Work Life Balance

Anonymous Mom: I Wish I Had Accidentally Gotten Pregnant

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Although flabbergasted by the demise of my marriage, I was still in my 30s and thought that I had plenty of time and opportunities left to meet another man, marry and finally have children.

I spent the next several years in and out of relationships and continuing my career path, which became more demanding and carried more and more responsibility. In my mid-30s, I was diagnosed with complications from endometriosis and required a hysterectomy.

Suddenly, it was obvious to me that I would never have a child of my own. I struggled with it for a time, but gradually accepted the results. I refused to regret anything and thought that it was a sign that I would find other options in life that motherhood did not provide.

When I was 43, I began a relationship with a divorced man who had two children of his own. They were both young enough to impact my life as if I were their mother, demanding time, attention and childrearing skills which I had instinctively acquired somehow. They lived with us part of the time and I set limits and responsibilities for them as I would have for my own children. It was after they were both in their late teen years that I realized how lucky I was to have been able to experience this part-time role of motherhood since I would never acquire the full-time equivalent.

These two children are now happy adults with lives and families of their own. Even though their father and I never married and broke up many years ago, they both treat me as a step-mother and remain in my life.

I suppose my early anticipation of being a married woman and a mother was normal for me at the time. But even circumstances began to change in my life and impact my future, sometimes without my own control, I failed to reach a state of panic that would have forced me to find a way to have a child of my own. I could have frozen my eggs if the technology would have been available then at a reasonable cost. I could have adopted too, although, that never really appealed to me. But, I didn’t do anything to reach that state of motherhood other than wait for a mistake of timing and fate.

It never happened.

Now as I reach the “golden years” of my retirement, I see other people with children, grandchildren and extended families. I visit my elderly aunt in the nursing home and ponder how I will manage late in life when there are no children with families to come visit or comfort me as I near death.

Did I miss out on something by not paying attention to my life, body and future? I don’t know how to answer that some days.

Most days I accept the way things turned out and am glad to have had my step-children in my life who allowed me to fill the role of mother without having the long-term obligation and responsibility to them that perhaps a biological parent feels forever.

But, there are some days when I wish I could go back, take a different turn in the road, throw away the birth control, take the chance at motherhood, open my heart to a baby’s love and become the person I always thought I would have time to be.

Regrets are not good to have this late in life, so I try to just settle for acceptance.

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(photo: Calek / Shutterstock)

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