I just realised you probably thought that this post was a reference to the fact that, as I’ve mentioned a few times before, this whole trying-to-get-preg-on-my-own type thing wasn’t exactly Plan A. Or maybe to the fact that what I’m doing is, as I’ve mentioned before, not exactly the norm within my group of predominantly hetero, predominantly married-with-children friends. But it’s not (well, it kind of is, because everything I write on this blog is basically about the same thing.) No, this is something I wanted to write before I’m actually mired in the depths of the treatment. As a marker, maybe, as a reminder of why I’m doing this. So here goes…
When I split up with S, my catalyst for all this, I spent a year waiting for him, hoping he’d realise he’d made some terrible mistake and that we were meant to be together all along, that it was just a blip, a panic, a moment of madness. He didn’t. It wasn’t.
And (while I’ve not bored you with it all here), if I’m brutally honest with myself (which I wasn’t at the time) I’ve spent the last two years waiting for someone else to make up their mind about whether they wanted to be with me or not. That’s not something I’m proud of. Not least because, during those two years I did the emotional equivalent of repeatedly walking out in front of the same speeding lorry. It would hit me, I’d get up, patch myself up, then just when I was mended, I’d do the same thing all over again. Call it optimism, call it hope, or call it madness — because isn’t that what they say? “The definition of madness is doing the same thing again and expecting a different outcome”
(BTW I just looked up who “they” are who say this and apparently it might be Mark Twain, Einstein or Benjamin Franklin, but it’s probably NA and actually they say: “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”)
Anyway, to my shame, as someone who likes to think that they take charge of their own life, I’ve spent three of the last five years waiting for a man to decide what happens next in MY life. I can give you reasons for this, and (self) justifications, or I can just accept what my wise psychiatrist friend O said to me once, that these things are a process, that there are hoops that you have to make yourself jump through to get to the place where you need to be, that you can’t fast forward these things.
So maybe that’s what I needed to do to end up here. And here is where the insanity stops. Here is doing things differently. Here is stopping hanging around waiting for other people to decide what happens next. Here is not repeating the patterns of behaviour that haven’t made me happy in the past. Here is not spending time with people who make me feel shit about myself. Here is going with my gut and making choices that make me happy. Here is trying to get pregnant on my own. And, at this point, before I’m subsumed by drugs, hopes, expectations, disappointments and whatever else happens this year, here feels like a positive place to be. Here feels like — in the same way egg-freezing did — taking a proactive step.
Because whatever happens this year, I hope it will give me some form of resolution to something that, whether I like it or not, has overshadowed every single relationship, or possibility of a relationship I’ve had since S: The Kid Thing. And I know, I KNOW every woman in her mid-30s and above, who thinks she might want kids and is dating has been there. They’re the questions that hover in the back of your mind: “Is this going anywhere?” “Does he want children?” “Am I running out of time?” It’s like a shadow that’s always there, however much you try to shake it off.
God how I miss the simplicity of dating in your 20s when it’s just about whether you like each other enough to want to see each other again. If you’re single and want the possibility of children, your mid-30s robs you of that, however hard you rail against it, however much you wish it weren’t the case. And even though I thought freezing my eggs would give me breathing space — and to some extent it did — that shadow never goes away entirely. And it’s exhausting. And that’s why I’m doing something different. Because I figure that what I plan to do this year will, I hope, get rid of that shadow. Either I’ll end up dating having had to come to terms with the fact that I probably won’t have my own biological child. Or I end up dating as someone who already has a child.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think dating in your 40s is going to be a breeze — with or without a child. (And I don’t doubt that if you have a child, different questions will undoubtedly hover in the back of your mind: “Does he want to take on someone else’s child?” “Is he good enough to be a father to mine?” “Is he serious enough to introduce them?”) But whatever happens it will be a step forward, a decision made by me, not another year waiting for someone else to decide what happens in my life. And that has to be a good thing.