Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Too young to be too old?

There’s something about having to deal with the monthly reminder that I’m a woman, still theoretically (though admittedly only just) in her child-bearing years, as they so tactfully put it.  Actually, when you think about it, “child-bearing years” is a ridiculous term, as many of us know.  But I digress.

When I first learned I would never have children naturally or through assisted conception, the monthly reminder was more welcome.  At 41, I was told I was too old to have children.  I didn’t respond to the stimulation drugs of IVF, and was told that it was all because of my “vintage.”  To this day, I cringe when I hear this word, and if I have to hear one more person say “but it meant you were like a fine wine” I’ll scream, because in fact the word – in my context – meant precisely the opposite.  I digress again.  At 41, I still felt young.  I felt too young to be too old.  And the thought that I might be entering peri-menopause was awful to me.  I hated it.  I was not ready to enter, as another well-meaning friend put it, the “crone” stage of life.  I’m sorry, but “crone” does not denote anything pleasant to me, although I know what the term means, and what my friend meant.

So the monthly reminder, arriving regularly, at least made me feel a bit normal, that I had something in common with other women my age, whether or not I had children.  And perhaps I still had a tiny bit of wild, against-all-odds hope.  But as the years have passed, and as the big Five-Oh looms (not for a while yet I hasten to add), I realise that I would be petrified to find I was pregnant now.  Discount all the medical disadvantages and everything that could go wrong at my advanced age, I realise now that I do feel too old to become a new mother.  I wouldn’t want to be in my 60s with a teenager, or coping with a toddler and hot flushes at the same time. 

And so, each month, I become more and more frustrated that I have to go through this charade.  At this stage of my life, I find it increasingly unpleasant, exhausting, and debilitating.  It is as if I am being taunted with what could never be, what I never managed to achieve.  It’s like being slapped in the face each month.  And frankly, I’m ready for it to stop.

4 comments:

  1. I am still digesting the fact that I'm not having children.I do think that the monthly cycle is a nasty little reminder of what was supposed to happen and never will.

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  2. I so agree with you about the disadvantages of giving birth at a "later" age. My mother had her second child at 42. I was 16 at the time, and I remember thinking, what is the wrong with this woman--she's always tired! My father died six years later, and my mother ended up bringing up the child on her own.

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  3. Oddly, as someone who never tried to have children and has no idea whether she could have had them or not, I am not looking forward to menopause at all. (Obviously, my periods must not be overly bothersome yet.)

    May the stopping come quickly and easily for you!

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  4. [word verification was ovesses. hmmm.]

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