You know, no matter how good you eat or how well you live your life, sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you planned them. Girls are programmed from birth that regardless of whatever else they achieve in their lifetime, their biggest accomplishment is marriage and motherhood. When something gets in the way of that it can be devastating to a young woman’s psyche. I know because I’ve been there.
Working to my favor is the fact that the getting married and having babies bug never bit me. I had nothing against getting married, I just didn’t see it as my life’s goal and I thought big lavish weddings were silly. I announced at an early age, “Ma, I am going to elope one day and adopt children that nobody else wants.” And that’s exactly what happened. But as it turned out, I couldn’t have have had my own children naturally, even if I had wanted.
After I graduated high school my Mom took me to the doctor to have some things checked out that she found suspicious. After several appointments, tests, and surgery the verdict was in – No uterus. No kids. With every fiber of my being I did not care that I was not going to be having any babies. But I was devastated that I COULDN’T, if that makes sense. Because even though I had escaped society’s notion that I should want to have children, I still had value placed on the ABILITY to do so as part of her strength and worth. I felt different, and incomplete, and defective.
Even though I didn’t want to have a baby at all – my passion revolved around older children who were having difficulty getting placement because of their ages – I had nightmares for a month about being trapped in the loft of an abandoned barn. I could hear a baby crying but I couldn’t find my way to it. Because the rational, “sensible” side of me knew that I didn’t want to have kids, I decided I was fine, ignored the nightmares and depression, and declined any counseling. I didn’t realize I was suffering inside until much later when things started taking a toll. I am 42 now and I still suffer with negative self worth and my completeness as a woman and mother.
The practical, activist side of me gets upset with women who have trouble getting pregnant yet continue to pursue expensive alternative methods. I cannot figure out why a person would spend all that money and go up against egg donation risks or the drama of a surrogate when there are already countless children who need families and good mothers desperately. I criticized a lot when I was in my thirties. But along with reaching the top of the hill, forties does bring some kind of wisdom. And when I look at the toll not being able to have children has taken on me, someone who didn’t even want to have babies, I can only imagine the magnification of the impact on someone who spent their whole life dreaming of it. To them,egg donation risks are just part of the deal. When you want something bad enough you don’t see road blocks – only speed bumps.
Sometimes I look at my forties and cry, “Where is all the wisdom I was looking forward to? The exhales?! The inner peace and such?!” When I quiet down long enough I realize it’s there. It’s in the subtle changes of attitude and opinion that I didn’t even realize I had until the subject comes forward. It is in the ability to see the trees through the forest, and realize that nothing is final or over or the end of the world, until you’re dead. Everything else you can manage.
I do have a regret though. I wish I had come to all this understanding a little earlier because I just found out that the payment for donating eggs is about $6,000 but you have to be between the ages of 21 and 30 to participate. Dang it!