Saturday, April 2, 2011

What took you so long?

No one has ever asked me why I am 35 and having fertility treatment yet I have been with my lovely N for 6 years. I have been interrogated in other ways. I have asked myself this question recently and found it useful to remember why it took me so long to the stage we are at.

I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted children, I always arrived at a 'yes' because I felt there would be more regrets not having a family than having one but I'm certain that both options involve huge sacrifices. I hit the snooze button on my biological clock at regular intervals during my 20's, along side some very unhealthy relationships, a lot of hard work and study and some healing with from very damaging experiences in my childhood. I was (still am) terrified about the incredible influence a parent can have on their child.

Having a child seemed to be such an overwhelming commitment and change in life style, I wished I could squeeze another decade between 20 and 30. All I ever heard were people complaining about motherhood. After a hard day at work, I would go out with friends and eat and drink and laugh and I pitied the women going home to their kids. They would occasionally make it to a leaving do or Xmas party but they looked older than their years and frumpy. They all seemed to have husbands who would end up in the pub with us while they were putting the kids to bed whilst wearing a quilted dressing gown. They were happy to take a dull job to 'fit round the kids'.

For the first few unproductive months I was relieved at times to be able to carry on drinking white wine, enjoy going out with friends and continue with my life as it was. A friend of mine, L, once went to visit a couple with a new born, L was newly married and her and her husband went for lunch and had to 'ooh and ahh' at the baby. The new Mum told L she hadn't been out for 10 months, she was too exhausted and had to walk with a cane as the sciatica that started during pregnancy had not gone away. L said the poor, new Mum looked horrendous and later, on the way home in the car, L burst into tears and said 'I can't do it...ever...I don't want their life'. Well of course babies aren't babies forever and L has since had enough positive examples of Motherhood to change her mind. As I have. I can see the bigger picture now.

Before even deciding to try for a baby I had more worries, there were all the potential problems at birth, disabilities, autism or a healthy child who starts school and suddenly has a headache and dies a week later from a brain tumour (usually with an unpronounceable name). I've watched people deal with all of these heart breaking situations in my career, as a Nurse and later as a Therapist. 'Don't have children, spare yourself the pain' said one parent. But most were so inspiring it helped me make my mind up and after lots of soul searching, I decided to prove Philip Larkin wrong, or try at least...

1 comment:

  1. Taking your time with the decision to have children shows that you have thought about it fully and you know its the right choice for you. Perhaps more people should think about it more.

    I agree with you about feeling like I would have more regrets if I didn't have children. I think that my infertility has really helped me clarify whether I want children or not. If I wasn't sure, I might have taken it as a sign that I shouldn't have them.

    I still go back and forth a little. Sometimes I picture the future without children and I know that things would be OK. But I also know that I would be in pain, and jealous of others who had kids.

    Btw, I love that Larkin poem - I showed it to my students the other day and they mostly agreed with it!