17 July 2009

better late than never

The typist I met last night is my age, and has two teenage daughters-- one about to graduate from high school.
And that really struck me. As if I am trying to get on a train that has already left the station.

I feel out of sync I guess, with my energy level, with societal expectations, with my ovaries...
I still feel very young, the wondrous Brene Brown of Ordinary Courage talks about age dismorphic disorder. Oh yeah. I have that. I got old without realizing it.

Facebook is not my friend. It shows me photos of people I went to school with who are now middle aged. And that must mean.....
NO, I refuse to believe it.

I did not grow up thinking I would have kids or be partnered or get married. To be clear: I did not think I would but I didn't think I wouldn't. It just was not something I thought about one way or the other. I was not someone with a life plan, someone with a clear idea of "when I grow up I'll..."

When I was married, the person I was married to did not want to have children ever. Abuse and alcoholism ran in his family through the men, and, in his thinking (perhaps quite correctly), he was just not going to pass that on.

Then there was a moment the spring of our last year when I thought I might be pregnant. Totally improbable in every way, nearly impossible but not quite. I barfed two nights in a row (and I am not a barfer)-- and I told him I thought I might be pregnant. He absolutely freaked out, flipped out, was thunderstruck and horrified and worried and angry and all things bad.

But me?
In the midst of that storm that would normally have flattened me,
I realized I was wonderstruck.

And while that pregnancy was not one or it was a very short one, I had brushed up against the wonder of possibility. I remember thinking-- what if I am? If I am, I cannot stay with this person who is so clearly wholeheartedly ferociously against it, but I WILL have this baby.

I was 36. It was 6 years ago this past April.

Folks who have known me a long time said they never thought I wanted to have kids-- and I think that is the rub, I did not Want or Not Want... I was open to either outcome by default by not having a plan or expectation one way or the other. My life has been so far from linear, so far from predictably anything, so-very-non-textbook.

But in that moment all those years ago now when I thought I might be pregnant-- that changed everything.

So, what took so long?
First, a long time of grief.

Then the slow act of healing and the slow dawning realization that the person I was then dating was never going to want to have kids with me and the heartbreaking choice of staying and not having that chance, or leaving and letting my life open to the possibility.

Then I decided to face this alone as a single mother by choice--I met with my RE to talk about insemination, met with the donor sperm coordinator, did all of the pre-work of psychologist and physicals... I did searches for sperm donors, imagined asking my friends....got completely overwhelmed and wished so much just for a random button, a sperm-esque gumball machine. How the hell do I choose such a thing??
and I summarily screeched to a halt.

Then, through some incredible luck I met my darlin'. As I dumped my baggage on the ground during our first date I told him what I was planning, that I was planning to try to do this on my own, that I was not out shopping for a donor-date, and he was kind and understanding and somehow still interested in me.
And somewhere in there I realized that he was amazing.
So I decided to give it a year. See how we were together. He is so clearly someone who compliments me. He will be such a great dad. So I went back on the pill (HAHAHA oh that makes me laugh now)
And so, a year later, we moved in together and I went off the pill and we started this ride.

Now some of you out there have led lives of certainty-- have known from your first moments that this is what you wanted and needed to feel complete.
I envy you that certainty.

But my life has not been like that. I have found myself here as unexpectedly as I would have found myself anywhere.

So here I am, nearly 42 and a half, trying to have a child with someone I love, and watching folks in my age bracket send their kids off to college.

Crazy? Maybe. And maybe nearly impossible.
But this is something I want. That part is certain. Better late than never.


onwardandsideways said...

My life wasn't like that either. I will admit to sometimes wishing now it was, but looking back, everything happened in due time. I'll spare you the details of my own path, but it's not a straight line for every woman. And that is okay.

What is important is how much you want this now. You are ready now. And I fully believe that when you are 100% clear about what you want, it tends to happen for you.

There are so many children born to mothers who are unsure, don't know what they are doing, are doing it for the wrong reasons... what a blessing to know that you are mother who is so ready for this, and for all the right reasons.

You'll get there.

Sprogblogger said...

Like you, this wasn't always what I knew I needed. It came to me gradually, as my brother married and had children, and I started to realize that this was something I needed in my own life. And my husband wanted nothing to do with the notion.

The Boy is older than me. His oldest daughter is 26. His youngest leaves for college in August. I know I would not have been a stellar parent at age 20, and I know that my sprog is going to have two parents who adore him and are ready for him and who will be older than many of his friends' parents.

I'm ok with all that. I figure I'm luckier than many people in that I've been able to live so many lives. I don't regret any (well, many) of them.

I'm thinking your child is going to be blessed with parents who love her and know their own hearts and strengths, and that is way more important than being "young" parents.

And I totally agree with you about Facebook. Ugh, I hate that site!!!

IVF 40+ said...

My dearest friends mom had him when she was 50. He is now 50 and trying to have kids. That's his norm. In NYC there are tons and tons of new mothers over 40 and 50.

As far as I am concerned, there is no 'norm' when it comes to making a family. I don't believe in statistical norms (which form the base of the assumptions we live by). They are misleading on so many levels.

I admire that you have the internal fortitude to survive and demand life. You are an inspiration and I am honored to ' know ' you.

K said...

Not crazy and not impossible. And I second the others' thoughts in what a remarkable parent your journey and wisdom will make you. Other kids should be so lucky. And other parents should be envious. As for FB...sigh. I have a love/hate relationship with it. It has offered me some secret social benefits as well as some work. But I get sad reading about all of my friends' kids, especially knowing that many of them were able to pop them out like farts and those same people probably scoff and my and Mr. W's DINKiness, because we must just be selfish. As if.

Michele said...

my life isnt what i thought either. but everything for a reason... our lives make us who we are... and these things will influence your motherhood and serve you well... i know it.

Demara said...

I'm not sure I would 'hope for' a child at age 42 let alone 38 for that matter. I would just feel like I was setting the child up for uncertainty, not knowing how long I'd live for and so forth, but I guess Our Creator knows what each of us can handle and so by design we 'could' produce an offspring THAT late in life. I just hope it's not me :) but you! Because heck you want it.

I'll be 30 next year and I hope to have our first before then. Ha!! ya right. So far its proving to be an uncontrollable task.

My husband will be 32 next year and well we ain't gettin any younger so you know how it goes. The clock ticks time flies, friends make it easy to pop those suckers out, and we walk on by holding hands, looking young-er-than-ever because it's just the two of us. No children have reshaped us, our bodies or our nerves, we are just the same as when we met. Plus or minus a few pounds, but regardless it is just the two of us. Laughing having sex where ever we want, when ever pretty much. Ha! Can't do that with kids, well not with kids staying sane I gather. lol

Anonymous said...

My husband is 51 and his friends' kids are graduating from college. I think that he is going to make an amazing father - scratch that - he is an amazing father to his son, my stepson. I think that age makes me better - and I think we will be better parents due to our age. Go for it girl and don't look back.

Nic said...

I dont think you are crazy. Everyone's life path is different. I have always been very focused, very driven, known what I want and when I want it, I went to vet school at 18, became a vet at 23! I am driven! Problem is, life does not always work like that. I have always wanted children, that doesnt mean that I will definetly have them.
I have to say, your man sounds amazing. How many men would have ran for the hills if you dumped all bagage on the first date! He sounds great. I am really hoping and wishing that this works for you Kate. Hang in there.
Nic x

Jenn said...

Sweet Kate,

You managed to put into words so eloquently the exact thoughts I have had so many times.

It is so very hard to look at people your age and not play the "comparison game". Especially in terms of the family building dept.

I know that when your child comes along Kate, no matter how old you are or where you are on your life journey, you will have SO much love to offer. That is the important thing!


What IF? said...

You and your path in life is unique and thank goodness for that. Many women never come to the certainty that they want a child in their lives, yet they go forth and procreate anyway. Your choices are much more thoughtful and your child will know that he/she is wanted in every way.

My dh is in his 50s, and we're certainly not creating our family at the same time as everyone else nor in a conventional way, but who cares. It feels right to us.

Elizabeth said...

Hey -- thinking of you today and hoping the IUI went well and that, you know, it works. With love,

Phoebe said...

I'm on the "better late than never" train too. We are the same age, though I am a few months older than you. I turn 43 in less than a month, but in my mind, I'm already 43! That is because I'll be doing IVF again when I'm 43. Keep following your dreams. Good luck with this IUI. I hope you'll follow me on my blog too!