There’s no denying that your body getting older is pretty pants. I’m not talking the difference between being 16 and stick thin to being 35 with crows feet but that middle stage in the twenties when you wake up one morning and suddenly realise crap, my hangovers are a thousand times worse than they used to be, I can’t stay up late without a pre lash nap and I’ve only got to so much as sniff a Macdonalds and gain a second chin. That phase.
Apart from a slightly worrying period between 16-18 I’ve never been overtly skinny or for that matter an overly health conscious eater. But I’d give my ever so slightly drooping right tit to be back where I was in 2008 eating and drinking twice as much as I do now holding up a size 8 and a size 10 thinking ooh I can just about get away with the smaller top but should I get the ten anyway and will the cashier judge me? Now I take every size up to and including a size 16 to the changing room and hope for the best…
But there are undeniably some perks about getting older. Yes I may wake up after four wines and feel like death BUT I understand my body better, what it can do and what it can’t. I don’t feel like a tit for not being able to do a completely straight handstand in cheerleading or push myself to get my leg by my head because you know what, i’d rather sit inside, bored shitless trying to get an answer on pointless than get my ass in a pair of ‘cheer on the reer’ shorts so I just don’t go. Instead of going out five nights a week if someone actually invites me to go ‘out-out’ I normally have at least a month’s notice do get myself some tummy holding in spanks select the most appropriate baggy outfit and hope for the best- plus you don’t have to lie back and pretend to like the man in your bed. If you don’t you a) just don’t let them in it or b) politely ask them to leave- now!
But there are some things which of course cannot be avoided as the body ages- the biological function and unnerving fact that according to medical science if you give birth at the age of 35 or older you are the clinical definition of ‘geriatric mother.’
This scares the be-jesus out of me. Because as I reach each milestone the age at wish I hope for a family increases by five years as my bank balance decreases by several more hundred. As a young person I always wanted children young, then as I went away and learnt more about the world it was 25, then I decided the ULTIMATE cut off was 28 hit 27 and think sod it, it’ll happen when I’m 30! Slowly pass 28 and think dear god no leave my insides be until I’m 35… because I am skint and the more I discover about myself and the world , the more I realise there is more that I want from it before I produce something living from my blueprint…
But recently I did three things that this time last year I would have shuddered at the thought of. I prepared a last minute picnic for a family of three to take to a Beavers badge presentation (it may have been from the chippy and it may have turned out to be the wrong date but the thought was there none the less) I entered god knows how many competitions to try and win a wedding dress and I mourned for a baby that though unplanned and unexpected I discovered I really wanted.
My womb is no stranger to the odd accident, scare or impromptu party and a chemical reaction like this would previously end in a big sigh of relief and a large pinot. But this time it was different. No I’m not saying for one minute that an extra small creature in our life right now would be ideal. Despite being skint and somehow having to keep two adults with budgeting issues, a part time six year old a full time ginger fleabag alive I still cling on to the hope that one day I’ll be writing shows for the BBC, appearing on panel shows and shopping in Waitrose again and that takes time. But then my body goes tick-tick tock and I panic. We’re in a world that now encourages women to follow their careers, chase their dreams and do it all in a pair of peep toe heels but the reality of the situation is that you can’t find the body clock so there we find ourselves in catch 22.
I’d only met my boyfriend for a month before we’d both decided we wanted children together, not right that moment but some day for sure. Which is a rarity for both parties. I mean we’ve all being guilty of being a bit on the PMT side, seeing a fit bloke walk into a bar or walk their labrador in the park and think F ME – I WANT YOUR BABIES, MOUNT ME NOW! But for it to work both ways, stone cold sober if a bit of a rarity. It’s like some kind of gross yet unexplainable flash of lighting between two sets of cells and a functioning womb. So though completely the wrong thing to happen, when it did I didn’t have ground swallow me now, let me die slowly an turn the clock back a month or more moment.
I got over it. I spoke to a friend and it didn’t feel shameful. I’m not saying I wasn’t scared but I actually felt semi alright like I could actually manage a Christmas and New Year without inhaling half the Tesco prosecco isle. But as luck would have it it turned out my bank balance was going to be okay to stay at the bottom end of survivable and I was going to have to find another use for a impulse but Cath Kidston bottle warmer and stuffed elephant. And the realisation that instead of finding time for antenatal classes I now need to clear my busy schedule to go for tests for endometriosis and other womb related investigations to find a conclusion in a decade’s worth of lady part related ailments.
And it’s more common than you think.
So many women in their mid to late twenties suffer miscarriages and because the time isn’t right count their blessings and think it’s okay, move on when the time is right it will happen. Now that is a very healthy and logical approach for the mind but I’m discovering more and more how much a healthy body can be taken for granted and how as embarrassing as it is to have a stranger shove something clinical up your foof it very well could save your bacon. And no worse an experience than you’d put yourself through on tinder.
It’s a tough age where you want everything and nothing all at the same time and loss feels greater because you’re scared it could never happen again and if it does the same will happen. You tell yourself that you could be content like this forever then think could you ever be content experiencing the enjoyment of children but without them being your own and you decide that perhaps you can’t and then hate yourself for it…and part of you wants to go back to the time when the only thing that would make you shed that level of tears was dropping your Dominoes mighty meaty pizza, face side down on the unwashed kitchen floor.
I try to make myself take the rule of thought of it’s just a bunch of cells… but when you do deep down want something, without realising it takes a life form and you feel the need to grieve. But it’s a life form that can be channeled into something else… wake up call, thankfulness the push you needed to write- becuase as it turns out a Cath Kidston spotted bottle warmer also doubles as a highly stylish pencil case!
So for all the women that silently mourn a baby they weren’t quite ready for- no matter the outcome or choice of actions It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to think what if and there’s no need to be ashamed.