His CLANGING Biological Clock by Catrina Chatelain
The other day I opened my medicine cabinet door to find a most unexpected new occupant. It had been positioned front and center on the middle shelf, clearly with the purpose of commanding focus and standing out from the other various bottles, tubes, and jars that crowded the area. At first glance I scanned the writing on the bottle through one bleary eye, barely able to see through my morning haze, but a few seconds later once my brain was able to comprehend the words my eyes shot open wide and a little shiver of shock ran throughout my body as I once, twice, three times reread the label: Prenatal Vitamins. I was suddenly overwhelmed with an incredible wave of nausea that was not connected to the pills in the manner you’d expect. Let me explain.
Over the past year my husband has become increasingly insistent in his desire to have a third child. It all began during a romantic moment in celebration of our anniversary. Whispered pledges of eternal love came wrapped up in a declaration of “I want to have another one.”
Uuuhhh…another drink? Oh if only. I dismissed that most unexpected assertion as the champagne talking, and moved in to mute it with a kiss, and for me, that was the end of it. However, a couple of days later over coffee he quietly picked up the thread of the edited conversation, and again stated his want for another child.
I was a bit flabbergasted. There we sat, one year out from the birth of our second daughter, and I was just beginning to feel like myself again after an emergency c-section that had left me in varying degrees of pain for months, both physical and emotional. I could not fathom having that experience again, and his argument that the next time around was not guaranteed to follow suit failed to reassure me. My first pregnancy at the age of 29 was as about as close to perfection as possible, but the second one at age 38, big difference; HUGE. My body looked mostly the same during both pregnancies, but it definitely didn’t feel the same. I am proud of my body for twice championing over the challenge of pregnancy and labor, but the second time around left it feeling as if it had sustained profound and serious wear-and-tear, and I was in doubt of ever getting it back to where it was prior to the pregnancy. I am convinced that the damage done was the consequence of having a baby later in life, and I’m very afraid of doing it again. My pregnancy at 38 years old was the first time in my life that I’d physically felt the passing of time.
My husband was sympathetic to my concerns, and swore to do everything possible to ease the challenge of growing a baby for nine months (as he’d done in stellar form previously), but as we rehashed this conversation continuously over several months I still could not shake the nauseating fear of having another child as an older woman. And to top it all we were in no financial shape to responsibly consider another child, but it didn’t stop him from engaging in his own special version of “magical thinking.” He never once faltered from his agenda, so the appearance of the vitamins felt to me that he was in essence declaring said agenda as priority, and I felt pushed.
But after I stopped screaming about the vitamins and actually sat down and truly opened myself to what he had to say about it all I was able to clearly hear him: in fatherhood he had discovered a true life fulfillment, a part of his dharma, and while I feared what having another child would do to my ageing process, he feared, on a much deeper level what ageing would inevitably do to the possibility of us having another child. I got it. I really did.
This morning I opened the door to my medicine cabinet and peered through sleepy, half opened eyes at the source of so much angst just a few days previously. It was perched in its place of importance front and center, label faced out as if it were peering back at me in askance for some decisive move on my part. I reached in, popped the cap, and swallowed down the catalyst to my letting go of my fear and allowing The Universe a hand in the situation. We’ll see what happens.