EPISODE #119

Single, Female, Seeking
Baby Daddy

EPISODE #119

Single, Female, Seeking
Baby Daddy

My friend Andrea Silenzi makes a podcast called Why Oh Why. It’s about dating and relationships. Andrea takes all kinds of risks on the show—in her writing and her subject matter—and she allows herself to be vulnerable on mic in a way that I don’t hear very often. In fact, I love Andrea’s work so much that I recently came on as her editor. Here we are onstage at her live event last fall.

In this episode, we delve into Andrea’s personal dating life. She’s newly single, living in New York, and seeking what seems to be a rare beast: a guy who wants kids. To help Andrea out, I encouraged her to set up a focus group with single guys who want to be dads. I figured it was good, ahem, research.

Join us for some real-talk with Andrea and seven dudes with strong paternal instincts… and a strange obsession with braces.

More Why Oh Why
Subscribe to Andrea’s podcast, or start with two of our favorite episodes:
#12: Oblique Strategies
#24: Tips from a Gentleman

Have you felt YOUR biological clock ticking while dating?
Or maybe you’ve broken up with someone because you didn’t see eye to eye on the kids thing? Share, please! (Also seeking dates for Andrea. Haha, JK. Sorta.)

Focus group photo: Efim Shapiro

Our sponsors for this episode are Hills Brothers Hot Cocoa, Halo Top Creamery, 1-800-Flowers.com (click radio icon, code: LONGSHORT), Fracture, and LOLA (code: LONGSHORT). Use the promo codes at checkout for a special discount.

25 thoughts on “EPISODE #119: Single, Female, Seeking Baby Daddy

  1. Wow! As a woman who never wanted kids, I don’t think I fully appreciated the stress my baby-wanting sisters go through. I mean, yes, friends have talked about wanting kids, but this show was next-level. I don’t think I appreciated how focused and together a woman needs to be – even in her 20s – to get on the right timeline for baby making. I was in no way responsible enough to plan ahead like that when I was in my 20s, or even early 30s. And having those tough do-you-want-a-baby conversations with the cute guy I just met? Forget about it. I’m in my late 30s and I feel like I’m only just now self-possessed enough to tackle heavy topics – even with people I’ve known a long time (as Andrea knew her boyfriend). I think Andrea is incredibly brave to make these hard choices to get what she wants and incredibly self-aware to even know what those needs are. Good for you, girl. And for all you baby-wanting truth-speaking ladies out there.

  2. I didn’t want children and then, at 32, I suddenly did. So I adopted as a single parent. Although I would have liked to experience pregnancy, you love them no matter who gave birth to them. And when they do things you don’t like, you can blame their birth parents. :-)

  3. Excellent episode.

    I loved the bit where Andrea explained her timeline to the men and their reaction – ‘Hmm. Gotcha’. I played this bit to my husband (we’re mid forties and have two kids but I still wanted to hear his reaction) and he said, “This podcast is really well produced”. Yes, the podcast IS well produced but that wasn’t why I was playing it to you! :-)

    I really hope Andrea finds the right person to start a family with. I totally get the feeling that someone is missing.

  4. Wow, props to Andrea for bravely sharing her deeply felt and lived experience. I am sure it resonated with so many listeners (some men too!). I am now in my 50s, and had the experience of 3 long term (3-5 yrs) relationships in my 20s which did not go where I thought and hoped they might – the last and longest one ultimately broke up over his steadfast desire to not have children. Then I was 30, and doing the reverse timeline dance…I met my (now) husband at 31, but it took 7 years of being together and going around about that question (he is 5 yrs younger than me) and life happening – grad school, parents dying, career changes, etc – for us to get married and start on the baby project. So I had my daughter at 40, not something I ever would have planned that way, although the pregnancy part went great and I loved all of it. Child/pregnancy #2 did not go so smoothly, and after 2 miscarriages we adopted. Being “older parents” has its own challenges…Well, what I can say is, it’s quite a journey no matter which path you choose and who you travel with! I guess in the end you have to decide what you really want, and let go of everything being in the perfect place for parenthood to happen, if that is your heart’s dream.

    BTW, I love the name of the show, because parenting really is the longest shortest time : ) Thanks for all the feels!

  5. Such a relatable episode…and so many great comments already said. Agree especially with the person who said timelines can change…5 years is a long time. By mid-30s, most people I know meet, are married within a year, then pregnant a year after that.

    I am currently a 43-year old SMC with an almost 4 year old, conceived with donor sperm. I wanted to offer myself to talk with Andrea if she’s interested, particularly about network and asking for help. I had originally thought I’d adopt, and here I am with biological. I also think by the time she gets to this stage (if she ever does), she has to be content with having a child alone, rather than seeing it as a fallback.

    That said, she’s only 32. Try to enjoy the dating (which I know can be a challenge) for now. And see where that leads you.

  6. Interesting first episode for me to hear… as a woman turning 38 next month who has always been a bit of a late bloomer and sitting somewhere around “idk, maybe? ish? but not really, but it’s not 100% no, I guess… idk” for whether or not I want kids. No burning desire, I’m uncomfortable around kids, picking up toys and spilled juice and going to dance class and baseball practice don’t sound like fun times to me… but will I regret it when I’m older if I don’t have children?

    I’ve been a serial monogamist since I was 17… the longest time I’ve been completely without a man in my life has been 2-3 months, so it’s not for a lack of relationships in my situation, but it’s been finding out 3, 4, 5, 6 years into something that it just wasn’t right. My current boyfriend and I just marked our first year anniversary a couple of months ago and he is a wonderful partner. He is 9 years younger (not too many eligible bachelors my age that aren’t divorced with a couple of small kids), and like Andrea in her relationship with Mike, I don’t *actually* know where he stands on a lot of the important ‘where is this going?’ stuff. The thought of having to ask and maybe find out that our answers don’t line up – and also clue him into ‘hey, so… you know I’m 38 and what that means, right?’ – is terrifying. At the same time, I know I need to address these things sooner rather than later because I just don’t have the luxury of taking it easy and seeing what happens.

    Like another commenter mentioned, I just don’t feel like I’m ready and it the right place to make this decision yet. I started ‘real life’ later than most between grad school and teaching English abroad, and now I’ve got my business and that is such a HUGE part of my life, it has been my focus for the last 7 years.

    So I guess I’m not sure what the *purpose* of me writing all this is… maybe it’s just to say ‘I hear you’ to the other ladies my age in similar situations. It’s a very strange feeling to know that you’ve got extremely limited time to get moving on a life decision that takes years to work through (if you’re interested in doing it the traditional way, which I would be), you’re not sure you actually want, and you can’t even entirely control in the first place. Very strange. The next 2-5 years will have a huge impact on my life going forward. Wtf.

  7. I loved that this episode illuminated a topic I and so many other women have thought about many times, and I commend Andrea for sharing her personal experience with this conflict.

    I was surprised by how hard it was for the people featured in this episode to have direct conversations: Andrea never actually asked Mike “do you want kids some day?”; Harriet and Andrea struggled to ask Eric “was that a date?” (or my question, “do you want to go on a date?”); Andrea didn’t ask her new date “how do you feel about having kids?” rather, she consulted his online dating profile. I know in this last example, they’d only been on one date, but I hope that as that relationship moves forward, Andrea is able to ask the question rather than assuming something based on comments he makes about kids.

    I’m lucky to have a partner who wants to have children with me, and I only know this because we had a conversation about it early on, within the first few weeks and before we said “I love you.” We’ve since had other conversations about it, some light, some serious. I’m 26, if that matters.

    My close cousin, Amy, however, just broke up with her girlfriend because Amy wanted kids and her girlfriend did not. Amy knew her girlfriend didn’t want kids, but she avoided having that serious conversation for 3 years, hoping to avoid the topic or maybe convince her that they should have children. Ultimately that both realized they were never going to change their minds, and that this factor is essential. Essential to identity, essential to a partnership, essential to thinking about the future.

    I hope that people who listen to this episode come away with what it confirmed for me: HAVE THE HARD CONVERSATIONS! Yes, they’re hard! But being in a partnership, having children, being parents, all require having even more hard conversations, so you’d might as well get started now. If you and your partner are meant to be together, then these conversations will only bring you closer and make sure you’re on the same page. Much love <3

  8. My timeline… I was so conscious of the age my mom was when I was born. She was 26. I always felt like she was an ‘older mom’. I was a mean teenager who tried to insist that she dye her grey hair.

    So, on my 26th birthday I spent the whole day crying because I wasn’t married. I wasn’t sure my then-live-together-partner was husband/father-material. I almost broke with him that day.
    (now he’s my lovely husband and incredible father to our 2 kids)

  9. RE Timeline: I started my 20’s in the “I never want kids” camp. I’d never really dated as I’d always been in a committed relationship since age 16. I got married at 27. My husband 100% did not want kids. I didn’t really either. So we were fine with that. I got divorced at 31. I became a different person. The real me. The real me was loving and had a lot of love to give. I realized it wasn’t that I didn’t want kids, I just didn’t want kids with my ex husband. But I didn’t realize that until we were divorced. So, I was essentially dating for the first time at age 31. And that is when I thought a LOT about the timeline. I did the same exact math as Andrea did in the episode and it was frightening. As a woman it is hard to mention kids early on because men tend to get scared. There is that stereotype of the “crazy” woman who just wants kids ASAP and wants to pressure and trap a guy. When dating, guys definitely buy into this. Anyway, I met a wonderful man right after my 33rd birthday. We moved in together 4 months later. Got married 15 months after meeting. I gave birth to our son 8 months ago at age 35.5. We just celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary. For us, we sped up the timeline because we knew what we wanted and we knew that we were meant for each other. So, although I had the timeline of 2 years dating, one year engaged, 2 years married, then baby, sometimes life doesn’t go that way and you make the timeline that works for you. Either way you look at it though, it is stressful for women over 30! PS: the ex husband who never wanted kids? He is remarried to a woman who told him date 1 she wanted kids ASAP. They got married quickly and have a baby.

    1. Jess: I had something similar happen; I was married and always knew I wanted kids. But then after a couple years of marriage realized I did not want to have kids with my husband. So I broke off our relationship when I was 29 or so. I definitely did the reverse timeline calculation, but was very lucky and met my current husband pretty quickly and now have two amazing kids. My ex is still childless, though he had previously expressed interest in children . . .

  10. Loved this episode. I think it’s fascinating to hear men’s perspectives on the fertility timeline, so often it’s considered something only women need to worry about. My own reverse timeline caught me a bit by surprise. In my twenties I knew I wanted kids but was in no hurry to partner up or get pregnant. I knew I’d probably end up with a woman partner, which kind of takes the pressure off as a single lady. Because with two uteri one of them is likely to work, right? Then at age 30 I fell in love with a 36 year old lady. She wasn’t interested in being pregnant for several good reasons and it also made more sense physically for me to carry since I was younger. So all of a sudden I did have a timeline – start trying once we got married (33) and have two kids in close succession. In the end I carried twins at age 35 and we are done. I think it’s an interesting question how these timelines differ for queer individuals. In some ways we are under less pressure because we and our family and friends don’t always expect that we’ll have (bio)kids, but in other ways there are more questions to answer (adopt? find a surrogate/donor/sibling? one partner’s bio-kids or one of each? does pregnancy fit your gender id?). I am so thankful online dating was invented – in the US where we shy away from talking about kids on dates, at least we can talk about it in our online profiles! To Andrea – I hope this episode somehow sets you on a path to a partner and the kids you want, I think you are brave.

Say Something

Commenting Guidelines Curiosity and spirited discussion are welcome; personal attacks are not. We reserve the right to reject comments for any reason.

SUBSCRIBE