Got another one of these the other day..
That makes twelve months of that awful, taunting, lonely single line.
Like all the months before, it stung. It left me sad and defeated. Only this month, there was another emotion, one that’s been creeping up slowly..
In three short weeks, I’ll be…I’ll turn…I’m going to be…It’s…
Forty! I’m going to be forty goddamnit it.
I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just too old for this.
Let me preface this with a disclaimer: ThisisonlymyopinionandIdon’texpectnorwishforeveryonetofollowmylead.
That being said? I so, so, so wish I’d started having babies sooner. The awful weight of that self-reproach is snaking itself around mine and my husband’s hearts. There is no plan to stop trying as of yet, but the reality of my age, of everything that comes with that, is sinking in.
Do I need to say it? Have you seen (twenty-something)Jessica Alba at the beach? After two babies? Did you see the way my sister, who had her second and last baby at twenty-five, was back in her size two jeans, TWO WEEKS after giving birth?
I feel pretty good about how I came through my pregnancy at thirty-eight, but even so, everything is a little….off, and much squishier. The skin on my belly, when it folds, is wrinkly and tissue thin. It’s certain that my belly and boobs, stretched to juuuussst shy of their breaking points the first time, will not regroup after the second.
Now, before we all get our stretchmarks in a twist, TRUST me, this is the least important of my concerns, and I would never decide to not have another child based on it. That being said, I like wearing a bikini, I like looking good. I use to really like my tummy. Having another baby will more than likely irrevocably change all that and it sucks.
I don’t have it. Not all the time. Not most of the time. Of course, babies are exhausting for any mother regardless of age, but let’s be honest. I remember my twenties, I remember waking up with little more than a quick stretch and a yawn. I never drank coffee before baby. Even after a long night. Even after an all-nighter. Ever.
Now? I think about it all day long. I’m in love with it.
I need it.
When I was younger, the more active the day the better. I didn’t fight the urge to sit at every moment. I didn’t look out at the world through a pathetic fog for thirty five minutes every morning. I never felt run down, I didn’t ache, I was never stiff.
My body felt good and strong and my mind….
A woman at forty is beginning a significant change hormonally as it is… Throw a pregnancy and the shit storm of hormonal nonsense that it produces into that mix and here comes Baby Jane.*
I’m a basket case, not joking. Have been ever since Luka was pulled out of me. I’m better now than I was then, but I’m nothing like the woman I was before.
I miss her. She didn’t throw things as often.
The Family Tree
As I mentioned earlier, under duress, I am about to be forty years old. And both of my grandmothers are still living. I’m not talking about nursing home bound, thinking Harry Truman is the president, kind of grandmothers either. They’re both eighty-three. Not young certainly, but not ancient, and they’re both still ticking along, doing their thing.
They started families young, their children started families young, and because of that, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and growing with several generations of my family.
Luka’s children will maybe not even know Alex and I.
The Wall, The Ceiling, The End of the Line
Almost as soon as the joy of discovering I was pregnant bubbled inside of me, it was met with, and dampened by, remorse and worry. I did the math; thirty-eight at the time of birth meant, only a year ( two at the very MOST) to settle in to motherhood before trying again. The biological clock is replaced by the biological cliff for many of us who choose to wait for motherhood.
I want another child. I’d love for Luka to have a sibling. I’d like to have them close in age. I might not get any of these things.
I understand that women of every age face obstacles and challenges during pregnancy, birth and motherhood. I get that. The reality, however, is that more of us on the….older end, face such things.
Society does funnel us now towards the workforce first, babies next. It’s hard, if not impossible to avoid. But it’s a shame.
Also? Finding the right husband/partner/father is just as important as anything I’ve listed here. Yesterday, seemingly out of nowhere, He Who Can Not Be Blogged About( but who often is), said to me, while eating Indian takeout in front of the t.v., ” it’s too bad we didn’t meet each other sooner, we could have had more children.” He’s been an optimist throughout this year of disappointment, and this recognition of the possibility of defeat, seared my heart.
I wish I’d started earlier. I’m so sad that my chances may be up.
Everyone has a path and they need to take it.
If, however, a young woman were to ask me my advice? Ask me if she should wait for that mythical perfect time in the future?
I’ll tell her to ditch the birth control, grab a fistful of ovulation sticks and never look back.
* Crazy lady from a Bette Davis film.