Updated: Sep 17
In just over 3 weeks I turn 35, and I’m a bit torn about my looming 35th Birthday.
Don’t get me wrong, I will celebrate my privileged 35 years of life and the freedoms that I’ve been afforded. I know that I’m one lucky lady (for lack of a better word) to live a footloose and fancy-free existence.
But, lately my truth is I’m feeling a little (actually a lot) unsettled about turning 35.
Because by 35 a woman's egg reserves and quality will continue to decline rapidly and when it comes to fertility 35 is considered geriatric.
I’m also faced with the knowledge that when I was 29 and about to start IVF my anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) was low - which is a test that measures your egg reserve. I have to keep reminding myself it is a test and not the one source of truth for my fertility. Although, it is good information to have on hand.
So, the years to follow 35 as a woman are dubbed ones “twilight years” when it comes to fertility.
Instead of being my usual grounded and clarity seeking self, who gets curious about one's insecurities and attempts to compassionately understand them in order to let go and move past them.
I’ve fallen into a dark hole this week of my creation. I’ve turned to red wine, dark chocolate and Botox! All of which I can rely on, unlike my ovaries who have been incredibly unreliable in the past and according to science are highly “likely” to not show up again in the future!
Gosh listen to me…where is the optimistic - glass half full woman gone...
This is me writing myself out of my dark hole. This is my attempt to counsel myself to a place of understanding and self-compassion.
You see when I was in IVF, after the multiple “failed” cycles and my marriage breakdown, I felt very much like a failure.
I remember feeling as though I had failed my ex-husband by not keeping the embryos we had created with the helping hand of science.
I remember feeling as though I had let my parents down because I hadn’t given them grandchildren.
I felt I had failed at doing the one thing a woman is biologically created to do.
I was under the impression that my sole purpose on this planet was to be a mum.
The narrative for my life was this: married at 27 to my first true love, having 2 children, residing in a seaside suburban town with a white picket fence where we’d live happily ever after.
What’s ironic is until probably about 2 days ago, I was still attached to that narrative. Even though in 5 years, that very narrative has transformed so massively and beautifully.
In the past 5 years, I have:
Turned 30 in Paris
Had 3 non-viable IVF cycles
Met my nephew Teddy and fell in love
Renewed wedding vows in Hawaii (hoping to heal the turmoil that infertility had on us and our marriage)
Separated from and divorced my first love and soulmate
Graduated from my first and last degree
Moved house 4 times
Witnessed my niece Millie enter the world and fell in love once more
Changed jobs a few times
Started in a career of my conscious and consider choosing
Recovered from Endo surgery
Nurtured new and old friendships
Been the best Aunty in the world (Teddy wants to marry me and Millie wakes on Sunday morning missing me)
Cried and laughed a lot
Failed miserably at dating (such foreign territory for me who was in a committed relationship from the age of 19)
Strengthened my relationship with my parents and loved ones
Learnt how to cook and fill my car up with petrol
Just last Sunday I ran a fricken half marathon
Built and continued to pursue my purpose in Together We Wait.
I’ve seen the magic of human beings connecting. And, this path whilst not one of me becoming a mum, is one of me creating a beautiful community. A community that plays a positive and empowering part in a woman’s journey to motherhood.
Reflecting on what I value as qualities in an individual: trust, courage and bravery.
I am proud that I encompass these values.
When I feel fear, I see it as a place to go towards (unless it's a situation that compromises my health or safety). I guess that’s why I walked at 9 months old, which is unfathomable considering just the other day I managed to run into a pole whilst walking. And, when my business coach gives me feedback she comments that “I’m always such a quick action taker”.
I’m brave and courageous to take action even when I’m not always “ready”. Sure, I’ve failed many times and walked into many poles and fallen down many countless times.
But, I now understand that time doesn’t give a shit about my plans. The very plans that I’ve carefully scripted and read out loud on a new moon in the hope that I manifest the words into my immediate reality (lol) - are not taken into consideration by time.
I’ve found time certainly does not wait for me to be “ready”. So, yes I am an action taker, I am brave and courageous. I do the hard stuff. I roll up my sleeves and put myself out there even when I’m not “ready”. Because I believe in myself 100%.
I won’t be attached anymore to a narrative of how my life should be. And, sure I would still deeply love to grow and nurture a child and to be a mother in the traditional sense. And, I think I would be a really good mum. But, that is ultimately not up to me.
I hold hope and faith and will remain to be open and curious about all my options for motherhood. I feel super lucky to have these options in front of me and will make the right choice for me, at the right time.
I’ve learnt very recently that I can long for something without being attached to the outcome or needing it to “full-fill” or “complete” me.
In turning back to my aim here, I’m now feeling more comfortable with turning 35 and can see the light and way out of my self-created hole.
I can see that in 5 years, I’ve created a life that I adore with a person that I now know well and have grown to love despite her “footy player” legs, clumsiness, terrible spatial awareness and even declining egg reserve and quality. I love her for her really kind heart, for being brave enough to believe and take action to make a positive change in the world.
In the wise words of my dear friend Sarah on a completely unrelated topic: I now can see my life is and will continue to be “scary magical” well beyond my 35th birthday and despite my declining egg reserve and quality.
Thanks for helping me unpack and process.