I Had a Mid-life Crisis
And It Was a Doozy...
Mid-life? What does that mean? Since we don’t usually know how long we are going to live, how do we determine when we are in mid-life? So for argument’s sake, I’m just going to say the forties were my mid-life. Hey, my grandmother lived to be ninety, her mom lived to be ninety-three and my mom just turned seventy-five and is still going strong.
So the big four-oh birthday arrived. It wasn’t terribly traumatic. Our only child, a daughter, was just eight years old. I had a lot of mom friends because of my child’s young age that were younger than me and I was still keeping up. Besides my aunt and uncle made a special trip to my house to bring me a book, Forty Reasons Why Life is More Fun After Forty. I read it and was encouraged…mostly. I wasn’t too fond of having to pluck the stray eyebrows that kept appearing on my chin.
Forty Reasons Why Life Is More Fun After The Big 40
Our Lives Were Full
I had married at the age of nineteen. My husband still thought I was sexy and made sure that I knew I continued to be the object of his desire. (I think I know why our eyesight dims as the years go by and to be on the safe side I would make sure he had taken his Coke-bottle thick eyeglasses off before I undressed for any reason.) I knew I was very blessed to have him and his undying devotion after twenty-one years of marriage. I still found him quite attractive and besides he was and is my best friend.
The only real difficulty we had had in our marriage was our inability to conceive. Our lives were full though, and after more than a decade of trying to get pregnant we figured it just wasn’t meant to be and had settled into our work and community and were living quite satisfying lives.
We Had No Idea What We Had Been Missing
Now I have always heard that when you give up trying to have a baby, then you will have a baby. It worked. Much to our surprise I found myself expecting our first child at the ripe old age of thirty-two. Our small town was ecstatic and pretty much the whole community knew before we left our small town hospital, where I had had the pregnancy test done, that we were finally going to be parents! As we walked down the halls on our way out, nurses, aids, technicians and office personnel kept popping out to congratulate us. You can tell this was before HIPAA.
When people asked my hubby why we had waited so long to have children, he would tell them it was because he didn’t want anyone to think we HAD to get married. There was still a stigma attached to premarital sex in small town America when we married back in the dark ages of the 1970s. Now, with thirteen years of marriage behind us, we were safe in assuming that no one could suspect us of, well, you know.
So now we were parents and thrilled. We had no idea what we had been missing. Sleepless nights, terrifying bouts with baby's high fevers and my husband’s most favorite, not really, waking up in a bed saturated with breast milk.
We thought we now had the hang of the baby-making process and were soon expecting again. Baby number two was due soon after baby number one would have been two years old. It seemed to be a nice spacing to us. The pregnancy went well until the fourth month when during a routine prenatal visit it was found that the baby had died. We had some very black days after this heart-breaking loss but we eventually recovered from the shock and came to terms, as well as one can, with our grief.
My doctor said to give it six months and we could try again to add to our family. And we tried, and in a few years I turned forty and I knew, it was over. We would be a family of three and our first child would be an only. Okay, no big deal, worse things could happen and we were happy.
The Effect of Age on Fertility
- Chart: The effect of age on fertility | BabyCenter
Find out what bearing your age has on your potential for child-bearing.
A Roller Coaster Life
During the years from age thirty-three to forty-one, my life became a roller coaster. An affair almost destroyed a close family member’s marriage. My youngest brother was murdered. My mother-in-law passed away after a short illness. A good friend passed away suddenly and without warning and I was her executor. I spent almost three years settling her estate which meant that I had to travel to her home a four hour drive away. In the midst of all of this, our daughter was doing poorly in first grade at public school and we decided to start homeschooling. That was a HUGE adjustment. Then my maternal grandmother, had her first and last stroke and was gone in just two days. My best friend was so supportive through all of these tragedies, but then her breast cancer showed up again. I was crushed.
In January of 1999, my friend lost her fight. I was devastated. Mid-life it seemed was determined to break my spirit.
A New Century, A New Beginning
Then I began to feel really bad while on a camping trip in the north Georgia mountains with my family and some dear friends. We had to be close friends for their family of four to stay in our 27 foot motor home with our family of three! And they were understanding when I spent most of my time on that trip in bed.
We returned home on a Sunday afternoon and I made a quick trip to the drugstore. Just as I had suspected, the pregnancy test came up positive. Oh my, what was my husband going to say to this?
He was out in our back yard and I approached him a bit apprehensively and said, “Guess what?”
He took one look at me and said, “You’re pregnant.”
We had been down this road two times before and since my body reacts strongly to the habitation of a new life he had recognized the symptoms, I now realized, even before I had admitted the condition to myself.
So here we were on the cusp of a new century welcoming another daughter into the world. We were thrilled.
And we named our mid-life crisis, Rachel.
Rachel and Her Big Sister Kali
© 2010 U Neek