These days my world hangs in the balance of my cycle. Not my bicycle (as it once did); but my fertility cycle. When people ask me how I am, what I say is: Well, I started my period on Saturday, which has me on a 26 day cycle. So that’s exciting, yes?? I’m having a lovely full-blown period, complete with cramps and lots of bleeding, which means I’m fertile, right?? That’s not really what I say. Usually. But it’s what I want to say. Because, by some strange twist of fate, it’s all I’m thinking about these days. A twist of fate because a mere six weeks ago I had never used the words ‘fertility’ and ‘cycle’ in the same sentence. And I was primarily thinking about my dating life, not my period. That elusive right guy: the electromagnetic chemistry, romance, love, marriage and then a baby in the baby carriage. Instead I got a lot of texting, a string of forgettable dates and a glut of emails from shirtless men on motorcycles who thought I was purdy. Or hot, “for my age.”
Did I mention I am 40?
Here’s my story of deciding to have a baby on my own (in the form of an email I wrote to my besties):
So I’m thinking about having a baby on my own. I’ve been crying about it all night. Last night K brought it up. It was not a particularly handpicked moment, just an easy back porch hang with friends. I was on the deck with D, K and S enjoying a healthy throw-together dinner with kids in and out. K said she had a question for me. Would you ever have a baby on your own? My cap answer for this is usually no. Babies need fathers, etc, etc. But she went on to say that she and D had recently watched “The Switch” on Netflix and that she realizes life doesn’t always offer up our dream life on a silver platter and that if I did want to do it on my own that they would be supportive. I immediately started to cry. I asked if it was selfish. They all said no, it was natural and biological to want to have a child. They reminded me that I’m financially responsible and stable, I love kids, I’d be a good mom, and this doesn’t mean that I’m destined to be single. It just means I’m taking more control of my fertility and this very small window I still have left to have a child. I broke down and talked about how I’ve felt this past decade, with no watershed moments of which to speak. I started to think about how lackluster my spiritual life has become, how surreal everything seems, watching friend after friend get pregnant, get married, keep moving forward in life…
I came home last night and have been in and out of tears all night. I look up sperm donors. Then I break down, resisting the options in front of me. But something deeper than my lament is happening too … for the first time in forever I don’t feel totally powerless on this front. I’ve been dating ad nauseam this past year and I’m tired. And nothing is working in any dynamic sense. I got off Match.com a few weeks ago because I’m so weary of how trivial my personal life is starting to feel. I feel like my professional life is rooted in matters of the heart; my personal life is an endless stream of fancy restaurants and cocktail interviews. It’s exhausting. And it’s not me. It’s not the Northwestern girl that is rooted in nature and relationship; spiritual matters and real life living. And maybe if I take more ownership of my dreams and desires, true love will find its way to me. It’s not working with me being a vigil ante, constantly on the lookout for love. And it’s not realistic for me to ‘not care’ at this stage of the game, to let love find me because I’m ‘not looking for it.’ I am looking for it.
The tears are letting a dream die I guess, as another one begins to rise up. I don’t want to be alone in life. And I would be a good mom. Even more, I want to grow again; I want my roots to deepen and wisdom and grace to be guides again. I want to take risks and live out of the faith that comes with risk. Also, I think I could do it. I could make a decent living working 20 hours a week while hiring a nanny part-time; I could be a single mom and raise my own child. I don’t have a trajectory of day cares and schlepping; 10 hr work days, financial stresses and constant time crunches. I could do it in my way. I could make baby food and teach a little one about compassion and God and how to play soccer and love animals. I know I could. And my community is supportive. And filled with good men. Men that would help me, that are already fathers and know how it works.
As soon as I begin to think about all this in any hopeful sort of way the tears start to flow. It feels so scary and lonely to think about doing it on my own. And it’s not what I want. But I don’t want what I have either.
Anyway, I feel like last night might be a game-changer. I’m in the rabbit hole. I’ve been looking at sperm donors for the past hour. It’s extremely weird. It’s crazy how simple and relatively inexpensive it is to get sperm. Who knows if I can even get pregnant? So much to think about …
But this is what I am thinking about. Wanted to let you know. xx
And this is how my life changed in three days. I had dinner with friends, then cried all night, wrote an email, cried a few more days, talked lengthily to my inner circle, got the blessing from my parents and then – within 72 hours – got off the dating sites and started to stalk the sperm donor sites, instead.
Cut to yesterday: I woke up and read my new bible, Taking Charge of Your Fertility for a while, after taking my basil body temperature of course. Then I noticed, since my period started on Saturday, that I’m on a 26 day cycle. According to my iPhone app this means I’m going to try to ‘conceive’ on July 9th! But I’ll save that story for another blog entry.
It’s not sexy. But it’s still a love story, in a Modern Family sort-of way.