Why I’m giving the future me the best chance at motherhood.
By Sharon Paine
Recently, on meeting me for the first time, someone asked if I was working or studying. My eyes bulged as I informed them: “I am almost 40!”
I didn’t look it, they replied. Unfortunately, I couldn’t muster enough decorum not to blurt out, “Tell that to my ovaries”.
I honestly thought I’d be a mother by now. I was a stepmother for a few years, and had that relationship lasted, I think I would have been alright with only being a stepmom.
It’s a privilege to be part of a child’s life. I miss the inside jokes, all things I learnt from The Kid, the talks in the car to and from school. I even miss the mad scramble to find a discarded school belt after the holidays.
So, why would I like to be a parent? Is it enough to say that it’s a biological need? Is it something that I’ve always felt was expected of me? Is it because I think I’d be good at it? Is it because I want to play with a mini version of myself?
I just have a deep longing to raise a child. My life has taken a few twists and turns along the way, and not just romantically. If I’d had a child with any of my previous partners, I would have managed. It would have been the path my life had taken.
I can’t really afford to dwell on the “what ifs”. All I can focus on is the future.
A few months ago, I took the first step. I went to see a fertility doctor. I suppose I was hoping to be told that I had more eggs than the Easter Bunny. I don’t.
I put on a brave face as the doctor assured me it was just genetics. I couldn’t drink three cups of green tea a day and wish on a star to magically increase my egg stores.
I could probably fall pregnant, without any major medical intervention, in the next few years. That said, I’m not in a relationship, and quite frankly can’t imagine I’ll suddenly meet someone who I like enough to procreate with, in the next couple of years.
I don’t want to feel the pressure. I don’t want to rush into a decision.
I don’t feel I’m financially or emotionally ready to be a single parent, be it with the help of a sperm donor or through adoption.
Hats off to all the single parents out there. I just don’t know if I could do it.
I’ve decided to freeze my eggs. It’s an expensive exercise, and given my age, comes with no promises of a bountiful harvest. I’m petrified.
It feels like a huge decision, but I feel it is something that I need to do, even if I only come out of it with a handful of viable eggs. The process is daunting, but I have the support of friends and family.
The hope is that I won’t need to unfreeze these eggs, that if and when, I decide to try for a baby, my body will still be up to the task. My age and low egg stores are only one factor.
I also have the added element of being a heart patient on blood thinners. My cardiologist is very optimistic. Like so many things in life, it will be difficult, but not impossible.
I don’t know what the future holds. I’m not closed off to being a stepmom again, or even to adoption. For now, I just want to know that I’ve given my future self a better chance of becoming a biological mother.
- This article first appeared on the Change Exchange, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes. The opinions expressed in this piece are the writer’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BrightRock.