Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Am I Really Done With Children?

Being new to the forties club, I’m still unsure about what is supposed to happen at this age.  I thought it might have something to do with boldly owning everything about yourself in an “I-am-woman-hear-me-roar” sort of way. But now that I am here, a feeling of unease is quietly nagging at me.

Because I’m not used to being unsure about anything, trying to get down to the bottom of my angst was difficult. Was it career related? Was it relationship related? Was it related to my environment?

No. Nope. Nyet.

And that’s when I realized that rather than being in a state of flux, my life is uncharacteristically static now. I have two amazing daughters, a loving husband, a stable career, and multiple hobbies. I am happy with my well laid-out life. So why the sudden haze?

Well…the truth behind my uncertainty unfolded when a friend recently announced her pregnancy. It was the silent question I had been asking myself every time I saw an infant at the grocery store.

Am I really done with children?

My fortieth year of life has been pretty great…until this question started running amok in my brain.

I don’t mean to be all "my biological clock is ticking" here, but if my answer to the question is no, then time is not on my side. This statement is even more true for my husband, who is fourteen years my senior.

Yet, having a baby is something we have been seriously considering for quite a while.

Though age is something to ponder, it is so far down the list of risk factors for us that, when weighed against everything else, it will never come close to being the reason why we do not have a baby.

Despite the long, hard road we may face, it is always easier to focus on the positives of why having a baby could be the best decision we ever make. Hell, we’ve even picked out baby names already (Oliver Thomas for a boy and Joelle Leslie for a girl)!

But we also have some fears that are slowing our decision down.
  1. My health- Being a forty-year-old with Type 1 Diabetes automatically puts me at a higher risk. Even though I take really great care of myself, and I’ve already had two healthy regular sized babies, this is my husband’s only concern. And I get it. Being a widowed dad with an infant is not on his wish list.
  2. Hurdles for him- The hubs may be 14 years older than me, but he is more fit than I could ever dream of being. So, I’m not worried about him keeping up with a child. However, in order for us to become preggers, he’d have to go through an “unsnipping” surgery, which comes with the added bonus of discomfort, pain, a two week healing process, and statistics that give us only about a sixty percent chance of conceiving.
  3. Growing up-Over the years, my girls and I have given each other purpose. Though I firmly believe that my job as a parent is to let go of the self-sufficient children that I’ve raised, the reality is that in six short years, I will release my first born into the real world, followed by her sister two years later. It’s not as if I don’t have any other plans for my life when my girls go off to begin theirs, but for the first time in nine years, being a “mommy” (insert baby voice here), rather than just a “mom” (insert pre-teen voice here) is quite appealing.
  4. Paths –Choosing one of two completely different life paths with my husband confuses me. The path the hubs and I are on now leaves us without children between us, but a lifetime with each other. Once my girls are in college, and some of the restrictions that come along with having children in the house are lifted, we will have time to spend alone as a couple. It’s a life I would be thrilled to explore with him by my side. But on the baby path, we would spend the rest of our lives raising a child, with not much time left for much else. While this may seem like a gloomy existence and not nearly as freeing as the first path, I know having a child together would take us down a road I would be equally happy to travel with him.

So-here I am, a forty-year-old haunted by the uncertainties that I thought were reserved for my twenties. I worry that no matter what decision is made, it will be the wrong one. And I know that not making a choice is still making a choice. But I also know that an older version of myself would laugh, knowing that regardless of the decision, my journey will turn out to be just as it should.

*I know there will be those who will be concerned, and those who will be unsupportive of a decision in favor of a pregnancy. Which is why I would like to thank a few people who have been in my shoes and were honest enough to tell me like it is. To my two friends Gina S. and Missy N., thank you for giving me tangible advice that included the good, the bad and the ugly with regard to having children at a later age. And for my friend Allie, thank you for having that breakfast with me last summer. Though it was long ago, that encouraging conversation stayed with me and opened my mind to the idea of “just one more”. Thank you for showing me that even through inconceivable hurdles that may have to be faced, the heart wants what it wants, and it’s okay to go after it, regardless of the outcome.