Friday, January 23, 2015

Because I am too old, that is why....


Let me be honest, we aren't trying to get pregnant. We aren't going to have kids.  Have you read the statistics facing a 44 year old woman who tries to get pregnant?  Sometime after 35 it becomes difficult and by the time you hit 40 it is a real struggle.  I'm 44 and my husband (yes, it matters) is 47 so it would take a literal act of God. 

Coming to terms with me being childless has been the hardest thing I have ever done.  I do my internal self talk every day to remind myself to be happy with what I have.  After all, is it really that important that someone call me "Mommy"?  I sit here crying while I type because I guess somewhere inside, it is. 

Before I got married I felt like I was the last woman on earth and blogger without a husband.  Now I feel like I am the last woman on earth who hasn't been pregnant.  Who doesn't have a child of her own. 

People don't mean to say hurtful things. Sometimes they don't think.  Sometimes they are just clueless.  Do you know how many times I have heard the words "You can't understand because you don't have kids"?  Do you know how many times I have fought back tears when I hear things like that?  I hear them from friends, co-workers, family.  No, I don't know but I also don't need to be reminded that I don't know.   I do know some things most parents don't know thanks to my triplet nieces but I don't share that because coming from a childless woman, I have no pedigree. 

Then there are the well meaning friends who say "You should be glad you don't have any kids.  They are _____" fill in the blank with exhausting, time consuming, difficult, expensive,  a lot of work...whatever they think will make me feel better about being childless.  All my friends my age are looking forward to empty nests and travel.  Me? I would give my left lung to have a newborn and twenty two years of bills. 

Next there are the friends who tell me "you should be satisfied with the amazing step-daughter that God has put in your life, who loves you and who needs you."  They are right.  They are and I am.   Except that I will never have a chance to know her as a baby and see her grow or to understand the memories she has with her dad. They have a shorthand when they talk, that they developed over time and I feel so left out sometimes.  Maybe I alienate myself. I can't shake this feeling that being a step-mom is like being an aunt with a fancy title.  You have no real say and nobody really cares what you think.  I don't know.  I do know that I will never get to change her diaper or teach her to talk. (Mostly, to be honest, with an 11 year old you are trying to convince them to be quiet for a bit not encourage talking.) I will never get to feel a child grow inside me and get to experience all the joys of firsts and pregnancy: morning sickness, swelling feet, baby kicking, maternity cloths, labor pains, giving birth, holding my child in my arms, taking him or her home, sleepless nights, rocking them to sleep, and that moment where you get to watch them sleep and be in total awe that they are yours and God has granted you this amazing gift.  

There are also a few friends, good hearted souls, who tell me not to give up.  It can/will happen if God wants it to.  They even tell me stories of people who got pregnant in the all too famous "Whoops".   Yes, it does happen every once in a bazillion times.   Odds are not on my side.  Reality isn't either.  Reality is, I missed any chance I have of having my own child. Maybe I should have settled for a baby-daddy when I was younger? These thoughts could drive me insane, if I let them. I live in the real world whenever I can face it

There are all these blogs that I read where women are struggling trying to get pregnant and facing the disappointment every month.  I don't even have the disappointment to look forward to, just the inevitable knowledge that it will not ever be.  

Then there are the dreams.  The dreams that come every month right before my period hits.  The dreams of me holding my baby in my arms.  The dreams of a little girl with red curls and hazel eyes. The dreams of my step-daughter who would make an amazing big sister.  The dreams of my husband who is a silly man but a great dad and the ability to share that individual love and pride of a child, together.  To be able to watch him with a baby, something I didn't get to do.  To be able to share with him a son or daughter.  To give him the son he didn't have to take hunting and fishing.  To go to T-ball and cheer for my child.  These dreams of a child that haunts me and I wake up thinking, why am I torturing myself in my dreams?  The baby is always there, waiting but never real. 

When I was 5, after my father's death, I dreamt of him every night.  He would come to me in my dreams, wake me, and we would have wonderful adventures.  In the morning he would bring me back to my bed and kiss me before he left me to wake.  One night about a year after he passed, as he was tucking me back in to bed in the morning, he told me he needed to talk to me.  He said he couldn't come to me anymore.  He said this night was the last time I would ever dream of him.  I argued, I pleaded with him, I cried but he told me it was time for him to leave now.  That morning he went up through what my 5-6 year old mind processed as an elevator to heaven and when I woke I thought, he will come tonight.  He didn't mean it when he said he wouldn't, it was a dream.   He didn't come again.  Ever again.   

I almost look forward to the time when the actual dreams of having a baby and holding my child and rocking her and singing, off key, of course, go away.  I almost look forward to that moment when every last light of hope has died inside my heart so this hole in my heart can be taped or super glued or just plain back filled.   It isn't giving up, not really.  Not when you have no actual chance. 

I don't know why it won't just go away.  The feelings and desire to have a baby.  I don't know why I write about it.  Nobody cares. Maybe if I write about it, the feelings will go away?  Nothing is going to change my age and my old eggs but I guess this is the only place I can talk about it.  Everyone in my life just wants me to get over it and I try.  I try really hard to accept reality.  I try faking it. Fake it til you make it!   I try not to let my husband see my pain because he can't understand it. He never will understand the ache and the pain that is just there below the surface.  He has a child whom he adores with every beat of his heart.  I am happy and maybe just a bit jealous when I watch them together. I try not to be envious of girls who met their guy when it wasn't too late and who didn't have to try to get pregnant because it just happened.  I am happy for everyone who is pregnant and excited for them, don't get me wrong.  I try not read baby bump blog updates but when I do, I am always happy for the women who are experiencing all this joy.  

I would love to adopt. I don't need to have a baby, baby.  I think a two year old would be just about perfect.  I would love to be able to afford to adopt and then raise a child.  That isn't the reality I live with.  Adoption is expensive.   Adoption would cost about one third of my mortgage.   

Don't get me wrong, it isn't about pity.  I love my life, except for the child sized hole.  Sometimes I even think maybe me not being a mom is a good thing.  I won't have the chance to screw up or face the constant worry that comes with parenthood.  Sometimes I think I am too selfish to be a parent.  Sometimes I think...too much. 

                  Linking up with Texas Women Bloggers for Sweet Tea Social

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