If I Could Turn Back Time…

Forty sucks for me right now. I was looking forward to it; now I feel like a fool for having been excited. I am sad that I have not done all I wanted to at this point. I am trying not to focus on the negative, but right now I am not feeling very positive.

I joined Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) and now I am reading posts on the private online discussion Forum. I purposely signed up for this because I wanted to learn from women who are in similar situations to mine and who have been through the journey I am undertaking.

They have several awesome sub-forums you can participate in, including “Thinking/Planning”, “Community”, “Trying to Conceive”, “Pregnancy”,  and groups for women with children in different age groups. I guess I should have waited to read the Trying to Conceive forum, though, because I am hearing about women who have been through more procedures than I will ever be able to afford who haven’t yet had successful pregnancies. I am learning that this may be more complicated than I initially thought.

For years people have told me, “you have time”. What a lie! We don’t have time. Time, at some point, is no longer on our side when it comes to fertility. I am reading stories of single women who start trying to conceive in their early 30s. I should have started back then…I was just waiting for “the right man” and “the right time”. Gods, I want to go back and do this all again!

I had a major freak out/meltdown on Sunday night. I was a complete and utter mess. I SOBBED for a hour or more – venting about how terrible I felt. God/dess bless my friends and one of the women from SMC for helping me through it.

I know I am “pre-worrying” about something that I don’t even know will be a problem for me, but I am SCARED!!! I am scared that I “waited” too long. I am scared that I won’t get pregnant. I am scared I won’t be able to carry to term. I am scared of all possible complications. I am scared I will make the wrong choice of donors (I am SO going to have to order photos!). I am scared I won’t be able to afford additional procedures if I need them. I am scared that I will be single for the rest of my life.

I am trying to pull myself together and be proactive. Today I am calling to make an appointment with my primary care doctor to see about a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist. I am going to call my insurance to find what benefits (if any) I have in terms of fertility treatments/procedures, and do more research on cryobanks. I have GOT to get over being scared!

Tracie, 40, Thinker

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11 thoughts on “If I Could Turn Back Time…”

  1. Hi – so sorry you are going through this and hang in there! I was also 40 and panicked. Just take one concrete step @ a time and let go of the outcomes. I started the journey late in my 40 year and was able to have a baby at 41 (almost 42)using a speem donor & IUI. First two attempts failed, was signed up for IVF and miraculously the third attempt worked.

  2. I appreciate your post! I recently joined SMC and am going through the same thing and near 40. The men I meet now don’t want anymore kids. The ones that do seem to want someone younger. Its a tough spot to be! I think this site is a great way to become educated on finding the right avenue for you and your life. I hope that you can find some peace through this site and eliminate some of your current worries:)

  3. I’m a thinker, too and all I can say is you’re not alone. I hated every birthday from 35-45 because to me each was a reminder that another year had gone by and I wasn’t a mom yet…and often it was the reminder that I’d spent the better part of that year again unsuccessfully finding the partner that I could have those children with. Most people would not even comprehend that that was the case because from the outside I looked like a driven career woman with a large social network and someone who had lots of fun adventures. They were both true. I had a wonderful life AND a giant ache inside of me for children.

    Unlike you, it wasn’t until I was 45 that I finally decided to take matters into my own hands. To be perfectly honest, I’d looked into it around 38 but decided to double down and go back to the partner searching/traditional path. Two and half years later I am the mother to the most amazing little boy I’ve ever met. It wasn’t easy and I ended up using donor eggs but you’re going to get on the other side of this and the only feeling I have that is close to regret is the same as yours: I wish I’d started earlier so that I’d have more time with my son.

    Freak out, cry…this is a difficult and challenging process but that’s all part of it, too.

  4. I can totally relate. I turned 40 a few months ago. I was ambivalent about having kids and definitely wasn’t ready to have a child on my own. So i went to the doctor to see if I can freeze my eggs. Well, my AMH level is extremely low, so probability of having a good number of viable eggs is not very high. The doctor also said that women my age should be trying to conceive and not to freeze the eggs. I don’t have a partner and not much hope of finding one soon that would want to have kids quickly or even in general.
    So I am also going through a grieving/freaking out, thinking that I lost my opportunity and there is no hope for me. I also couldn’t afford a sperm donor and to go through multiple rounds of IVF which i would probably need. So I am totally lost and extremely sad.

    1. I feel for you. I’m 49 and want to become a single mom by choice. My story is somewhat unusual because I raised 4 children and have two ex-husbands. Because of parental alienation and cultural differences my children (two are grown, one is in his late teens and one is in middle school) became psychologically alienated from me and we have no contact.

      Nevertheless, I am determined to start another family. Ideally I want to have two children by donor eggs or embryos and IVF. I never reached menopause, but at my age my own genetic material is no longer viable.

      I have been a teacher for the past 20 years; before that I was a legal secretary and bookkeeper. I’ve never been wealthy, but I’ve always managed to pay my bills, keep the lights on and stay off government programs. I’m a low keyed person and usually tend to keep my business private. But this endeavor is an exception.

      I had children for virtually all my adult life, and I feel a real void in my present life because my children choose not to be in it and also not to give me access to my granddaughter. But as the Serenity Prayer says, it’s best to concentrate on changing those things that are in our control. So that’s what I will aim to do here.

  5. Tracie,

    I had the same thoughts and started later than you (41.5). When I cried after my initial failures to my father that I had waited too long he said “I know you are too smart to think you can turn back time.”

    And that was it. I couldn’t turn back time, but I could avoid magnifying the mistake of waiting until my ferility had declined, and thus I did not take “breaks” and did not dawdle after that. I stayed on it, and though I had a longer journey than I ever could have expected, I’m glad I kept going until I had my son.

    Looking back for me has value in telling other women not to wait so long, speaking from experience. I know younger married friends are being more deliberate about having their kids earlier than later, and a cousin froze her eggs, after watching me.

    In going forward in life, I am trying to keep in mind, that delay can cost me, and tackle other life issues this way. Career, setting up the college fund, what to teach Saajan early so it comes naturally, such as picking up other languages now while he’s a sponge and doesn’t have to actively learn them, a taste for fresh food, the habit of respect and gentleness, etc.

    But my dad’s words come back to me whenever I want to dwell on regret for the past.

    If you know you want this, go for it. 40 and 42 are very different, so go forward and trust that you will take the path that brings you your child as soon as it is possible.

  6. Hi there! Hang in there. I had my son at 40. – I am 45 now. I feel the panic and desire to have another child. I wonder if that would be a good idea financially and physically. I work from home and I have my mother living with me. She has been such a blessing in agreeing to be part of raising child. If I could have started earlier I would have nothing holding me back to have another. This one kid – through all the exhaustion is so totally worth the process. BEST decision in my life. I never found a partner to do this with so I made a family. My boy know his family is strong with a Mama and a Grandma. I wish I had more kids. I feel like it might not work again for me at 45. I have been considering adoption. I was on a adoption list before I got pregnant. There are so many children out there that need homes. Don’t give up. You will find what will work for you.

  7. Tracie, I’m sorry that you’re going through this tough time and experiencing such a range of worries. I know the SMC forum is a supportive place where you will find guidance and understanding. Fear and worry can be so paralysing. It’s fantastic that you are taking steps. Keep going. The only one of your worries that I can comment on is your concern about being single for the rest of your life. I am a SMC in my 30s and I share the same worry… but then I see many people, in a variety of circumstances, who meet someone later down the track. A SMC I know met someone when her child was four – this gave me a lot of hope that I will meet someone one day. Other SMCs I know are dating and some have no time and / or desire to date. It’s a cliche, but life is not black and white, and committing to the SMC path does not forever exclude you from finding a partner. Take care xx

  8. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. The beginning of trying is scary and overwhelming. I finally got pregnant at 40 after nearly two years of trying. The first 7 IUIs, I didn’t know that I had polyps in my uterus that prevented implantation. I had them removed, then had a failed IVF and finally got pregnant on a medicated IUI. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Assemble a team of people you trust and just move forward. I wish you a smooth journey and a happy ending.

  9. Thank you for your post. I really related to it and to your anguish that you didn’t start trying earlier. I definitely understand being scared, but it seems like reading the stories of others was maybe a catalyst for expressing your grief, self reflecting and taking action. Sending care and wishing good things for you.

  10. Oy. Some of my experience, if it helps: I have Aetna – not widely known for their comprehensive coverage – and a lot of my treatments/procedures were partially covered. Buying the samples from the cryobank will be a pretty big shell-out TBH, but was my largest single expense. As far as donors go, I first picked a cryobank to help narrow things down (cause good gods there are so many donors!!). I liked Seattle because most of their donors are willing to meet their offspring once they turn 18, if the offspring wishes. From there, yes, pictures were a factor… but the audio interviews were what gave me a really good idea of who I was selecting. I bounced things off my best friend, my mother.. we finally settled on someone I hadn’t expected to like, but whose outlook on the world I was happy for my child to have a part of. I am now 11 weeks pregnant with my first child. I can’t say I don’t share your fear of never meeting a partner, but so many people I know met the love of their life after they had kids, and many after 40. I can’t speak to the rest of your fears, especially not knowing your journey, but those were my experiences and I hope they bring some comfort.

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