I am fifty years old and my ovaries are on their last legs. They manage to muster up enough effort to squeeze out a tired old egg every couple of months or so, but to be honest, we’ve reached the bottom of the barrel. Very soon there will be none left.
I could be accused of having wasted every single one. You see, I’ve never been pregnant — not even close. Those rumours in my twenties that I’d had an abortion weren’t true (I told you so, Mum). Even though I was far from careful in those days, I managed to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
I’ve managed to avoid pregnancy entirely.
When I was first married at twenty-nine, the plan to have children was pinned to some date in the future. Thirty-five perhaps. But thirty-five, and then forty came and went and I still didn’t feel ready to have children.
My husband wasn’t keen either. “I hate the little shits,” he said.
I wouldn’t have been a good mother anyway. I was too selfish, too self-absorbed, too mean and too impatient. At least that’s what my husband told me. And as the years rolled on, I started to believe him.
In hindsight, I think I knew my husband wouldn’t be a very good father. Perhaps I realised on some level that I didn’t love him enough to become a parent with him. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I didn’t have to try to explain to my children why their father chose to end his own life, and be left worrying that they might fall prey to the same mental illness.
My boyfriend has three children who were six, ten and twelve when we first met. When they came to stay on the weekends, I discovered I might not have been a bad mother after all. They are older now and live in another country with their mother. I miss them. I wish I could see them more often.
I wish I could have had children with my boyfriend but it’s all too late. I like to imagine that in another life-time we had loads of children together and this time around we chose to just have each other.
I don’t have any nieces or nephews, but I do have thirteen high school kids I get to teach once a week. They are smart, funny, cheeky and exhausting. I love being part of their lives. I hope one day when they are older, they’ll remember being part of the school musical stage crew with Miss Paul.
I know there are women who desperately want children they can’t have and I feel for them. My own experience in no way diminishes their anguish. My own mother had several miscarriages before my parents adopted me. I can’t imagine that kind of pain.
So as my ovaries take their final bow, I have no regrets. Life doesn’t always end up the way you imagine it will. And that’s okay. Perhaps it’s more than okay.
This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge.
57 thoughts on “C is for Children • #atozchallenge”
I am curious – as an adopted child yourself, have you ever considered adoption yourself?
If I had wanted children, I would have considered adoption. In some ways, it seems only right to repay the blessing someone gave me.
What about at this time in your life? I get the impression from this blog that you’re sad about not having kids.
I’m way past adding children to my life at fifty. I can barely remember where I put the keys, let alone having to remember where I put a child!
One day, I’ll have grand-dad’s-girlfriend-babies and that will be awesome.
i could understand your thoughts and opinions.. i am yet to find my opinion in this respect… 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.
I wish you all the best in your this stage of journey and as you have expressed that you want to be remembered by ur 13 children as musical teacher–hope and pray that happens…
Thank you Aparna.
I loved having babies, yet that is not the only valid path. When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want babies, but age gives you a broader perspective, if you allow it.
There are lots of paths to choose from, not necessarily better or worse, just different.
Somehow i felt i understood what you meant…motherhood is way apart i agree..gives a dimension to your life…but all said and done my hats off to an independent soul looking for life way beyond what most of us do join bandwagons and become mothers and seeking answers of your own…p0
Thanks Anon 😀
May be you should get going than critically analysing the issue too much. I dont think its worth keeping thinking about so much. And even at 50, you do have a life. Enjoy it to the fullest.
Do drop into http://www.malavikka.blogspot.com
It’s worth taking the time to reflect.
I do love my life enormously.
“Life doesn’t always end up the way you imagine it will” – ain’t THAT the truth! Yikes.
Sometimes it’s worse than we imagine, but other times it is better. We can’t control our circumstances, all we can do is try to make the best of them. Lots of love to you ♥
Thank you – and yeah – that’s where I’m at, at the moment – trying to make the best of things. I think it’s working, give or take. Thank goodness. <3
I don’t regret not having children, although I have that small quiet sense of missing something important in life, but that may just be the ever present back-beat of my primal instinct to reproduce. Even at 50 it still reminds me that I’m failing at the Prime Directive. Your ovaries might be about to quit but my testes, though tired, are still quietly optimistic.
TBH though any sense of failure to procreate is more than compensated for by my relief at *not* inflicting the psychological and emotional damage on a child that my father inflicted on me, and no doubt his father inflicted on him. Even now after half a lifetime of finding and understanding myself I still don’t feel confident that I could be the father any child deserves.
Maybe if I get another 50 years I might have figured it out and finally be ready for parenting. Sadly I suspect by then my boys won’t capable of even making it to the starting blocks, let alone swimming anywhere. Finding a willing receptacle at that age might also be problematic. So unless we get more than one shot at this, the Universe will have to forgo the opportunity to experience Dave Jnr.
And that’s OK.
I love the idea of quietly optimistic testes … a phrase I never imagined typing. Thanks for the great comment x
Good Morning, Did you ever consider adoption? Great article ,Thanks for sharing..
Audrey dearest, did you miss the part where I’m fifty years old 😉
Also, I don’t actually want children now, what I would have liked is to have been with the right man when I was young and fertile. But it’s all an exercise in ‘what if’.
I was 33 when I married my husband and we got pregnant right away. Biological clock and all that. Mothering infants did not come naturally to me. I love my two (adult now) children and wouldn’t trade the motherhood and the love for anything, but sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder “what if I never had kids?”
I think we all indulge in imagining an alternative life, and sometimes think it would be better than the one we’ve got. But in the end, there is good and bad in everything.
Thank you for your insightful comment.
I’m in my late thirties and have not had children, I have always not felt the desire to have children, but who knows in life what will take place in me. I think if I ever did have the feeling I would adopt. I always perhaps saw myself with a lot of cats and dogs LOL but needless to say I do ponder if my feelings will change and it will be too late…
I always used to wonder if I’d wake up one day and regret my decision, but I don’t think you do. You just accept the choices you’ve made and carry on. There are loads of children in the world you can love without them being your own.
I never wanted children. I had a long term relationship with a man who was DYING for me to get pregnant and it never happened and I was always relieved because I KNEW he would have been a terrible father – he was a terrible boyfriend. Then I met my current husband, who had children from his first marriage (he was a widower). I’ve raised these boys since they were 6 and 8 and I love them as if I had them myself. I found out later I am unable to bear children – sometimes this makes me sad because my husband is a fabulous father and I would have loved to add to our family when I was younger – now that I’m pushing 50, I’m accepting where we are and our family is just perfect for me, as-is. It’s more than okay. You write beautifully!
Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s natural to want to pro-create with someone we love and respect, but sometimes that isn’t on the cards. Good on you for appreciating the blessing you have x
This is lovely, Katie..I don’t think my older son will have any kids…his dad is giving him grief over it..I told him that he has to do what is right for HIM…not for me or his dad or anyone else, especially when it comes to having kids.
Exactly Michelle. Bringing new humans into the world is a big responsibility — one that not everyone wants or needs.
I applaud you for sharing your story…very poignant, but sometimes our real life stories are just that.
Thank you Miss Crackerberries x
Katie, I’m glad you feel good about where you are at! I have many friends at work who’ve chosen not to have children, and their lives are full and adventurous. I would never change the course my life has taken, but sometimes I’m envious of them!
Marie at http://www.marie-everydaymiracle.blogspot.com
And I admit I’m a little envious of women like you who have had babies x
It’s such a touching tale and powerful:)
I like your frank style in speaking about your child-less ovaries. You’re right that there are women/men out there who are desperate for children and it’s good to see that this doesn’t put you off being open about your own feelings on the subject. We had a complicated pregnancy and traumatic birth experience and are now oh-so-fortunate to have our little girl. It’s everyone’s choice of course, until nature intervenes and our ovaries retire… #AtoZChallenge from Carol Cameleon at VirtuallyAllSorts.com @AllSortsHere
Thank you Carol. I admire the bravery of women like you who go through so much to have children. It must make your daughter so precious to you x
I came from a family of five kids…I am the only one of the five that went on to have kids of my own! For a variety of reasons they all chose not to father/mother kids. My own father committed suicide when I was 7…I can’t imagine having to explain that to a child.
Smidgen Snippets & Bits
I’m sorry you lost your dad that way, and when you were so young. Lots of love ♥
I’m 50-mumble and haven’t had those annoying periods for two years. I don’t miss them! I only had one child, who is now 28 and adult herself. One was all my husband and I ever wanted, though family and friends did their best to try to make us feel guilty for that decision. Especially as our one-and-only is a girl. And no, my husband never missed having a boy. I’m not likely to have grandchilden as our daughter is more interested in animals than in men. She has no patience with the male human animal. And that’s all right too.
“More interested in animals than in men” made me laugh. It sounds as though you brought her up to be a wonderful woman x
I think it’s awesome you’ve been able to accept and be content with where you’re at in life. In some small way I do think there will always be that “What if?” but the contentment keeps it from turning into regret or anger or even bitterness that it never happened.
I’m hoping to one day reach that level of contentment. While still in my childbearing years I am not quite there, but it’s better than it used to be thankfully.
Having children is such a complicated issue and there is no ‘right’ way to handle it. Wherever we end up all we can do is our best xx
I wish I had something witty or clever to add. I have had a child and want more. I find myself in a relationship that I certainly won’t add children to. The way you wrote about this is all so beautiful. Perhaps the lack of judgement? Grace is the word I’m looking for.
Thank you for your lovely compliment. I hope you find a partner who fills you with love and trust x
At 37 I have yet to get married or have children. Demographically, I’m considered Gen-X but I have squeezed myself into the millennials category and as many millennials have decided not to have children, still an unpopular choice. I am an excellent aunt to my cousins children (I’m an only child) and great with other people’s kids. I think I would have liked being a mom and I know I would make a cool step-mom. So we’ll see.
Love that you have ‘step-mum’ among your options. It’s a tough job but so important. In the end, of course, it’s simply all about love x
It’s great that you know your mind! I don’t see why anyone should have children simply out of some kind of obligation.
Being a parent sounds like way too much work if your heart’s not in it. I like that I know my own mind too 😉
This post was beautiful. I marinated in your simple acceptance and came away a bit wiser
Thank you Holly x
Kate- those students are Lucky to have you- Thank you for your reflective wisdom!
Thank you Sue x
This is one of the most touching A to Z posts I’ve read – and one that I can really relate to. I’m approaching 40 (at the end of the year) and although my husband and I tried for years to get pregnant, it never happened and we decided we didn’t want to go down other routes – probably because I am too selfish myself. I thought about adoption but my husband was too afraid of raising someone else’s child for fear he/she may have been abused, drugged in the womb / inherited parent’s mental illnesses, etc (we did visit the adoption agency and they did everything they could to put us off – it worked).
But we’re happy now and we do have nieces and nephews we get to see once or twice a year (we live Portugal – they all live in England). So it’s just the two of us and we get to enjoy way more holidays than our peers do!!
I’m definitely returning to your blog, Katie. I love it!
Suzy Turner: Author, Yogi Wannabe & Self-Help Geek.
There are definite benefits to being child free and loads of holidays are one of them. Thank you for your lovely compliments and welcome to my small square of the internet ♥
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
I think the fact that you were able to say that you wouldn’t have been the best Mom when you were younger is a wonderfully selfless thing. So many people have children and remain self centered, shitty parents.
We should all be as self aware. <3
Comments are closed.