Friday, September 24, 2010

friday forte: the halt

a trip to the PNE

Forty five is quite a momentous age for me. For one thing, it's come to mean the middle of life - a time when I'm potentially looking forward to an equal number of years that I have left behind me. It's actually become quite a comforting time. Ten years ago, which is midlife for the traditional three score years and ten, was much more angst-ridden. It was a new millenium, work was a drag, and I was no longer a 'bright young thing'. Ten years on - I'm comfortable in my skin.

Forty five has meant though, an end to my fertility. Or should I justify that as in the final decision to halt my fertility. The Wee Guy was a relatively late in life baby. I loved being pregnant (despite the hyperemesis gravidarum) and never thought of the implications of my age versus his. The mathematics began when he was born and we'd got over the first hurdles. How old would I be when he graduated High School? how old would I be when he would be old enough to not need me? will we hit menopause/puberty at the same time? how will we survive? and so on. Scary stuff. Stuff the feminist "career first, baby later" thinkers never talked about.

And what about a sibling? Maybe ten years ago a sibling would have been a natural progression, but ten years ago I couldn't even think about having one child. I already knew my biological clock was a slow and silent ticker. The urge to have a child never sounded loud and clear; science spoke to me, telling me my eggs were frying and that if I didn't make a move I wouldn't have a choice to make. Ambivalent or what? but it happened, the Wee Guy happened. (And for that I am truly thankful we tried.) But a sibling? A sibling would require a Conscious Decision to be made and I copped out. If it was going to happen it would either have to be an accident ( a bloody amazing accident) or my biological clock would have to tick louder. Forty five was my cut off point, mainly for health reasons. Beyond this and the mathematics was unfairly stacked against the poor child. Forty five has arrived and there is no sibling. There will be no sibling.

I don't feel sad though I am touched by the Wee Guy's occasional musings on having a little brother or sister around. As I said before, I don't have a strong biological urge to procreate and I certainly don't regret not producing a tribe. I'm glad I did take that step and I now know I would have regretted not trying. I'm so glad I didn't fall into the 'having a baby is a waste of education and career' mindset we were propelled out of the seventies with. I'm glad I didn't leave it too late.

What I do feel now is a certain amount of guilt that my own fertility has been such an easy personal choice. I have been able to say 'yes, baby' and 'no, baby' in a way that is denied to many women who would say' whatever it takes, baby'. I feel like I have casually decided to reproduce, and then decided to not reproduce. I have switched my fertility on and off . I feel extremely lucky that someone as undecided, with a take it or leave it attitude, has been given a child when there are women the world over who are desperate to become mothers biologically and yet cannot.

I feel I should apologise for stopping now.

I feel that I should apologise and say, 'it's not fair that it couldn't happen to you because you so wanted to have a child whereas I wasn't really that bothered until it actually happened'.

I'm so sorry it hasn't happened to you.

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