I always thought I would become a mother one day. It’s one of those ideas that I took for granted for many years. You know, the things you dream about and hope for, when you are young, without really thinking about them! and then, suddenly, you are not young anymore. Not old yet. In between.
Well… that’s where I am.. In between.. Thinking. But without ambivalence. I am 43 and I will not become a mother. I started my reflection two or three years before meeting my husband. I was in my late thirties and single. Seeing my sister struggling to get pregnant probably initiated parts of my reflection. And getting older…
Many women are having children after 40. Is this a good idea? Is this healthy? Not me to answer those questions. But it kept coming at me, why do we absolutely want to have children? Bar the fact that we are still holding this primitive instinct to reproduce, what drives us women, after 40, to have children?
I sensed it was an important question for me to answer. Precarious process of reflecting. Which could be called grieving as well.
The questions I had in my mind and my heart were around this need of becoming a mother, the joy of bringing up a child in the world..but it clearly led to some deeper thoughts. I was 37 or 38 and the clock was somehow reminding me that I still could become pregnant; making a baby alone was however out of the question.
It is somehow now culturally accepted and integrated that women can have children after 40. But at what cost? for the self and for the child?
Through this process, it became clear that I was not strong enough to rise a child. You know, this emotional strength, the patience, the dedication and the inner calm that is required when you are a parent. I assessed that it would be irresponsible for me to go on that path, that somehow I would not be fit enough to be a parent. Some would call selfishness or lack of courage. I call this being brave! I knew very deep in my heart that I couldn’t do it. Now, I am sure that many parents thought the same thing and still raised successfully their children! and they can be proud of themselves.
Let’s take this further.. What if this visceral need is about extending ourselves to another life, by fear of death. If I have children, I, somehow, exist further. I am more than just one. I, somehow, continue to exist, after my own death, through my child’s life. And if I do wrong, they might do better. It started to make sense in my mind.. But to find some peace in my heart, I had to tap into my spiritual values and beliefs, to feel comforted that I do exist, that I am full and complete the way I am. Childless woman!
Now I would be lying if I was telling you that I have no regret. I do. I still, at times, regret and wished that I had this wonderful opportunity to rise my child. I still feel this sadness about this child who I will never know. But I also know myself well. Bringing a child into this crazy world is a huge responsibility. And I didn’t think I would do a good job! Making a conscious choice, for the good reasons, seems responsible. And many parents I know are doing an amazing job in rising their children. Making children because it’s the way things work, because of a need, without thinking about it deeply, seems irresponsible and immature.
When I watched this beautiful and heartening video about the precious act of giving life, I felt comforted by the choice I made. This much I know.