Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The motherhood door slamming shut

I suppose every woman comes to a time when she realises that she isn't going to be a mother again. And probably every woman is sad at that time. No woman wants to let go of that part of herself. But for most woman the motherhood door eases shut slowly. Many women I know have two or three children and they know that, in reality, they won't have more. But they don't confront that fact, and they hold onto the baby clothes, and they continue to talk half-heartedly about having another child. And it's probably not until they reach the menopause that they'll really face up to the knowledge that motherhood is over. The problem for me is that the motherhood door has slammed shut suddenly. And also, unlike most women, I can't even comfort myself with the thought that, after all, I had my fair innings. Because I didn't. For me, motherhood was over before it had really got going. And now it's like I'm going through the menopause early. I've been trying to find some small upside in this and, on a good day, I can just about succeed. The upside is this: if you're in your mid fifties when you have to let go of motherhood then it's hard to start re-making your life at that time. I'm going to have to re-make my life now (aged 41) and I do still have time for that. I am still young enough to start a new life and I think I will find one to start. Except that just now I don't have the energy or confidence for it.


Tash said...

I think what makes it especially tough is that most women get to decide for themselves when they're done. "Three? That's it. I'm ready to call it quits." We didn't get a choice. Everything quit on us. And we didn't even get to decide how many before quitting. This was all totally out of our control. My infertility and Maddy's death were the wind slamming the door so hard the lock engaged. I'd love to be the one to slam it, and have that power. I feel like someone did it for me.

niobe said...

I think that in many cases, a woman makes a conscious decision not to have another child and may even look forward to leaving that part of her life behind.

It's so much more difficult to have the choice taken away. Yes, there are ways to see the small silver lining. But, however you look at it, the loss of the future you'd hoped for, is a very heavy burden.

Karin said...

Very much true for me too. At 45, slim chance. Periodically, I go through very deep grieving about this. It comes up randomly, kind of smacks me upside the head. I still find being around small babies very confronting.

I think it can be especially confronting when faced with people who believe that their perfect sized family exists because they did all the right things to get there. They credit themselves for their success and give no credence to the fact that we are not in control.

I think I am feeling sensitive to this because we recently learned of 3 new births. It can feel as though others don't even have a door to shut on their motherhood. So often I feel as though my nose has been pressed up against the glass. I've been working hard to not be tempted by the window.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Honey said...

Oh I wish I could give you a hug, sit and listen for a while over a latte perhaps. It's such a lonely experience that you have to do all by yourself and I'm so sorry. I hope this reinventing will be some distraction and that through it all you find time to enjoy and have fun for I see you as someone with a definate twinkle in your eye. Let's paint your car, and catch up. I wish I could do more than offer a shoulder but I really can't I'm available as a witness anytime you need.

Aurelia said...

I'm sorry hon, I know that door slamming can be really awful.