Friday, March 03, 2006

The Hourglass Always Runs Out

All around me I see signs of new life. It's one of those funny periods of time when babies are popping up everywhere. My new beautiful grrniece who's only a few days old, a friend at work who had her first ultrasound last week and got to see the heartbeat oh so fast, another work friend who is radiantly pregnant and yet another who is due at the beginning of May. My boyfriend's niece will turn one in less than two months. Her mother is pregnant again, this time with the first grandson in the family. I'm surrounded by creation at its finest shining moment, when you realize that life is continually moving forward, evolving and growing.

I'm thrilled to be going through my workmate's pregnancy with her. Like her, I'm fascinated by all the little changes as well as the big ones that a fetus goes through in it's quest to become a baby. I see the other work friends in the hallways and the breakroom and ask them how they're doing, commiserate on the not so pretty parts of pregnancy and smile over the intrinsically beautiful aspects of motherhood. I have spent the past week celebrating the arrival of a grrniece that I love even though I haven't seen her.

And I try not to be sad. I strive to think of everything I have in my life that is fulfilling and incredible and good. I ignore the thought that keeps hammering away inside my brain: It's probably too late. It's more than likely too late for me to be a mother. I'm turning thirty-nine this summer. My boyfriend may not be ready to be a father. I may have gone too far in being responsible and lost the opportunity. I have wanted to be a mother since I was nineteen years old. But my teens, much less my twenties and part of my thirties were not the stable years that most young women own. I wasn't fit to be a good mother until, well, until now. And now means that it feasibly won't happen.

I'm past my prime for childbearing. For a forty year old woman, you drop your chance of getting pregnant to 5% per month. I'm knocking on forty's door, so I'm guessing my chances right now are somewhere around 5-10% per month. And the chance for conceiving a child with chromosomal defects is close to 1 in 100 births. The outlook isn't good. Of course, there are women who have no difficulty conceiving and giving birth to a healthy baby at my age. You never know how the body's going to handle it.

I'm struggling with the thought that I may never be a mother. Sure, there are other options. I could adopt. I don't think I could become a foster mother because I wouldn't want to return the child when their expiration date was up and the CPS worker comes knocking at the door. But I always believed that one day I'd have my own little piece of heaven to nurture and teach about the wonders of this world. I was accountable and made certain I did not bring a child into this world when I wouldn't be able to be the very best mother I could be. It's ironic that now, after my sensible caution, I may never experience the bond between a mother and the child she has carried, nurtured and cherished. It's bittersweet that now when I have met the man that I would bring a baby into this world with, who would be the most loving and marvelous father possible, it may be that I have run out of the one thing I thought I still had...time.

So I am writing this post as a little free therapy, a bit of introspection to help me achieve some clarity and balance with the realization that I may not ever experience the joy of being a parent. I may not be able to hold a warm, soft, sweet baby in my arms and experience the rush of unconditional love. I may not whisper to a sleeping child how much I love him and believe in him and will show him every amazing inch of the world that I can. I may never sit a second grader down and tell her that yes, when she grows up she can be an archeologist even though last week she wanted to be an astronaut. I may not stand next to a crib watching my baby sleep, awestruck that he came from my body. I may never be able to watch a beautiful child at play and marvel that her father and I created such a passionate, imaginative being. That she's a little part of me and a little part of her father and yet totally her own self.

These aren't easy words, and it isn't my usual entertaining fluff. But I needed to put my emotions into words and at least become aware that the sand in my hourglass is rapidly sifting to the bottom. I need to recognize that my dream may remain only a wish. I may have to live with regret and allow myself time to grieve the loss of a family I never knew. In baring my soul I hope to ease my already aching heart just a fraction. But even with this knowledge I still embrace the one small hope that it isn't too late for us.


Frederick Reinhardt said...

You don't have to shoot a child out of your vagina to be a mother Kay. I lacked the responsibility of being a father until this very last year and now am the proud owner of two beautiful boys. It's the love and the nurturing that you give any child that makes you a great parent, auntie, friend...not the ability to match sperm to egg and incubate. Yeah, it's "not the same". But tell me that at 5 pm when I walk outside when Jed drives up with the boys and Adrian runs up to me with his arms wide open yelling "DADDY". I'm very much a father, parent, and friend...and I certainly ain't getting any younger either! :-)

Frederick Reinhardt said...

Oh, and besides...when you let someone else do the work, you don't have to worry about losing all the extra weight and getting yourself back into shape! It's a win/win with adoption!!!

Juliabohemian said...

You should really discuss these feelings with your boyfriend.

My Mother had my sister at 39 and my brother at 43.

Consider getting a puppy. It might fill that maternal void.

Kaya said...

To clarify matters, I do not believe that an adopted child would be any less a baby of my heart. It's my dream, though, to incorporate the pregnancy experience (if at all possible) into the process.

Also, my boyfriend knows how I feel on this issue. I wouldn't blog something so personal if he hadn't given me the green light to announce it to the cyber world of strangers along with my friends.

While I believe that animals may have a place in the family, they are no substitute for a real child.

Danny said...

Therapy is ALWAYS a good thing and even better when we do not have to pay for it. Your blog concerns me...sounds as if you have already given up....WHY? There is a reason that you chose to take "the leap of faith" and believe in a higher authority, God. With that leap of faith comes the do not know what Gods plans are for you. You are right, you may never be a mother. You have been blessed to be a mother figure to many children and adults for that matter. You would be a GREAT mother, because in your soul you already are. Maybe the plan is for you to have a child, maybe not to bear one. Reproduction doesn't make you a Mother, only your heart can do that. I love you :)!!

TwinKim said...

My son had a special blessing when he was born. Those first few months of his tiny boy life were amazing times when he was loved fiercely by both of us, mommy mommy and daytime mommy.

I know you have it in you to be a mother, you showed me that when you helped me grow my own son. I don't know what the path holds for you but I hope that it includes a time for you to try for that baby, regardless of what direction trying takes. Birth baby, found baby, adopted baby, it doesn't matter how.

I think that you have more time left than you think but I also think now is a good time to set some goals. You may still have some uncertainties but know this, no one is ever completely ready for a baby. So if you are waiting because you don't have enough in the bank or maybe you haven't grown up enough or there isn't a second bedroom or you used all your vacation time already, think again.

Children are a blessing, a true gift. They are also the hardest work you will ever do with the greatest of rewards.

Thank you for helping me take care of mine. Michael told me once a few years ago that he looks so much like daddy that the only thing he had from mommy was one dimple "and your heart beep, Mommy". This past week, he told me that he has my DNA. (Imagine, a first grader discussing DNA. Gotta love your gifted nephew!) What he doesn't understand yet is that it's not just my heart beat and DNA, it's mine and yours.

TwinKim said...

PS--Frederick, you have a great way with words! I didn't shoot Michael out of my vagina, either, and I'm glad Adrian didn't have to get shot out of you or Jed.

LOL. Thank the Lord for c-sections.

Juliabohemian said...

well then, if you don't mind me asking the obvious, why don't you give it a try? It isn't impossible. Many women over forty have successful and low-risk pregnancies/deliveries. Don't close the door on it yet.

I was just kidding about the dog, by the way.

Anonymous said...

that second to last paragraph almost made me cry, beautiful stuff, really.

and on a more crude note, it's only too late when menopause hits, so go for it.