait for him to come around. Freezing eggs isn’t an option for me either, because time-wise, I just don’t want to get any older before I become a first-time mother.

Aside from just going ahead and falling pregnant without his full approval, I really don’t know what to do. What would YOU do?

Signed,

Age Doesn’t Matter Until It Does

Steve Almond: This is tough. Biologically, she’s quite realistic in saying, this is an experience I want to have now, not later. And if that’s the case, Age Doesn’t Matter Until It Does, then you have what sounds like a fairly stark choice. Do you want the experience of having a child and being a mom, or do you want this love?

Cheryl Strayed: I think she should go to the sperm bank and get pregnant. Age Doesn’t Matter Until It Does, I think if you’re so clear that you want to be a mother, you should become a mother. I also completely get why your partner doesn’t want to be a father at 25, but I think it’s part of his obligation to you as a partner to not stand in the way of you fulfilling one of the biggest desires in your life.

Steve: I would further interrogate the question of whether being in a secure, loving relationship feels crucial to the mixture. The reality of getting pregnant is something that I think she has to be ready to do on her own.

Cheryl: She says, “If I were single, without a doubt in my mind, I’d find a way to have a child immediately.” We know for sure that she wants to become a mother, and if that’s the case, her relationship has to fall around that. Maybe it means she and her boyfriend break up, or maybe they stay together in some fashion. There are all these different scenarios. But the one scenario that will be true is the one that she wants the most, which is that she has a baby.

Not every relationship, even if it’s a great one, is fit for the long haul. I think we often forget to think about romantic love in such practical terms. Maybe you have to say, this relationship was wonderful, and now it has to end so I can live the life I want to live and you can live the life you want, too. That’s not a failure. It can be painful, but it’s usually more painful not to make those choices.

You can get more advice from the Sugars each week on Dear Sugar Radio from WBUR. Listen to the full episode to hear from more people with disagreements over whether to have kids.

Have a question for the Sugars? Email dearsugarradio@gmail.comand it may be answered on a future episode.

You can also listen to Dear Sugar Radio on iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.

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In Syria, At Least 39 Killed In Explosion As Evacuations Stall

At least 39 were killed following a car bomb attack on buses carrying evacuees from government-held towns in Syria. An evacuation deal had stalled and the buses were stranded for some 30 hours prior to the attack.

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At least 39 people are dead after a car bomb exploded near a convoy carrying evacuees from besieged areas of Syria, human rights groups and Syrian media report.

NPR’s Alison Meuse tells our Newscast unit, the convoy had been transporting residents of government-held towns in accordance with a “reciprocal agreement” between Syrian and rebel forces:

“They were residents of two besieged Shia minority villages, who’d been besieged by rebels for years. They were evacuating under a deal contingent on residents of two pro-rebel towns being allowed to evacuate.”

The Associated Press describes the aftermath of the blast, occurring in the Rashideen area, which is a rebel-controlled district outside Aleppo. According to the news service, state television aired images of buses “charred” and “gutted” by the blast and bodies lying near the site of the attack.

The Syrian government said the car had been supposedly carrying aid to the evacuees, while rebels claim the car was stationary and had been parked near the stalled convoy.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The convoy, which was supposed to move into the nearby Idlib province, had been stalled for some 30 hours.

The BBC adds that according to the “Four Towns” deal, some 30,000 people were planned to be relocated, but nearly 7,000 people — on both sides of the conflict — have been stranded since Friday:

“The complex choreography of this exchange has been attempted before on a smaller scale, reports Sebastian Usher, the BBC’s Arab affairs editor. There must now be concern over whether it can continue at all, he adds. …

“Rebels say Damascus breached the terms of the deal, accusing the government of trying to bring out more loyalist fighters than agreed.”

Allison further points out that the deal has been controversial and subject to accusations of forcing demographic change.

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The Internet Is Gratified: 'April The Giraffe' Gives Birth On Popular Livestream

Animal Adventure ParkYouTube

For a large portion of the Internet, patience has finally paid off.

April, a giraffe at a New York state zoo, gave birth Saturday on a widely-and-intensely-watched live stream.

According to The Associated Press, at least 1.2 million people watched the event on Animal Adventure Park’s YouTube page.

Buzzfeed News has isolated the exact moment of birth and it can be viewed below. Warning: like most live mammal births, it’s kind of messy.

Shortly thereafter, the newborn calf took its first steps.

OMG April the Giraffe has given birth 🎉 pic.twitter.com/xiZYU90pIY

— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 15, 2017

The feed was launched in February and quickly picked up an intense following of viewers hoping to catch the first glimpses of a baby giraffe. In between the cam’s launch and payoff, an apparel line sprang up dedicated to the pregnant April, as well as a GoFundMe page to shower the zoo with funds to care for calf when it arrived.

But in February, viewers were left briefly in the dark after the video was flagged for “nudity and sexual content.” The shutdown didn’t last long, however, and fervent April watchers were once again allowed their favorite Beckettian pastime.

Though details of the calf are scarce, the Associated Press notes, newborn giraffes typically weigh around 150 pounds and are about 6 feet at birth.

The news service adds that the zoo plans on a naming contest.

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North Korea Rolls Out Missiles During Founder's Birthday Celebrations

During a Saturday parade commemorating its founder’s birthday, North Korea rolled out what appeared to be new intercontinental ballistic missiles. The country has been warned against having such weapons.

Wong Maye-E/AP

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Amid the fanfare and regalia of its founder’s birthday celebrations, North Korea rolled out what appeared to be new missiles – a brazen display as the country ratchets up its rhetoric against efforts to curb its weapons programs.

The missiles were among one element of a massive, militaristic parade to mark the 1912 birthday of the regime’s founder, Kim Il Sung. Common among the annual holiday are the shows of uniformity and Maoist-inflected ideology that were on display during the Saturday parade, including parcels of tanks and ordnance and goose-stepping processions.

Founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday is usually commemorated by displays of military fanfare and the nation’s ordnance.

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Wong Maye-E/AP

Decked in black, Kim Jong Un, silently watched the ceremonies to commemorate his grandfather in the nation’s capital city, Pyongyang.

This year, however, the holiday also showcased what appeared to be long-range and submarine-based missiles: weapons the country has long been warned against possessing. As NPR’s Rob Schmitz tells our newscast unit:

“Military analysts paid close attention to two new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles enclosed in canister launchers mounted on the backs of trucks – none of which had been displayed before.

“Though analysts questioned what was inside the missile shells, they said the appearance of a submarine-launched ballistic missile shows North Korea is progressing with its plan to launch missiles from anywhere in the sea.”

And on the same day, a top North Korean official offered a warning to the U.S., accusing president Trump of “creating a war situation.”

“We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack,” said Choe Ryong Hae as translated by the BBC.

“We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks,” Choe said Saturday.

The North has been increasingly challenging the U.S. in rhetoric following ambiguouslanguage from the Trump administration as well as the recent missile strike against Syrian government forces. The North views the strike as telegraphing what the Trump administration’s plans are for its regime.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was reportedly silent during the marking of his grandfather’s, the nation’s founder, birthday. A top official, however, accused Donald Trump of “creating a war situation”on Saturday.

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Wong Maye-E/AP

The Associated Press furthers notes that in a statement Friday, North Korea’s military drew parallels to past U.S. actions against Iraq and Libya.

“It will be the largest of miscalculations if the United States treats us like Iraq and Libya, which are living out miserable fates as victims of aggression, and Syria, which didn’t respond immediately even after it was attacked,” said a Friday statement by the general staff of the North Korean army, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

Moreover, the North has taken the recent deployment of a U.S. naval strike group to the region as grounds for its continued testing of nuclear and missile weapons technologies.

As NPR’s Merrit Kennedy reported earlier this week, the regime said it would “hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions.”

“We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves,” read a statement quoted by Merrit.

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence will travel Sunday to South Korea. Pence is scheduled to begin a ten-day Asia trip

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