In those restless hours she couldn’t sleep, Tina Fey debated in her mind whether she should have a second child, the question soon tormenting her in the daytime, until she couldn’t take it anymore.
During a visit to her gynecologist, she broke down.
“I laid it all out for her, and the main thing I took away from our conversation was the kind of simple observation that only an impartial third party can provide: ‘Either way, everything will be fine.’”
In her memoir, Fey recounts her battle with the work-vs.-family issue, particularly acute for a woman in Hollywood who is entering her 40s.
She felt “stricken with guilt and panic” when her 5½-year-old daughter Alice – probably “the only child in her class without a sibling” – would say, “I wish I had a baby sister,” and Fey recalls how she would “debate the second-baby issue when I can’t sleep.”
“I get up to go to the bathroom and study myself in the mirror,” she writes. “Do I look like someone who should be pregnant? I look good for 40, but I have the quaggy jawline and hollow cheeks of a mom, not a pregnant lady. It’s now or never. This decision can’t be delayed.”
A successful producer and writer as well as an actress, Fey took stock of her career. “Science shows that fertility and movie offers drop off steeply for women after 40,” she writes.
But then, she wonders, “What’s so great about work anyway? Work won’t visit you when you’re old. Work won’t drive you to get a mammogram and take you out after for soup.”
In the end, she realizes, “Hollywood be damned. I’ll just be unemployable and labeled crazy in five years anyway.”
– Mike Fleeman