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May 01

Aging Gracefully

I don’t think I want to.

I’ve got to think about birth control.  My baby is five, which means that birth control I’ve been using for the past five years needs to be addressed.

Thinking of that just reminds me that I actually haven’t had a physical in about ten years, maybe longer.  I don’t think I’ve been to see a doctor in the past five years.  Three years, maybe.  I’m healthy, I hear myself whispering.  I’m a healthy girl.  Other than the headaches – which I’ve been prone to since I was a teenager, I don’t get sick.

But I’m not a girl anymore.  I’m a woman, who may or may not even need birth control anymore.  I’m forty one.  My chances of getting pregnant diminish every month, and my eggs are probably crap at this point anyway.  Which raises the question of even if I did get pregnant, could I stay pregnant and would the baby be healthy?  And do I even want to get pregnant?  But do I want to use hormonal birth control?

I don’t want to be here, in this space.  I don’t want to be wondering if I should be avoiding hormones, so that I can go thru the process of menopause naturally.  I don’t want to wonder if my eggs would produce sick babies, or hurt babies, or even be able to make a baby.  I don’t want to get old.

I don’t want another baby, I’m almost certain of it.   I think about it sometimes, imagine Sammy with a little brother or picture Jessie babysitting for her infant sister.  Imagine bringing a baby into Julianna’s class, the way I brought Julie into Jessie’s the spring she was in first grade.  I look at tiny onesies and gorgeous baby carriers and smile enviously at pregnant women – but then I remember the itching.  The vomiting, the lack of sleep.  I think about preeclampsia and high blood pressure, and remember how much easier it is now – they all are potty trained, and can buckle themselves into the car.  Everyone sleeps thru the night, everyone will be in school in September.  Do I really want to start again?  The truth is that I could easily be convinced either way, and since there are good and compelling reasons not to (I’m OLD, we don’t have any extra space, yada yada..), I’m coming down on the side of not having another baby.  At least not now – and I say that knowing that the longer I postpone that decision, the less likely it is that I’ll be able to do it again.

I have two white hairs on my head.  They taunt me every morning.  I could start coloring my hair, and going thru menopause and getting old and creaky and cranky.  But I’d rather not.

I keep feeling as though something is ending.  I know it’s normal, a part of me does recognize that with Julianna going off to school this year, I am graduating to a whole new stage in my life.   A stage that I’ve been in for more than a decade, and one that I’ve loved.

Building my family – it’s been wonderful.  And I’m not LOSING my family – I’m just transitioning from building a family into raising one.  My job as mama isn’t over, I know that.  Julie is just barely five, I’ve got at least another thirteen years to go with her.  That’s longer than I’ve been a mother.  Jessie is just on the cusp of such a huge transition, from girl to woman, and Sam’s right in the middle of his childhood – I’m not DONE with parenting.

I think I need another ice cream cone.


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