A mum… small word maybe, but a big thing.
When I was a child I always thought when I grew up I would meet a man, get married, have a house and have children. Standard child-like ideas. When I was a teenager, I still thought the same thing but by then boys fell into the categories of slightly irritating or out-of-my-league. I realised maybe it wasn’t going to be as straight forward as I thought. In my 20’s I started to have proper relationships and realised… wow, this is complicated isn’t it! Rapunzel might have had to loose her long locks of blond hair but overall, on the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t too hard to get her man. By 30, I knew that men came and went, men had their own issues and people made promises they didn’t always keep. While I liked being in a relationship, having a boyfriend, maybe it wasn’t meant to be for me. For others it seemed easier, I wasn’t good at chatting up guys, lacking in confidence if a guy was interested I’d immediately doubt his sincerity, the state of his mental health, or both. I’ve had my heart broken and it wasn’t nice, and I swore I wouldn’t let it happen again, but Cupid’s arrow flew from the bow, and what can you do.
But through all this, while it seemed I didn’t know much about how to hold onto my man, I still knew I wanted to be a mum. I knew I wanted to hold my own children in my arms, watch them grow and learn. I went through phases where it was really strong, that urge to procreate. Around the age of 30, a lot of my friends at home were married to their college sweethearts, others were in long term relationships and there was a point where over an 18 month period several good friends all tied the knot. I was genuinely happy for them, the jealousy/envy didn’t hit until they started having children. Then it was harder, then I started to really feel single. Now not only did I face the what seemed to be the daunting task of finding a partner, the dream of having children seemed to be moving further away.
I can’t describe what that feeling is like…. it’s something deep inside of you, it’s part of you. A friend I met recently was talking about her situation, she is having difficulties conceiving and it’s tough, it has put a lot of strain on her, and she’s trying to find a way to stay sane in the midst of it all. She felt bad saying it to me because she had no physical pain, whereas she knows I do, but “I’ve a pain in here” she said quietly with her hand on her heart. That simple statement nearly broke my heart because that’s exactly it, it’s a different kind of pain. I wanted to reach out in the middle of the cafe and just give her a hug. When wanting to be a mum is such a big part of you, not being able to achieve that is painful, and it is heartbreaking.
Fertility is a big issue nowadays with lots of couples having difficulties in some form or other. Endometriosis can affect your fertility and there seems to be no way to know in advance, many women with severe endometriosis go on to have perfectly healthy children, while other women suffer through miscarriages and failed IVF treatments. It’s a tough decision for any woman, for any couple, to go down that road of treatment. It takes its toll on your relationship, and your sanity, from what I can see.
In 2016, there are many women who have the freedom and the privilege to choose to remain child-free, and that’s their choice. There are many others who are child-free but not by choice, and people don’t have the right to ask which it is, unless you choose to share that information. The advantage that we do have in 2016 is that even as single women we can choose to become a mum, or at least embark on that journey, solo. I remember discussing children with a former partner, he said he had been single for so long that he hadn’t really thought about it because what was the point. It’s true, it’s not the same for men. At the end of the day, it is women who physically get pregnant and give birth, so if you have a burning desire to be a dad, being alone makes that very hard to fulfil.
Becoming a mum has been on my mind for sometime, I thought about doing it alone in my early 30’s but the reaction then from others was that I had plenty of time to meet someone. So I put it aside and waited to meet the right person. Now though I’m heading towards 40, so time isn’t on my side, but more importantly I have Endo in my corner and not in a good way. It may or may not affect my chances and I won’t know until I try. One of my ovaries is stuck to my uterus, and the doctor is more inclined to remove it than save it, so maybe I’ve only half the chances of getting pregnant. I don’t have someone in my life to try with so if I really want it I’ll have to go solo, but I’ve reached a point where I’m ok with that. You could say women have children into their 40’s and that’s true, but I don’t want to go on a date with someone and be thinking, could you be the father of my children? How soon is too soon to bring up that topic, and explain the possible complications you might have? There’s no perfect time to have children, there will always be a reason to wait, until you own your own house, until you’ve got that promotion, until you’ve considerable savings in the bank. I don’t tick any of those boxes but I know I’ll survive. Let’s face it, even in a couple the unexpected can happen, being made redundant, losing a house, losing a partner, but people cope. I’ve spoken to one mum in particular who decided to go solo, and I admire her bravery, she’d been through a lot before her decision, and she went through a lot more to get to where she wanted to be. If she’d known then what she knows now, would she still do it? Without hesitation, yes, she wouldn’t have her daughter today otherwise. Its not easy at times, but the good days most certainly outweigh the tough ones.
Recently I became an aunt for the first time, she’s the most gorgeous, most alert, most intelligent baby to ever be born :-), of course she is! She’s the first grandchild and we’re all besotted. I couldn’t wait to come home to meet her and even though I hated myself for it, there was a part of me that was envious. It’s amazing how fascinated and terrified you are of young babies. Nothing beats when they snuggle into you, and you could sit like that forever, and I imagine as a first-time parent there is nothing that terrifies you more when they cry endlessly and you can’t figure out what’s wrong.
So whether it happens or not, I know I need to try, to find out. I don’t want to wait for Prince Charming to arrive and put that pressure on him or on the relationship. Neither do I want to turn around in 5 years time and find it’s just too late. So I’ve made the appointment, booked the blood tests, and we’ll go from there. There’ll be people that will say I’m mad, others will provide endless reasons not to, but I’ve trusted my gut instinct for a lot of things up until now, and I’m going to trust it this time too.