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.