Leaving the NYC “Bubble” Behind and Becoming a Mom at 35

Posted December 26, 2023 by in Lifestyle

I’ve been a hopeless romantic my entire life—even as a kid, I couldn’t wait to fall in love and walk down the aisle. I remember planning my dream wedding in middle school before even having my first boyfriend…yes I was one of those. Getting married has always been important to me and one of my biggest goals—but so were many other things. I wanted to travel the world, live abroad, and start my own business. I’m now 35, and I’m happy to say all my childhood dreams came true. But want to know something that was never a dream or goal of mine? I never wanted to be a mom. Like, ever. The idea would make me cringe and fill me with doom and dread. 

That reality set me a part from a lot of my peers. Every pregnancy announcement from a friend would have me thinking privately to myself…”wait…she got pregnant on purpose“. Getting pregnant on purpose was always such a foreign thought to me—especially in my 20s, but in my early 30s as well. Many women want to become moms, and why wouldn’t they? It’s one of the most rewarding and beautiful “jobs” out there. But I could never fathom it for myself. I have a complicated relationship with my mom—and being adopted, I didn’t connect with my biological mom until my late 20s. I’ve always kind of felt unwanted—especially as an adult. So how could I be a good mother if my own mother didn’t even want me? Childhood trauma in a nutshell. 

I also didn’t have pressure to have kids—and I’m very thankful for that. I lived in the NYC bubble…

The NYC “Bubble”

If you live or have lived in NYC, you likely know what I’m talking about when I say “bubble”. If you don’t, let me explain. NYC is an actual bubble—and it’s not real life. I mean, it is real life, but the people who choose to call it their home are built differently than those who don’t. I lived there for almost a decade, and only once did I have a co-worker that had baby—and she didn’t even live in the city. She only commuted into the office once a month and she never spent time in the city. If I heard wind of someone being pregnant…they were almost always 35 or more with one foot out the door already…usually Hoboken,  Jersey City, or a picturesque town upstate.

If a New Yorker did decide to have a baby, they were either loaded and could afford a nanny and/or a second home upstate, they would freeze their eggs to buy more time, or…they would leave entirely. 

In NYC, you live like you’re permanently 28, regardless of your actual age. You’re aging, but you don’t really know you’re aging. Until you finally do leave and it’s like holy shit! I’m 35 and my biological clock is actually ticking. Being over 30 in NYC is very different from being over 30 in middle America. Don’t ask me why, it just is. I met older women without children every day—that was the norm. Meeting a woman with a child was the real rarity. You also rarely see children in NYC—if a baby was at brunch—it was weird. There’s also very little balance in NYC…and balance is important, especially when it comes to growing a family.

Balance is Hard to Achieve in New York City

I always say the biggest difference between NYC and LA is this: In New York, people live to work. In Los Angeles, people work to live. Sadly, most of my conversations with people in New York, both strangers and friends are work related. If a friend isn’t at work, they are looking for work or talking about work. In fact, my husband recently overheard a former New Yorker at a Pasadena Starbucks say it perfectly “In NYC, you meet a lot of brands, companies, and characters, but you don’t actually meet many people. In LA, you actually meet people and it’s a breath of fresh air.”

It’s so true. In New York City, your identity is your job and it’s difficult to find people who actually have hobbies as they are too busy hustling to do things they actually enjoy outside of the 9-5. Everyone’s hobbies go on the back burner so they can “achieve career success”. Now when I go back to visit friends, many seem burned out and unhappy. I too once lived for the hustle. In fact, I thought being stressed and overworked meant I was living the life and succeeding—but LA made me see that there’s more to life than a company that will never love me back, no matter what I dedicate to it.

In LA, people have hobbies and they love life in a way New Yorkers don’t. All anyone talks about in NYC is work and the hustle. If you stop and listen to conversations in coffee shops or bars around happy hour, the topic is sadly often work-related. Even if the duo is clearly on a date, work is the topic. In LA, you’re able to actually get to know the individual—and you may converse with that person for months until you find out what they actually do for a living—because their purpose is beyond the job. I hate to say it, but the average Angelino doesn’t look frazzled and overworked. The energy of people in LA is lighter and way more joyful—the perfect environment to grow a family.

Of course you can call NYC home and also have a healthy work/life balance—but I don’t know many people who have been able to do so. I guess you can say, my NYC bubble burst and I wanted more out of life. LA ultimately taught me that yes, we need to work, but it doesn’t have to be our identity as humans.

Meeting the Right Person

Enough about “the bubble” that is New York City. I also never had a partner I wanted to parent with. Before meeting my husband, the two significant partners I had, in my eyes, would have been horrible fathers. One because he was abusive and cruel. And the other suffered from both depression and anxiety in a way that dominated our lives. So I was good living in my child-free NYC bubble where I didn’t age past 30 regardless of reality. 

I have now lived in Los Angeles for four years. Even though LA is a large city with millions of people, it is not a bubble. People have children here at all ages and it works out perfectly fine. They don’t have to “leave LA” to make it work. They may move to The Valley for more space and cheaper rent, but The Valley is still technically Los Angeles. New Jersey will never be New York City.  #sorrynotsorry 

Well here I am, 35 and, you guessed it, pregnant. And I’m ecstatic! I’m so happy and full of life—literally and figuratively. A couple of years ago, I couldn’t have imagined being in this mental and emotional state, and I have my husband to thank for that. He is the best partner and he is already an amazing father to our little one. 

blogger and DJ Amanda Raye Siguenza in a thrifted Old Navy jumpsuit from Savers thrift for maternity photos

I’m “Ready”

When I met my now husband, and we were just getting to know each other, he told me he always knew he wanted to be a dad, but never wanted to get married. I know! Huge red flag! But wait…I told him that I didn’t know if I wanted to be a mom, but I always knew I wanted to be a wife. Opposites attract I guess! After only a few months of dating, I couldn’t imagine my life without him, and I also couldn’t imagine a childless life with him. I wanted his babies. I knew parenting with him would be my biggest and most fun adventure—and I love adventures. I made him see marriage could be beautiful if you pick the right person, and he made me see that I did have the power to be a good mother. We eloped in Las Vegas on December 7th, 2022 and the rest is history.

I don’t know my point in writing this, maybe there is no point, but thanks for reading if you have made it this far. I’m happy I changed my mind on motherhood and I can’t wait to enter this new life chapter with my favorite person. I also want anyone who took the time to read this, childless or not, that it’s okay to not know.

It’s Okay to Not Know

Being a parent is a big responsibility, if not the biggest responsibility to exist. If you’re on the fence, that is okay—if it becomes your calling, you’ll know. And if it never becomes your calling, that is okay, too. It’s not 1950, and women don’t need to become mothers to be considered purposeful by society (thank God). In all honesty, the current state of the world is horrible, but at least we as women have choices in a way our mother’s and grandmother’s before us didn’t—having children isn’t the only destiny a woman can have. Live your truth.

I’m very happy I experienced a change of heart, and as I write this at 28 weeks pregnant (hello third trimester!), I have a little being inside me kicking my stomach and it’s so damn beautiful. Some days it seems unreal, but each day, my body amazes me with its power to grow life. Being a woman is wild ya’ll—I had no idea what my body was capable of until becoming pregnant.

Los Angeles Maternity photoshoot in thrifted polka dot jumpsuit

Amanda Raye Siguenza of Broke and Chic showcasing her budget friendly maternity style

Shop My Look

My maternity look was thrifted from Savers Thrift in Arcadia, CA for $8. It’s a last season jumpsuit from Old Navy and I’m wearing a large. Note: It’s not a maternity jumpsuit. I don’t think it will fit me my entire pregnancy, but so far, so good. If you like this exact jumpsuit, I found a few being sold on Poshmark and eBay if you want to purchase. I had to have it because I’ve been wanting the polka dot maternity jumpsuit from NOM Maternity—but there’s a $120 price difference between my thrifted version and the NOM Maternity version.

*Photos taken at 19 weeks by my friend, Will Heffernan.

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