WARNING: This is another “woe is me” post–but before I drag you all down, I wanted to send out big thanks for all the support, and especially to those of you who’ve had similar experiences and are so willing to share your personal ups and downs with me. You are all amazing!
And I promise a happier post soon!
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Today is my 34th birthday. Which means I have one year. 365 days. Before my eggs are officially declared “old.” Before my chances of a successful IVF drop off a cliff. Before the possibility of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities skyrockets. I know they’re just statistics. Numbers based on averages. I know that one day one way or the other doesn’t make a difference for me. Probably.
Hubby turns 40 this year (40!). That’s the age his father was when Hubby was born. Except Hubby was his parents’ second (and last) child.
When I was growing up, my parents were always the “old” parents. My mother was 37 when I was born; 39 when my younger sister was born. Compared to my parents, my friends’ parents were young, cool, full of energy. Of course I know better now. One of the “coolest” of my friends’ parents seemed that way because she was only 15 years older than us. I had sisters who were older.
But I was often embarrassed by my parents. Hubby has confessed to the same feelings about his when he was a kid. Maybe it’s karma that we’re now going to be the old parents on the block. I know it’s different now. Lots of people wait until they’re our age to have babies (whether it’s by choice is another matter). Based on my experiences at work, though, I can assure you that plenty of girls still push babies out of their teenage vaginas.
I can’t exactly compare myself to my mother. She was 37 when I was born, but she was only 38 when her first grandchild was born. She was both the young, cool mom and the “old” mom at different points in her life. I never thought to ask her which was better. Of course, she also had built-in babysitters. My older siblings were teenagers when I was born. They learned how to change diapers real quick.
Hubby and I will be on our own, old and tired. I’m grateful to have a supportive partner, but can you guess how many diapers he’s changed in his almost-40 years? I know I’ll be teaching him as we go, as well as figuring things out for the first time myself.
In my head, my relative age varies with my mood and the situation. I feel old when I’m working with moms in their late teens/early 20’s; or with someone my age who has five kids; or when coworker after coworker who’s younger than me, been in a relationship less time than me and/or wasn’t planning it announces a pregnancy. Basically, just about anything work-related can make me feel old.
But it’s not even the feeling old that bothers me. It’s that I still feel so far away from our goal. If I think in 9-month increments (and, let’s face it, when don’t I do that?), I know that we’re going to have to hurry if I’m going to become a mother before my 35th birthday. That’s a deadline I never thought I’d hit. Even getting married at 28, I never thought I’d have to wait this long. But baby-making kept getting pushed back. Maybe I’ll be 32 when I have my first child. Thirty-two isn’t so bad. Okay, maybe 33. I can handle 34, if I have to. 35? Are you freaking kidding me?
Thinking about the future makes me feel ancient. There was a family I used to work with, and the mom had told me once she calculated that she’d be 35 when her youngest turned 18 and moved out of the house. I’ll be lucky if I’m 35 when my first child is born. That was one of those days I almost cried at work. Don’t get me wrong–I would never want to be in her shoes. But it was a just another not-so-subtle reminder that I didn’t need.
I dreaded my 30th birthday. At first, I thought it was because my mom always used to say she was “29” at every year (until my oldest sister turned 29–then it jumped to “39”). Even when she was in her 40’s, she never wanted to be 30. And back when she was 30, she had four kids already, with another one on the way.
Of course, actually being 30 wasn’t so bad, even though I wasn’t yet where I thought I’d be by that age. But 35 feels like another huge milestone–and not in a good way–creeping ever closer.
On the other hand, it’s the first birthday since we started treatments. By my next birthday, we should have something to show for it. But that’s not a guarantee.
Today is my birthday. It’s not the end of the world. I should enjoy it. But every birthday that goes by without a baby in my belly or my arms feels like a failure.