Bloody months actually – I’m sorry. I never promised regular updates but even by my own — pretty low — standards, it’s been an abysmally long time since I last posted.
I’d love to tell you that there’s a good reason for that; that I’ve been swept up in some torrid love affair (although, given that I just checked the spelling of “torrid” and found that synonyms include “hot, sweltering, sultry, scorching, boiling, parching, sizzling, roasting, blazing, burning, blistering, tropical, stifling, suffocating, oppressive; dry, arid, barren, parched, waterless, desert”, I’m not sure I’d really want a love affair like that) or that I’d made some momentous decision in the interim, but no, life has been, well, life — with its dates, its births, its deaths, its work, its friendships, its casual distractions. As ever I swing from being sanguine and feeling on a level (about life, men, attempting to have a child on my own) and feeling daunted and miserable at the prospect of it all. I’m currently in the former phase, so long may that last.
However this whole “going it alone” thing has been preying on my mind. Not least because in the past few months I’ve spoken to two brilliant women who have done exactly that — one with loads of family support, the other with none. It was pretty clear that none of it’s a barrel of laughs all of the time (but then I think that goes for parenting, full stop, not just single parenting — and as one of them put it “Getting up in the middle of the night isn’t great, but it’s not nearly so bad as getting up in the middle of the night and resenting the fact that someone who should be sharing the responsibility is snoring next to you.”), but also that it’s totally doable. And as time has gone on, I’ve become less daunted by that side of things. I’m a capable person, I get shit done, that’s my personality. As I told one of these women, “I know that if I decide to do it, I’ll be fine.” (I then said “But if I decide not to, I’m not sure I will be” which probably tells me everything I need to know about this.)
But the side I still can’t get my head around is the idea that I have to resign myself to it being just me for a while yet. And yes I know, people don’t choose when they fall in love or meet people, and there is — undoubtedly — a possibility that while trying to conceive on my own/pregnant/breastfeeding, the man of my dreams will come into my life, but if we’re going with worst case scenario and that doesn’t happen, I have to have made my peace with that.
I also know that both of these women have told me that their love for their children (not to mention the practicalities of having a child) is so all-consuming that the thought of finding a partner has been relegated waaaaaay down the list, so far so that it’s not even a consideration. I might not be able to empathise with that, but I can see how that’s the case. Not least because if you have one night off, do you spend it with your mates, or on some potentially awkward date?
But that strikes me as really sad. Because — and I say this as an independent feminist who is awesome at being single (this latter attribute, out of necessity, admittedly) — I like being someone’s girlfriend, I’m good at being in relationships (clearly up until this point I’ve not been so good that I’ve been able to stay in one, but that’s another story) — I actively like having someone else to consider, someone to do stuff for, a default someone to do stuff with, someone to be there for, someone to learn stuff from. And vice versa, obviously.
So, while I haven’t made a momentous decision, as such, I suppose I have decided that rather than going to the clinic next year and saying “Right then, let’s try to get me pregnant”, I’m probably going to say “Right then, let’s do some tests, look at the numbers, and look at how they compare to the last set of numbers, and work out what my options are and what happens to the probability of me getting pregnant if we leave it six months to a year…” And I don’t know what I’d do with that six months to a year that I’m not doing now — maybe I’d meet someone, maybe I’d just get my head round the fact that I wasn’t going to. But then maybe, I won’t get the chance to find out, because maybe a decision will be made for me. Because if they say “Well, your numbers aren’t looking so good and if you want a fighting chance at this, you should probably start yesterday” then I will say “Crack on…”
Oh. It appears, in my absence, I have made some sort of momentous decision after all…