Well, I am plodding along through this extended cycle, faithfully taking my birth control pills and awaiting my go-ahead ultrasound at the end of the month.
Don’t think I am not ACUTELY aware that I am also getting ever closer to my fortieth birthday. I dread it like the plague. And it’s funny, I don’t dread forty because of my age; I still look and feel much younger, and anyway, I always looked forward to my forties. No, rather I dread the reaction of OTHERS to my forties. Because it’s socially unacceptable to be a pregnant woman, let alone a first-time mom, after the age of forty.
I sometimes think about packing it all in right now and just adopting. Because adopting is slightly more okay at my age than giving birth. People are much more forgiving if you bring home an adopted child when you are over forty. First off, they look at you with your different-coloured baby and they feel pity–“Oh poor woman, she just couldn’t have children of her own, so she adopted”–and so that gets you away with a little bit. They still make rude comments about the colour of your child’s skin, or “jokey” comments about how much (NOT! is of course implied) he or she looks like you, but you take things one step at a time because you have your child and that is all that matters. But also, there’s the whole charity angle, like you’ve gone and rescued the youth of some unfortunate nation, and oh, aren’t you just a giving person for doing that? Please. It has nothing to do with charity. What it DOES have to do with is holding a baby in your arms, knowing that they are YOUR child, having them call you “mom”, smelling their baby smell and all the other romantic notions of motherhood. It just so happens that your baby happened to be born somewhere else. You carried them in your heart, not in your body, but otherwise, they are yours. Charity schmarity.
But being a woman over forty and giving birth? Oh no. That is somehow WRONG. It is RUDE. It is SELFISH. It is WEIRD. God forbid you should be taken seriously like any younger first-time mom. God forbid doctors should give you and your very real fears and your questions and your problems the time of day because they think you MUST have done this a few times before. God forbid the younger parents of your child’s classmates would understand the love you have for your child, instead of making mean, hurtful comments to their child or, worse, within earshot of yours, that “Tommy has an OLD MOMMY” or “How DARE she bring a child into the world at HER age? She’s going to DIE before that poor child gets through high school.” Do I really want to put everyone through that?
Sure, if I were rich and a beautiful actress, then it would be perfectly fine. I would have money and nannies and good looks and all that to make sure my child is okay when I am old. Celebrity moms over forty are celebrated for their “baby joy”. Celebrity moms don’t really have an age, anyway, because once they were 25 or 30 in a movie that you loved, so they will always be young. God, how I wish I had that luxury. But I do not. I am a young-looking 39, soon to be 40, and I do not have nannies and a beautiful image of me on celluloid to comfort my child through my old age. I just have me.
So this extended cycle has given me much time to think about all these things. And the fact that it is longer than all the other cycles is like the ultimate torture, because I feel time rushing by me like a bullet train. I am powerless to stop time, as I would be to stop the train. I just have to stand firm against rushing wind, against the dirt and the garbage and the leaves it blows at me as it thunders by, and resolve to not let them get to me.