Reflections

Unicorn Wishes (or What I Want for My 37th Birthday)

Tomorrow is my birthday. I have always loved my birthday. I generally celebrate with relish. Being the only summer baby in my family of seven, I considered summer to belong to me. But this year, in this red-hot summer, I feel a bit melancholy, a bit blue.

Tomorrow I will be 37 years old.

On a vacation recently, I ran into a woman I hadn’t seen since high school. She lamented how old we’d all gotten. She said it a couple times. I thought she looked lovely, maybe even lovelier than high school. She had her four (4!) beautiful blondey boys with her, from toddler up, each one endearing in his own way.

Age wasn’t what I was focused on. I was focused on her family, the life she had created.

I don’t mind aging, so much. Most days I can actually appreciate the new lines in my face, the roadmaps to my personal history, smiles and frowns, laughter and tears, all my years adding up to my face.

No, it isn’t the number so much. It is what that number symbolizes to me given my birthday wish.

I want to have a baby. Maybe more than one. Probably not more than three. But I want a baby. It is a desire unlike any other. My heart aches with it. My belly aches to be pregnant. My breasts ache to nurse a baby, my baby. I want a baby with my beloved.

I have severe endometriosis. I had one surgery for it 6 years ago. I was told at that point that I only had a small window left to have children. That supposed window shut over three years ago.

But 3 years ago I didn’t yet know who my person was, let alone have time to fall in love and marry him. 3 years ago, it wasn’t yet time for us.

In my work as an acupuncturist, I help women get pregnant sometimes. This is joyous and wonderful and on some days, really hard. Last week, I got to hold my super-smiley 2-month old nephew. It was joyous and wonderful and in some moments, really hard.

We term any pregnancy past the age of 35 to be a geriatric pregnancy. The information out there is peppered with statements like, “pregnancy chances are good, particularly before age 37.” And this is for women without gynecological complications.

And here I am, turning 37 and not pregnant. And not without complications. Yes, I have all sorts of resources, I have not yet given up hope. But some days it is harder to want it and not yet have it.

So as I’m blowing out my candles tomorrow, and making my Birthday Wish, I’m going to wish really hard. I’m going to wish as fervently as the little girl I overheard recently wishing for a Unicorn, and with just as much belief that it will come true.

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One thought on “Unicorn Wishes (or What I Want for My 37th Birthday)

  1. God I hate that term geriatric or Advanced maternal age, it’s completely outdated and they need to stop using it you know?

    I’m 42 and have had 6 infertility treatments and after the fourth round of donor egg IVF we finally are 8 weeks pregnant… and all I obsess on is, will this baby stay alive and inside me for the full nine months… it is definitely a weird thing to be friends with children especially mine whose children are almost all full grown… hell I had lunch with a friend the other day who’s just a few years older than me and has a grandchild! But when I think about it there’s no way I would have wanted to have a baby 20 years ago and so I have to be grateful that I had the opportunity to do IVF multiple times to get where we are today, and that my internal issue was a lack of eggs rather than any particular disease of the reproductive system. I’m so sorry you have to deal with that… it’s fucked up.

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