In a conversation with a cousin over Christmas, he commented that we’re a bunch of late breeders.* Whilst this was true of him, his brother and my sister, I decided that his comment completely ignored my reality, and added “though some of us weren’t able to at all.” He nodded, though to be honest he’s probably not aware of what I went through, as I haven’t seen him or his brother in about twenty years, and maybe he just thought we chose not to have children.
I realised how much infertility or loss has affected members of my extended family, as not only did my cousin lose his first son (stillborn) a number of years ago, but also his brother couldn’t come to my father’s funeral because, after years of infertility, an adoption had just fallen through. Fortunately his daughter, noticeably not his biological child, is now a happy member of our extended family. And my sister and her husband have a six-year-old daughter, born after her husband tragically lost his 21-year-old son.
On the other side of the family, I have a female cousin who has never married and has no children, and another female cousin who had a miscarriage about the same time I had my first ectopic pregnancy, and she never went on to have children either.
It struck me that our family seems filled with stories of infertility and loss, and made me wish that I saw them more often, when maybe I could be around people who really understand.