I’ve just hit 40 and it has taken me through an unexpected whirlwind of emotions. The biggest is my biological clock…… the tick, tick ticking.
You see, it’s not uncommon for women to have children later in life now, after a career, and getting to where they want to go, they has been a huge surge in mothers having children past the age of 37, or ‘geriatric pregnancies’ as they are known!
But add to that a chronic illness that is debilitating when it kicks in makes it all the more harder when you consider starting a family.
You see, I feel so tired all the time. This is nothing new. I’ve been suffering from chronic fatigue now and similar symptoms from the age of 19 and a lot of my symptoms would worsen around my cycle. Cold sores, exhaustion, brain fog.
I was only 19 and I still couldn’t burn the candles at both ends, and when I did, I would end up taking more and more days of work just to recover, not from a hangover, but a debilitating exhaustion that made just getting dressed a mission.
So here I am at 40, and my body feels so old and tired, I wonder how I will ever make it to 70 some days.
I was diagnosed as having vestibular migraines at 35 and it literally was nearly the end of me, a few times and counting. 24/7 dizziness, bedridden, learning to walk again which took 2 years in total as a mere 20-minute stroll would send my dizziness and exhaustion through the roof.
Vestibular disorders are also closely associated with anxiety and depression too. Not only can your body not function properly, but neither can your mind, your speech, your vision, everything is out of whack.
So after my last 5-year relationship broke down, mainly due to my illness and my partner becoming a carer rather than a partner, the fear is real when I started my new relationship.
I say new but I am 3 years and counting and my biological clock is running out. Yes, I am open to having children, and have been for the last 5 years bit I was always too sick to consider it.
The likelihood of you relapsing, being bedridden for months again, so dizzy you cannot hold your child to feed them let alone see them properly, and then you have to account for the pregnancy. Where the third trimester can floor most women with fatigue, you naturally question how the hell will YOU be able to cope with chronic fatigue, 24/7 dizziness and vertigo attacks?
That’s the thing with chronic illnesses.
They are ALWAYS lurking, and you never know when you are going to take that hit that will send you back to square one.
And the questions you have, my partner never experienced how debilitating my symptoms were, do I need ANOTHER carer in my life? Will he stay? How will he cope? How would he handle being a single dad, literally as I could not function and have debilitating dizziness for months at a time?
So hitting 40 for me has not been about ageing as such or losing my looks. It’s been all about coping mentally, physically and that fear of going back to square one.
Would my illness stop me from trying to have a family? No. I know plenty of mothers that have 3 plus children with the same condition I do. But I also know their struggles, exhaustion and fatigue and it’s something I have to take into account.
But for now, I am truly grateful I have a loving partner, I can work from home and at least today I can see clearly and walk without dizziness too.
YES. Chronic fatigue is ALWAYS lurking. Like today after a 20-minute ice skate 2 days ago I have spent most of it wanting to sleep on the sofa.
And as for being a mum? I guess I will cross that bridge when I come to it.