The first in a series of Older Mum guest posts is by the wonderfully witty and thought provoking Flossing the Cat.
I can’t recommend her blog highly enough and I thoroughly look forward to reading her every week.
Once upon a time there was a young woman who didn’t want babies. She was too much of a fantasist, too selfish, too skint. But one day, when she was thirty-four, she woke up with a funny sound in her head. Tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock. The sound stayed with her the whole day, and the whole of the following day, and the whole of the day after that. If anything it got louder, much louder, eventually spreading to every part of her body. In her stomach it was like infrasound, making her feel sick. She could even feel it in her fingertips, when she touched things. She mentioned it to a friend, who said, “Sounds like the biological clock. You need a baby.”
Now that she had let the thought in, she knew it was true. In fact, it seemed like the only true thought she had ever had. Her writing fantasies were nothing. Her PR job was nothing. The idea of travel, and adventure, and parties, and success, was nothing, less than nothing. She now saw them as hateful pursuits that had diverted her from becoming a mother. She gave her copies of The Female Eunuch, The Dialectic of Sex, The Second Sex, and The Rights of Woman to a charity shop. She hated her other dreams. She hated herself.
For a year, every time her period came, it felt like dying. She would dream of flowers that had lost their petals, and bare white rooms, and deserted landscapes. In work one day, she was so stressed she couldn’t remember her telephone extension, or how to boot up the computer, or how to count money, so she went home. And she stayed home. Her relationship deteriorated, as did her sex life. Sex was all about ovulation, and basal body temperatures, and sticking her legs up, desperately, in the air. Her partner lost interest. She couldn’t blame him. For a while they split up, then got back together again.
When she hit 35, it got worse. Everywhere she tuned there were apocalyptic stories about the declining fertility of over-35 year-olds. Fertility halves by the time you’re 35, said one expert. She googled stuff late into the night, desperate to find stories about older mothers, women who had beaten the odds. When she finally became pregnant, a month or so after her 35th birthday, she was so shocked that she did the test four times. At the same time, she knew it was true. All along, she had known it was possible, even
probable, even likely.
She was an older woman. She was pregnant. She was great.
There was a child inside her body and she was great.