I remember being in the supermarket round about when I was 34 and the kids were 4 and 2. I could still fit both of them in the little sitting area of the grocery cart and I would soon learn that this containment is what contributed to grocery shopping being a small respite for a couple of glorious years from the everyday hectic schedule that was my life. I was a very new single parent and my life was consumed with child rearing and making a living so we could be at the grocery store.
A woman approached us in the produce aisle and commented on how cute the girls were. I must have made some comment about how they kept me busy and life was busy and I was always busy, busy, busy and oh yeah, tired. Her words to me were this: Just wait until you’re older and your body no longer produces eggs and you’ve dried up. You’ll wish that you could have this again so enjoy it now.
Okay crazy lady in the produce section, I thought, something of yours has dried up and it could well be your brain. I gave a hesitant smile and pushed past her to the mushrooms.
Yet, I’ve never forgotten the encounter or her words. Here I am ten years later (please don’t do the math) and those two sentences seem to have taken up shop in the recesses of my brain. I’ll be damned if at least once a day I don’t think about how I’m inching my way toward expiry, soon to cross-over into the reality of empty egg cartons and the void that surely must accompany that, at least for some amount of transition time.
I’m struggling. There, I said it. The crazy thing is I don’t think this is even about me wanting to create another child. Maybe the real crazy thing is that I’m apparently on the fence about
the completely insane and idiotic and unlikely idea of producing another offspring. Let’s put that aside for now. The biggest part of this whole thing is losing the option and in doing so, saying goodbye to a huge piece of what I associate with my femininity, my being a woman, some of what I perceive as making me valuable, dare I say, desirable.
I’m really hoping for the guys to ring in here and say “hey moron!!!”, women are not desirable to us because they can reproduce. They’re desirable because they’re soft and curvy and young. Rats. I guess I’m failing here on a couple of levels.
Enough about the guys though, I’m actually pretty interested in what other women are experiencing. I know several women who have had a kid or two or three and can say without a shadow of a doubt that they’re done. No how, no way are they having any more children. D-O-N-E. They’re glad they’re reproducing is over with even if they have ten or fifteen more years of fertility ahead of them. They say it loud and proud. I never quite understood the proclamation. That absolute certainty line has always been a wavy one for me. Having said that, I haven’t gone out of my way to have another child.
I also know women who have chosen not to have children or who have not had children due to circumstances. Does the clock tick as loudly and as ominously for them? Is post-fertility a welcome stage? I think every one of us struggles at one time or another with aging but as women is hard to ignore that a large part of what makes us biologically unique is taken away, like it or not. Bam. Here’s a hot flash instead, sucker! Wouldn’t it be more fair if at least at say age 50 penises rolled up like the wicked witch’s legs when the house landed on her? We aging women would at least have a nice pair of ruby slippers to look forward to.
Nope, I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. Aside from saving tons of money on sanitary products I’m not quite seeing the upside. Yet. I’ve heard other women speak about post-fertility as a wonderful, creative time – a new chapter in their life. Hmm. I’m just a wee bit skeptical, a wee bit freaked out, and a wee bit pissed off at the psychic from the grocery store.