How It Feels To Be In Your 40’s And Want To Have Children

sad and tired matured woman
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It’s something that, for some reason, women aren’t encouraged to talk about.

It’s something that some think connotes weakness.

…like a conservative, 1950’s housewife instead of a 21st century independent woman.

It’s something that certain people take to mean you are like a conservative, 1950’s housewife instead of a 21st century independent woman.

And it’s not even remotely controversial. Ready?

“I’m really sad that I may not get married and have my own biological children.”

You may think I’m exaggerating. But all you have to do is pay attention to the title of this first-person piece by Melanie Notkin called “My Secret Grief: Over 35, Single and Childless” to know that sharing this desire is not always a popular stance.

Not in a society in which admitting one’s desire for something traditional is often twisted into a retrograde, anti-feminist message, rather than what it is: a deep and aching need for many women.

“Grief over not being able to have children is acceptable for couples going through biological infertility. Grief over childlessness for a single woman in her thirties and forties is not as accepted. Instead, it’s assumed we just don’t understand that our fertility has a limited lifespan and we are simply being reckless with chance…Or, it’s assumed we’re not ‘trying hard enough,’ or we’re ‘being too picky.’ The latest trend is to assume we don’t really want children because we haven’t frozen our eggs, adopted or had a biological baby as a single woman.

This type of grief, grief that is not accepted or that is silent, is referred to as disenfranchised grief. It’s the grief you don’t feel allowed to mourn because your loss isn’t clear or understood. You didn’t lose a sibling or a spouse or a parent. But losses that others don’t recognize can be as powerful as the kind that is socially acceptable.”

Women like Ms. Notkin are my readers and clients – women who have everything going for them…except for the life they envisioned for themselves. Which, is why I’m so sympathetic to their desires and take great pride in helping women find love and start families – yes, even in their 40’s. Love U is filled with ’em.

I’ll give the author the last word:

“The grief over never becoming a mother is one I will never get over, like the grief over losing my own mother 23 years ago. But like that kind of grief, with time, it’s no longer constant or active. Yes, there’s still hope I’ll meet a man who has the desire to have a baby with me and will be prepared to be with me through the treatments I may need to make that happen. Or grieve with me should they not work. But mainly, I just keep going, looking for love. Thankfully, there’s no biological time limit on that dream.”

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    Jeremy

    Never said she shouldn’t use it. I said she shouldn’t believe or imply that she doesn’t have it. That it doesn’t exist. That it’s everyone else’s responsibility but not hers.

    If you know your song drives sailors insane, you can’t just sing indiscriminately. Gotta understand that even if you think you’re a regular girl, to a sailor you’re a siren.

    1. 21.1
      Emily, to

      Jeremy,
      “I said she shouldn’t believe or imply that she doesn’t have it.”
      Fair enough. I just get tired of hearing about all the power women have when the men are the ones who gave it to them. And sometimes a woman doesn’t want the power. Or the attention. She wants to be left alone.

      So my 70-something father watches the 30-something lady in his yard once a week as she bends over to clean up the dog poops. He told me other older men in the neighborhood are watching her, too. As a man, when I write that, what are your thoughts? In all seriousness. Now, as a woman, I wouldn’t say I’m offended, but I do wonder how I am expected to go so far as to respect him. It makes me feel like I’m dealing with a teen aged boy.

      1. 21.1.1
        Jeremy

        I’d suggest re-defining expectations and observing what happens to your respect. If I know that a woman will be moodier at certain times of the month, I just accept it. I might not love it, might find it somewhat difficult to live with, might expect women to manage their reactions to their moods as well as they can… But I don’t disrespect them for being moody. It’s not their fault. It’s their hormones and WIRING. They are women, that’s how they are.

        Men are going to look at women, especially young attractive ones. No matter that the men are old, that the women are young enough to be daughters – they aren’t their daughters. That’s how men are. Women can expect men not to be rude, not to leer, not to make offensive comments – that should lead to loss of respect. But if you’re going to lose respect for a man because he looks and appreciates, then your expectations of men and of respectability are off IMHO.

        1. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “Women can expect men not to be rude, not to leer, not to make offensive comments – that should lead to loss of respect. But if you’re going to lose respect for a man because he looks and appreciates, then your expectations of men and of respectability are off IMHO.”
          Ok. That’s fine. It’s just not a conversation I wanted to have with my FATHER. I’m not his buddy and we don’t have that kind of relationship. I don’t need to know who he’s gawking at. I borrowed his laptop (with his permission) and you can guess what I found on it. (Well, not really. Even I was surprised at the specificity of it.) I don’t really care, but it’s information I don’t need and don’t want. It’s like a boyfriend telling his girlfriend he thinks her friend is hot. That’s information to share with the bros. I’m assuming your wife doesn’t come home and tell you about all the hot guys she works with.

        2. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “Men are going to look at women, especially young attractive ones. ”
          I thought about that some more. So … your daughter comes home from college with an attractive friend. What if she staying for a few days? Does her presence in your house unnverve you? Does your wife notice? I’ve noticed the addition of an attractive woman at work changes the entire office dynamic, with both the men and the women. How distracting is this young woman to you?

  2. 22
    Henry

    Emily,

    So what do you propose to do?

    Create gender-based colleges and gender-based workplaces? I went to college in Europe, the vast majority of the students were women, and they were for the most part all 5’9” slim, and very pretty, and they would walk around in shorts shorts and mini-skirts and all that.

    Do you think the young men were in a perpetual state of sexual arousal? Were they equally distracted from their college work because every woman was beautiful, the place was filled with gorgeous women, and they were flirty, charming, and liked to show lots of skin?(and that’s not to talk about the family-oriented beaches in Europe that end up having Playboy-worthy gorgeous women walking around in g-strings and topless).

    What do you propose?

    Keep men away from women for as long as possible, until they are in their 30s or 40s, because a beautiful woman changes the dynamics of every place she’s at?

    A man is always going to notice an attractive woman no matter how many attractive women he’s seen or surrounded by, because the brain produces a chemical-high when in the presence of an attractive woman, and when the average woman around here(Ibiza, Spain) is pratically a victoria’s secret model..

    You just learn to deal with it and to go back to work lol.

  3. 23
    Emily, to

    Henry,
    “So what do you propose to do?”
    I’m not proposing anything. It was just some questions about how men experience things.
    “Do you think the young men were in a perpetual state of sexual arousal?”
    Idk. I’m not a man.
    “Keep men away from women for as long as possible, until they are in their 30s or 40s, because a beautiful woman changes the dynamics of every place she’s at?”
    Well, the whole point was that it changes the dynamic with all men, at any age. I know that when a hot guy started at my last place of employment, all the women noticed. And talked about it. And if we knew he would be walking by at a certain time, we’d be putting on our lipstick and fixing our hair and sitting there waiting for him like a spider.. But it was just something fun to do. No one took it remotely seriously.

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