Looking back, it never seemed like it was a possibility for me to get married and have a family. It still feels like a bit of a foreign language. However, it is more of a common story to hear women in their late 30’s and 40’s say that they have never had that maternal clock ticking and would be content if the baby train never arrived.
But when I was preaching that song and dance in my twenties and thirties people would usually respond with, “You will change your mind”.
I can honestly say that marriage and children have never been a driving force on my very weak ‘to do’ list. I was busy working, having fun, being a free spirit while thriving in Manhattan, a city that thrives on people like me. ‘No regrets’ has been my only consistent motto and I have done well by it.
With that said, I have never felt a disconnect with my friends who have gotten married, had kids, moved to the suburbs. Nor do they look at me and wonder, “Oh why hasn’t that girl settled down and gotten the bigger picture”.
There has always been a mutual admiration amongst my peers for our choices and paths chosen. In fact, our different paths and challenges have thankfully been celebrated rather than judged.
It wasn’t just my internal, maternal clock that wasn’t in ticking form. The message was further solidified when a specialist told me I was probably unable to have kids due to a certain medical complication. I remember they brought in a nurse to help counsel me after breaking the news. However, all were surprised when I was just fine with that.
It also further concluded a deeper intuition I felt that becoming a parent can be done in many different ways. So, my reaction from being told I probably couldn’t ‘birth’ a child was not crazy disappointing. I knew that having an open heart is probably more important than having the correct sized uterus. In that moment I found comfort in how strong I felt and moved forward.
As time has passed, I have become more of a nurturing woman and a relationship-kinda-gal. Putting less value in non-invested moments and more into the nourishment of my loved ones. My last relationship of six years was a positive one that taught me a great deal about love, acceptance, tolerance and kindness. A gem in the rough he was, he became my balance. It was a wonderful thing to experience whilst losing a parent and having a major career change. Had it not been for him, my rock, the gracefulness in which I regained my momentum would not have existed. And even though it was not meant to be forever (a word that sounds and feels like a long ass time), it was the right thing at the right moment. And that is how I have seen life: in chapters.
When I met my current boyfriend, I think it was on our fourth date that the marriage and kid thing came up. He, being previously married, had no illusions on forever-freaking-after-fantasies. But when asked if I wanted marriage and kids, I probably answered the most honest I ever have. I told him, “I never met anyone I trusted enough to make that leap of faith with.”
That was finally the cold hard truth. It wasn’t that I never wanted kids, or that doctors said I probably couldn’t have kids, or even that I’d never heard the tick tock of the maternal clock. Though all of those things have been true in certain moments, the truth is, I just never felt confident enough in myself, my moment in life and my partners to take that jump.
I mean, let’s be honest, my love for my girlfriends, my dog and cabernet would surely outweigh the desire for a baby and marriage most days. But something in the honesty of my answer opened me up for new possibilities. And the feeling of possibilities is a wonderful thing. Possibilities are what my twenties and thirties in NYC were made of.
Going into my forties I have a little bit of a been-there-done-that attitude. But feeling this new potential, with a new love, with a new chapter, with a new set of tools in the toolkit feels like forward movement. And as much as I think I know myself, I have these wonderful moments of surprise. These are the moments I fearlessly take a leap of faith I never would have otherwise even considered. It’s a flashback to the feisty twenty-one year old that had little fear, but trusted her gut.
Now I am not saying I threw out my birth control and I’m shopping for rings. What I am saying is it’s a wonderful feeling to look back on all the different chapters of my life and see how the journey comes together like a bit of a puzzle. And when I look at a piece and it has the color and symmetry for that missing spot, but it just doesn’t fit, I can now know why.