About 10 years ago, some time in June or thereabouts, I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and asked offhandedly for a pregnancy test. I hadn't even skipped a period yet, but I realized I'd had one instance of unprotected sex and although I had never ever been pregnant my entire life, since I was at the doc's office I figured it would be a good idea.

It came back positive. I felt like a balloon had popped... it was completely unexpected. Probably a disaster. But as time went on and after a hell of a lot of drama I got used to and accepted the idea of a baby, and as irrational a decision as it was to move forward with the pregnancy and as much drama as I endured afterwards, I never once regretted it.

Everyone was surprised at me. My own parents had me pegged as someone who wasn't particularly interested in kids. But they were wrong. It's just that I'm the kind of person who mulls over so many different things, I can't possibly pay attention to the things that aren't right in front of me. But once motherhood was on my radar, it was all I cared about. And the second I looked into my little boys' bright eyes, deep into his soul, I knew I wanted another.

But... as time went on I knew I couldn't do it with his father.

So it's been ten years. And yesterday I went to the doctor for a routine exam, and was suddenly confronted with two incidents that are reminding me that for women, time is not always our friend.

The first, a small polyp in my uterus, concerns me very little. I've had all sorts of little abnormalities my whole life that doctors always want to cut into or biopsy, but since I'm fairly healthy and cancer doesn't really run in the family, I'm not concerned. Polyps are fairly common in women in their forties. Cancer is not on my radar. If I'm confronted with it, I'll deal with it but it's not something that consumes me.

The second thing though, made me feel like a popped balloon.

Apparently, the last time I went to the doc they had noticed lowered levels in my thyroid... not enough to draw attention to but enough to monitor. Hypothyroidism is not necessarily an indication of approaching menopause, but sometimes it is. The doctor wasn't concerned. In fact, I got the distinct impression that it was so common for my age that he was merely monitoring the situation. But something about hearing that reminded me solidly that I am 44, and it becomes harder for women to conceive and pregnancy is harder for women in their forties, though women do it all the time.

And I realized how very much I want another child. Most people I've mentioned it to think I'm insane... I'm almost "free". My Sun is 10. Life begins at 40. I could do anything I wanted to from now on... why would I want to do the toddler years again at 40-something? When the baby is a teen I'll be 60. Besides, I have no job, no source of income. Bill collectors hound me, my very existence is in jeopardy. I'm not even in a committed relationship. I'm not even sure I'm IN a relationship. The thought of another baby is is completely illogical. Irresponsible, even. And yet.... it runs so deep that the possibility of never having another baby brings me to tears.

It's ironic that men aren't burdened with this. They can feasibly father children until they die. It's ironic because men aren't made to nurture children in the same way women are. They can't breastfeed. They will not endure a pregnancy. Yet women do... I wonder if this is why we have a "shelf-life?" I know God knows what he's doing... knowing we are the ones who will bear the brunt of the responsibility of a child... knowing it is our bodies that must house this creature until it can breathe on it's own... knowing how much energy and life-essence our children siphon off of us, it makes sense we only be allowed to do it for a certain period of time. It would be a detriment to our health to do it much beyond our forties. But it doesn't' seem fair... particularly when you are faced with the possibility of running out of time.

It reminds me of a song I used to sing at karaoke before the Sun came along:

A friend of mine she cries at night and she calls me on the phone
Sees babies everywhere she goes and she wants one of her own
She's waited long enough she says and, she still he can't decide
Pretty soon she'll have to choose and it tears her up inside
She is scared
Scared she'll run out of time

I see my folks are getting on and I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me and it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself, it's what we all go through
Those lines are pretty hard to take when they're starin' back at you
Scared to run out of time

When did the choices get so hard, there's so much more at stake
Life gets mighty precious
When there's less of it to waste
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Scared to run out of time

I sang that song many many times, feeling each word. And at the time, I thought the last verse pertained to SD... and then I had the Sun, and went through fire and rain. And I am now confronted with the possibility of not living the last verse at all.... and it makes me so sad.

Just when I thought I'd had enough and all my tears were shed
No promise left unbroken, there were no painful words unsaid
You came along and showed me how to leave it all behind
You opened up my heart again and then much to my surprise
I found love, baby, love in in the nick of time
(Love in the nick of time)
I found love, darlin', love in the nick of time
I found love baby, love in the nick of time

Some friends, who do know my heart, have urged me to just go ahead and "do it". But unlike "Octomom", who's urges and reasoing I fully understand and relate to (though I do think she's completely underestimating the "childhood" aspect of her decision--babies are fairly easy to handle. Ten year olds are not.) I don't want to do it by myself again. I don't want to be pregnant alone again, or be uncertain as to the father's involvement. I never, ever ever want to see the inside of Family Court ever again (though I have to... SD is moving back and we have to re-arrange the visitation document--and NO SD is not a candidate).

I want it all... someone who loves me, someone who wants a baby as much as I do, someone who wants a family. Someone I LOVE... and who can love me in return.

But time is running out and my options are dwindling and maybe I have to choose... what a terrible choice to make.


Jen said…
Oh Jesi, I can SO relate to this... TOTALLY!!! Hugs to you.

PS Wish my "TF" would move to California and NEVER come back. Been a rough morning dealing with his psycho @$$ today.
Ros said…
I totally relate also. Seriously considered doing it by myself, but -- no, not at 45. Thank god I have hundreds of "my" kids through work.
Fatlady said…
I know I've said some of this to you already, but I don't mind repeating it. There's always hard choices to make when it comes to having kids. And there's never any time that's right or any guarantees that everything will turn out the way you think it should.

In my mind, if you know you will regret not having another child, then you should have one. Yes, there are things about your situation that are not ideal - but hell if everyone on the planet waited for an ideal situation to have kids, there'd probably be about 100 people on the planet right now. I mean think about the conditions that people raise children in around the world. That's how strong the pull to procreate is.

If you go ahead and have another kid, you will find a way to provide, to make it work. And you don't know what may happen in terms of a relationship.

Relationships are strange things. You can think you're in a good one, have a kid, and it can all go to hell. Vice versa, you can think you're in no kind of relationship, have a kid, and it all flourishes. Waiting for the perfect, lasting relationship to have another kid feels like putting your desire behind something which you just can't control.

As for the age thing. It's my understanding that the 40's is actually a rather fertile time for women - particularly women who've already had kids. It's where the whole "Cougar" thing comes from. That increased sex drive in the 40s is the reproductive system just goes all out in one last ditch effort before it's all over.

I've certainly known a lot of women who have been surprised by mid to late 40s pregnancies. And I even remember seeing something last year about a women in her mid 40's who was a surrogate mother. Her age wasn't a deterrent at all.

Also, at least from my experience, pregnancy in my 40s was a hell of a lot easier than pregnancy in my 30s. So much so, that I would love to be pregnant again - though I have absolutely no urge to raise one more child.

Lastly, yeah, men can father children later in life. But the reality is that their sperm gets a little warped with age. Women who get pregnant by men over 50 tend to have more miscarriages than women who get pregnant with younger men.

So make sure you find some good, young sperm! And go ahead and make a baby.

I know it seems like a hard choice, but to me it's really simple. If you will regret not having a baby, but will never regret having one (no matter what the circumstances) then your answer is easy. Why live with regrets if you don't have to.
professor said…
just get pregnant "accidentally" on purpose...we all stand behind you as will the father...trust me...don't think or analyze it...cause this is it and you don't want to live with regrets...
The Bear Maiden said…
Naw, I can't do the accident thing. I had an accident before... and it WASN'T on purpose and there was far more drama than I could handle. And it's ironic... but through the whole thing I've learned how very important fathers are, and how very much most men bond with and love their children... and I think it's unfair to put anyone in that situation on purpose. I can't do it.

So, I do want another baby.. and my clock is ticking but it hasn't run out quite yet. Time is tight but it just means I have to work a little harder...

and the bottom line is I have to have faith and hope that God sees fit to grant me the one thing I really, truly want...
Sista GP said…
Before I became a mother, dealing with kids was not high on my 'Luv to do list', but I knew that I wanted at least one child. During my pregnancy and more so after my son's birth, the "motherly instinct" kicked in, particularly in high gear.
Having had a child from his previous marriage and now a son, hubby had no desire to have any more kids, especially since our financial situation has not been settle since his birth six weeks before the 9-11 attacks. He can provide reasons/excuses 24/7 if necessary for not having any more children.
So last year I had to face the reality that I will not birth another child since he elected to "take care" of the preventive measure. Albeit I had to give consent as his wife, but really I had no other choice. It was his body and it was what he wanted to do.
I get through the moments of motherly urges with the hope that adoption/foster care is an option for us in the future.
Like him, it's your body and your choice of the life you will have for your existing family and any new members.

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