Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Space Between 35 and 42

Lately...I've been thinking about what it means to be turning 35 and searching for some kind of grounding in where I am in life, or rather trying to make a space to be comfortable in accepting and celebrating this new chapter in my life. 

I find it difficult to find the balance of being happy with being a single, childless woman with a challenging, fulfilling career path and not becoming consumed with wanting to be a mother that I lose sight of the wonderful I have in my life in the present.  I do not want to have those thoughts of hoped motherhood looming in my mind that I miss out on capturing and living in the moment now.

To lay this out now--I want to be in a committed, loving relationship, which I see as being married, to a man whom I want to spend the rest of my life.  And a child is a blessing and an experience that I want and hope to share with someone together.  A baby is not a requirement for happiness or satisfaction in that hoped life.  I am looking for someone who is open to the possibility and desire to have children.  I feel confident that I will find that man--someday sooner rather than later, I hope.  Part of my fear is that I will not find him before the window closes...before my physical body says no more, even if my heart still says yes.

What's with 42?  Well, that seems to be the number that keeps popping up in my mind of when I think the window may close for me.  It used to be 38, but I've expanded it.  It could be longer and could change, I don't know.  I would hope that my kid would graduate high school before I reached retirement age.  That could push it to 46.  But, 46 seems so old to be pregnant for the first time.  Forty-two seems to hedge on the possibility that there could still be some good eggs in there and that I could physically handle it, maybe.  Forty-two seems more friendly to defy the odds in some weird way.  I don't know.  Totally know it is not a rational thought process, but there it is--the current barometer on my inner timeline.

And please do not throw out the instant band-aid, "You can always adopt!"  I started down that road once before and I know it is not that simple.  I've already had a touch of that feeling like a pound puppy and feeling judged by others to decide if I'm good enough to be a mother.  I don't even want to get into the manipulation of some that make you feel guilty that you question your level of comfort in how much you are willing to take on in caring for a child that may be atypical in health or development, among other factors.  It is not just a decision about you, there is also a great deal of thought of how it may impact the child.  It is not an easy process and it becomes more complicated the older that you get because young parents are so desired.  It is not to say that it doesn't happen; it thankfully and rightfully does.  I may be open to adoption in the future, but there are so many factors that go into that decision process.  Again, it needs to be inclusive of what is best for me and my hoped partner.

So yes, I do feel there is plenty of time to meet and connect with the man who I dream of sharing a life.  There is a larger and more generous timeline for that to happen.  What is not so forgiving is the time that my body has left to have a baby of my own--my own flesh and blood--my eyes, my hair or my freckles--my love of books, my playful spirit or my feeling at home with nature, art and football.  And all of those kinds of things found in my partner, but mushed in combination with me into one little being.

Part of me feels that if I become too comfortable and caught up in this single life that I may accidentally push away the chance of being a mother.  It's like if I "forget" about it, it may not happen.  Will the universe forget that dream deep within me?  If by living in the moment and not constantly hoping for a child, will the higher power think that having a child is no longer important to me?

Part of me worries that if I keep worrying about it not happening, that it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and will not happen.  I am afraid of the disappointment that may not come.  I want to be hopeful and believe.  But, what if I am setting myself up for more heartache if it doesn't happen?

I feel caught between quietly hoping, but not hoping too much or not enough, and keeping the fears at bay of it not happening, or worse hoping and believing and it not happening and then being crushed.  I know this is the worst constructed sentence ever.  But, I don't know how else to write all of what I am feeling at the same time.  My thoughts and feelings on motherhood for myself all are a jumbled blob, just like that sentence.  My chest feels tight and the tears silently roll down my cheeks wrapping my brain around all of my thoughts and feelings.

And somehow I have to release the fears, find the courage to believe and get back to living my life as it is in the present--not just getting by, but living a full, happy and content life now.  I know that responsibility resides in me; it is just remembering to do it.  Perhaps focusing on being thankful for what I do have will help me to seize the most that life has to offer me.

As a good friend said to me a few years ago...when one door closes, another one opens.  Maybe all of what I have been through is to make room for something more than I could ever imagine.  After A~, I felt I found that with RJ, but it did not last.  So, I hold onto hope that there is something even better and that my time will not run out.


  1. Jamie~keep in mind, age is not the only determining factor in your fertility. It wouldn't have mattered if I was 24 or eggs just wouldn't have worked. Keep your mind and heart open to whatever path leads you to the ultimate goal...motherhood. Being through everything I have and now being a 43 year old first time mom, I know exactly how you feel and how important it can feel to have a biological link to a child. I went for SO many years just wanting to FEEL pregnant and give birth, only to get pregnant and lose my child. It was after that experience that I realized the important thing to focus on was being a parent, not being pregnant. There are so many wonderful things to share with a child, and believe me, the second any child is handed to you, be he/she biologically yours or not, you will fall madly in love. If you are truly worried about your fertility, you can always freeze your eggs for later use, and/or consider surrogacy.

    I think it's just going to take you some time to shift your thinking. Like you said, now is the time for you to focus on the present, enjoy what is happening to you right now. That doesn't mean pushing away any dreams of a potential family, just enjoying the path you are on now and realizing that all of the experiences you are having will be put to use once you DO find a partner and build your family. I go back and look through my journals from a few years ago and I just couldn't understand why my prayers weren't being answered. Now I know that my purpose in life was to be a mother to a very specific child and I had to wait for him to be born. As they say, "Hindsight is 20/20."

    The happier you are now, the more you will show your true, wonderful self and that is what will attract your perfect partner. Live in the present, but keep your goals ahead of you. Your path is bound to cross someone else with a likewise goal.

  2. Thanks, Diane, for sharing your thoughts and of yourself in your response. I keep trying to remind myself that I am on the path that I am supposed to be. I think I am grieving the loss of motherhood in they way that I had hoped. The sadness is revisiting me. But I hope to move through this sadness to be in a place that my heart is open to multiple paths. Age is only one factor with fertility, which is scary because all of it is up in the air. It sucks to know too much. Age seems easier to gauge in something that seems unmeasurable or irrational.

    I need to make a mental shift--away from waiting to that of living now. I have been so focused on checking things off my list in getting my life together again. Now that those things are done, I don't know what to do with myself. Before, when I would get all sad about motherhood, I just told myself that I wasn't ready and poored myself into grad school. Now I feel like that kid on the playground waiting for someone to pass me the ball and I'm out there waving my arms around, "I'm here! I'm ready! I'm open!" I just really want to find the man I am supposed to be with because I really want that and to have a shot at motherhood. I don't want to feel rushed. I want there to be time to cultivate that relationship before hoping to bring a child into our world.

    I like what you said that I am bound to cross someone else with a likewise goal. I have to be happy with me first before adding another--that is the shift I am trying to re-establish.

  3. That's exactly the mindset you need, Jamie! The happier and healthier you are (mind and body) the more you have to offer someone else. Our fertility journeys are so depressing and bleak that often it spills over into every area of our lives and poisons the bubbly personalities we once had. You're right, knowing too much is a double-edged sword. What I wouldn't give sometimes to go back to being in the dark and just living my life, waiting to see what kind of awesome journey is ahead of me!