In one of the many Facebook groups I am a part of, someone posted they had been given the news they could not have any more babies. They asked the rest of us if we had similar stories and how we felt about it. I began to answer them on the post, but the more I wrote and thought about it, it felt like this would be better shared as an article rather than an answer in a secret, closed, private online group.
No one told me I couldn’t have any more babies; I just knew that I shouldn’t. I am now over 40 and I have a genetic syndrome that can be passed down to any future babies I may have. I have already passed it down to my two daughters. That genetic syndrome also increases my risk factors if I were to choose to carry a baby to term. Life threatening risk factors. To choose to attempt to carry a baby to term, at this point in my life, would be exceptionally selfish of me. If anything were to happen to me, I would be leaving my two daughters, and possibly a baby, without a mother.
Recently, I ended a long-term relationship I was in. We weren’t very good for each other, for many reasons, but one of the main reasons we chose to end the relationship was because I had gotten too old to safely attempt to carry a baby to term. We had talked about babies earlier in the relationship, and planned on having babies together. I wanted to have at least two more. He wanted to have at least one. We talked about marriage and babies, and I was under the impression he knew time was running out for us. I know everything happens for a reason and, looking back, it is best to avoid bringing a new baby into a less-than-perfect situation, but I was actually looking forward to being mommy to a newborn again. I was looking forward to watching my belly grow and my body change again.
My ex-husband, and father of my daughters, did not treat me as I would have liked to have been treated throughout either of my pregnancies. I was looking forward to having my ex-boyfriend watch me grow his babies for him. I wanted the photographs of his hands on my ripe belly. I wanted him to love me and treat me like a goddess, while growing his baby inside of me. I wanted to see the smile on his face when he felt his young kicking inside of me. I wanted to feel his hands on my belly, in awe of the miraculous ways a woman’s body can change.
When the relationship ended, I was immediately in mourning. I was mourning the relationship I had invested years of my life in. I was mourning the love we shared. I was mourning the stepfather I had picked for my two daughters. I was mourning the babies I will never have. In my mind, I had pictured happy and healthy pregnancies. I had imagined him loving me and running out in the middle of the night to get me bacon and pineapple. I had imagined the sense of pride he would feel as his child grew bigger and bigger inside me. I had imagined the moment our baby would be born, and how the whole world would stop as our hearts opened up to experience a whole new level of love. I had imagined my daughters fighting over who would get to hold the new baby. I had imagined long quiet nights of marathon nursing sessions. I had names picked out. I had wanted these babies and now they will never exist.
The truth is, I CAN have more babies. Only my ovaries know exactly how many eggs I have left, and only my uterus knows if it can handle another pregnancy or two without rupturing. When we sat down and discussed how badly we dropped the ball by not getting pregnant sooner, we realized if I had a baby next year, my younger daughter would be 9 and my older daughter would be 12. That’s a HUGE age difference between siblings. It would be like totally starting over! I was willing to have two more babies, but now the age difference between the siblings would be too great for me. We also realized if I were to have a baby next year, I would be 59 when that kid graduates high school!
We then thought about my ex-boyfriend’s own father and how he is the same age, 59. How his own daughter (my ex’s sister) has a genetic syndrome that carries significant developmental delays. His father is less than patient with this poor girl and, in his defense, is just burnt out. She needs constant supervision and is exceptionally challenging to care for. He was expecting a perfect baby girl. Instead he was presented with a challenge for the rest of his life. That very scenario did not look appealing to my ex or me. My exact words were, “I don’t want to be your dad!”
We had other issues, of course. We didn’t break up just because I became “too old” to have babies. But breaking up caused me to come to terms with the fact that I will not have any more babies. That time in my life is over. It has passed. In the blink of an eye, I went from planning future pregnancies to mourning the loss of babies I will never have. I wanted those babies. I loved those babies. Those babies were mine and I will miss them until the end of days. The babies that will never be.
Joia DaVida is a Jersey girl at heart, but after living in Southern Florida for over 20 years, packed up her two brilliant and beautiful daughters and road tripped across America to relocate in LA, California. Featured in the internationally acclaimed documentary Beautiful Births where she shared her birth stories, she hopes to transition into YouTube where she can share her DIY tips and tricks from up-cycling plastic bags into beautiful crocheted handbags to handmade jewelry, Joia hasn’t met a crafting project she couldn’t conquer.