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.


  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.

  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.

  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!

  4. [word verification was ovesses. hmmm.]