Tracy Engelbrecht hears a deafening silence from her biological clock.
I woke up this morning, and as I shuffled off to the shower, bleary-eyed, mumbling and reluctant – I was struck by a Big Profound Thought (this often happens first thing in the morning, but they usually fade by the first wee). The BPT was this: there will be no more children for me. Stick a fork in me, I am officially and quite contentedly – done.
This is not, in fact, big news. The cut-off point was long ago, but that decision was made with the head and the bank balance. Even so, there was still a faint feeling of “what if”; “maybe one day”. This new notion comes straight from cellular Discovery Channel level – bypassing brain and Aww Cute Baby glands entirely. Somehow, sometime when I wasn’t looking, my biological clock has quietly and resolutely ground to a halt.
It’s a funny thing, this biological clock. It’s a big bully, really. Suddenly all your Grade 10 biology makes sense, in colossal technicolour. Many of us are familiar with the damn thing suddenly whacking it’s arse into gear at the age of 35 and the ensuing mad dash for folic acid/ wedding dress/ sperm donor – egged on by evolutionary urges we didn’t even know we had. It makes a big fuss waking up, and doesn’t shut up until, well, ever. It doesn’t listen to reason. Doesn’t give the smallest toss for what you want. Your five-year plans are trampled into the dirt like stragglers at a Red Hanger Sale. It has never heard of overpopulation, or Al Gore and his Inconvenient Truth.
You can protest that we’re above this sort of thing until you’re blue in the face – fact is, hormones are persistent bastards and will run you into the ground to get what they want. And then, once they’ve squeezed the next generation out of you, they skulk away silently, leaving you literally holding the baby and wondering what happened to your hair.
I’m not jumping for joy. I loved pregnancy, babies and every stage of motherhood. There are many things I miss – breastfeeding, deciphering first words, the smell of Elizabeth Anne’s in the folds of a pudgy neck. But the indefinable twinge of longing is gone, as suddenly and mysteriously as it arrived. The switch has been turned off. I am left feeling content, blessed to have experienced it all, and marvelling at the way our bodies work.
Now I get to watch it all start again in my own children. And then, I’m told, the beast will awaken again to kick my butt into the glorious adventure that is menopause… tick tick tick… meet you there?When did you know your family was complete?
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