It’s pretty much a universal human flaw that we don’t appreciate what we have. We always want more, and I’m no different.
This week, I turn 36 years old and it’s not a day I’m excited about.
I know what you’re thinking. Thirty-six isn’t that old, quit my whining, right?
And you’re right: I’ve got a great husband who loves me, despite my numerous flaws. I have a son that lights up my life every moment of every day. I have a loving, loyal dog, who — despite a freakish ability to escape every kennel we construct for him — I love dearly, and two cats that are practically my four-legged children.
But it’s just not enough.
Another month has passed, and we are still no closer to expanding our family. I worry so much about the statistics of “a woman my age.” It’s a phrase I have heard frequently in the doctor’s office (by three different doctors, in fact). Sure, most women after the age of 35 go on to have healthy, full-term pregnancies, but the risks go up after that magical age deadline. I can’t help but obsess over terms like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, Down syndrome and miscarriage.
Now, just to be clear, if my next child has health problems, I will love him or her with all my heart either way. But no parent would hope for that scenario. We are dedicated to creating a life for our children where they are better off than we ever were.
I’m trying to stay positive, but with each passing month that seems more and more difficult. I have one more month the natural way, then I go back onto fertility medication. Then there’s only three to four monthlong rounds of that before I graduate to more advanced procedures — if we choose to pursue them.
My body is rebounding from surgery quite well, and I’ve been struck by the notion that a woman’s body, at the end of her lifetime, has quite a story to tell. There are pregnancy stretch marks, a caesarian-section scar and now four incision marks — all within 8 inches of one another — on my torso. Each mark tells the story of the most significant moments of my life, and I hope as hard as I can that there are more marks to come.
It is so easy to get drawn into the self-pitying spiral, and there are days that I don’t win that fight, but I have to keep hoping. In our darkest hours, when life’s circumstances are beyond our control, isn’t hope all we have?
Yes, I yearn for more, because I have so much more love to give. In the meantime, I hope. I hope the wish for my future is granted; I hope to cherish my present as much as I can, and I hope to not dwell on the failures of my past.
— Sarah Leach is editor of The Holland Sentinel. Contact her at (616) 546-4278 or email@example.com.