I’ve always looked younger than I am. I’m very pale, I stay out of the sun, and frankly, my mother looks younger than she is. So it’s mostly genetics. However, genetics can be a double-edged sword. My mother, her sister, and her mother all went through menopause about ten years earlier than the average.
So here I am, married a little over two years, just turned thirty-four years old, and trying to have a baby. At a recent discussion with a doctor at my fertility clinic, I heard an unsettling word. That word is perimenopausal. According to my doctors, this period of waning fertility can last up to ten years before one actually starts going through actual menopause.
I’m not done yet. I still have lots more tests, and drugs to try. However, it also means my eggs supply is not bountiful even for my age. My window for pregnancy is closing. IVF may be an option, if my husband and I can get financing. Maybe we could take a vacation to Spain, or the Czech Republic for some medical tourism.
These are all just facts. What disturbs me are the feelings. I feel so much older now that I have heard the term perimenopausal. Just a few weeks ago I had a birthday, and being a few years younger than most of my friends I felt relatively young. I mean, these days thirty-something is not considered old. Some of the hottest movie stars are in their thirties. Of course, a lot of them have newborns or baby bumps too.
I feel like I’ve skipped a stage in life. I feel like I went from young to middle-aged in one swift leap. I feel like there should have been some time of feeling like an adult before I actually felt old. There is also the battle with regret that I didn’t start this earlier, and the feelings of bitterness when I learn yet another of my friends is expecting. After the first few days after that appointment, the mourning over lost possibilities has tapered off. Instead of thinking all day how my hopes will probably not work out, the grief hits me in brief waves triggered by something I see, hear, think or even touch.
I’m not down for the count yet. We have many options left to explore in our quest to increase our family. However, that quest will be a rough one. I can see where people might give up, but I am not in this alone. My husband and I are a team. I’ll just have to picture us as knights on steeds seeking our magical treasure. One way or another we will achieve it.