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.