The Age Conundrum


It happens every year doesn’t it? With an imminent birthday comes an inventory of sorts. We can’t help but scrutinize ourselves for aging evidence and then compare and contrast the findings with our actual new age.  In my case, on June 12 I graduate to 44.

A part of me howls in protest, how can that be? I offer up the following as evidence to call 44 into doubt: I can still wear the size 6/8 clothes I wore when I was 34. My long dark hair — thanks to the wonders of coloring science — shows no sign of gray. I played tennis at altitude a few weeks ago and didn’t pay for it later with any notable aches or pains.  In other words, to look at me I’m in pretty damned fine shape.  Now were you to quiz my ovaries and uterus they’d tell a different story. They’ve been cycling non-stop now for 30 flipping years.

On the eve of 44, women who’ve never struggled with infertility logically are nostalgic for the days of their firm, wrinkle-free skin and toned bodies.  Me, I’m nostalgic for the days when I had a hundred or more cycles awaiting me. Even though I seem to have come equipped with less than perfect reproductive organs, their youth alone held promise. With each passing month there was the small likelihood (remote that it might be) of natural conception. While failed cycles brought me down I could also look ahead to the next one with hope.

See also  The Ultimate Mashup

My youthful outlook and demeanor aside, the calendar doesn’t lie. My once bright hope for pregnancy, like a flickering candle, is on the verge of being snuffed out entirely.  In this one area of my life I feel my age.

My challenge now is reconciling my reproductive reality while at the same time not letting it overshadow all of the good years ahead of me still …


17 Responses

  1. Matthew M F Miller

    June 11, 2007 7:45 pm

    You know, your perspective on this situation is so brave and entirely fearless, and I commend you for both. I just wish I could give you a hug – and then play you at tennis!

    Thinking of you, and happy, happy birthday.

  2. DD

    June 11, 2007 9:06 pm

    It is so true that to “feel” old is really so much worse than being old. It’s just a terrible biological joke that we cannot make our bodies believe what our mind does. As one creeping up on a “milestone” birthday myself, I wish they would make amends.

    I wish you the perfect sunny spring day for you on your Birthday tomorrow.

  3. Chrissy

    June 11, 2007 10:23 pm

    Happy birthday. I have also entered into that weird age where the parts that used to work are failing me. Not that I would hope for a pregnancy at this age but it still is odd knowing that it probably wouldn’t happen. It’s weird but I still think at times when AF fails to arrive…”I wonder….” I think having been an infertile for so long, that is just something that I will probably think subconsciously forever..weird. OHN

  4. JJ

    June 12, 2007 1:17 am

    Oooo I am singing Happy Birthday over here to you!!!
    Hope its a GREAT day! Ill be thinking of you!
    Thanks for your lovely note–got it today!=)

  5. Aurelia

    June 12, 2007 4:13 am

    The age thing is beginning to drive me crazy. My husband keeps saying stupid things like, “Celebrate your gray hairs!” and I keep looking at him like he has a hole in his head.

    Somewhere along the way the world got set up just for men, so they could succeed at careers and childrearing at the same time, and I’m feeling a little ticked about that staying unchanged these days…

  6. Aunt Sassy

    June 12, 2007 7:58 am

    Hey! It submitted before I was done…
    I am wishing you a year of happiness and peace.
    (p.s., I wish I could still play tennis without getting sore!)

  7. Carlynn

    June 12, 2007 1:37 pm

    Happy birthday, I hope this is a good year for you. Hope you have a year where your body shows you all the good things it can do, like playing tennis and hiking and swimming and enjoying stuff. Wishing you all the best.

  8. karenO

    June 12, 2007 2:42 pm

    Bob Dole said: “When it’s all over, it’s not who you were. It’s whether you made a difference.” You’re far from over, you are a very special person, and you’ve made a HUGE difference to so many people, me included! Thanks so much for the strength I got (still get!)from your blog, it has meant more to me than you would ever know. I hope your birthday is one that would make you think back to it with a smile in your heart, and that the year ahead would be one of the best ever. Happy Birthday Pamela! 🙂

  9. Foreverhopeful

    June 12, 2007 6:36 pm

    Just wanted to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you are enjoying your day and spoiling yourself today.. 🙂 Wishing you lots of happiness and peace.. 🙂 I too think they are many good years ahead for you.

  10. Bea

    June 12, 2007 10:41 pm

    Happy Birthday! Good lord, I hope I squeaked it in on time. And here’s to many, happier days ahead.


  11. Deathstar

    June 13, 2007 4:48 am

    Happy Birthday, Pamela Jeanne!

    Hope you had a great day! I know how you feel, girl, my 44th is in 7 days. Whaddya know, we’re both Geminis. I hurt my back a few weeks ago, and then I strained a muscle in my foot. All when I decided I need more exercise and tried to walk everywhere instead of driving. What a laugh!

  12. lady macleod

    June 13, 2007 6:16 pm

    oh my poor darling, I am so very sorry. I was just a bit younger than you are now when I had to have my uterus removed and even though I was so fortunate to have one child I wept because any chance of another was gone so finally.
    I think you are so right to look at all the good things in your life. Well done there.

  13. Lori

    June 19, 2007 3:54 am

    As your age peer, I SO identified with this post.

    So, from one hot chick to another, HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

    Let me know how you do with that reconciling thingy.

  14. Kami

    June 23, 2007 5:17 pm

    Well said! I always thought I would embrace my age no matter what, but since dealing with IF, every year just marks the shrinking possibility of having a child and I am dangerously close to the end. Thanks for sharing.

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