See Monday’s post for more background on the FemCentral writing prompt. Please show your support to these ladies by leaving comments below. Thanks to everyone for participating!
Response 3, by Anonymous
I am obsessed; obsessed I tell you; with IVF, IUI, insurance coverage, birth defects, genetic testing, donor egg insemination, artificial insemination, endometriosis, fibroids, adoption and turning 40! Every time I read an article, or watch television which mentions someone just having a child or being pregnant, I find myself trying to decipher how old that person is and determining whether I still have a “chance” at having a child. I look at awe at my friends’ kids who are tweens and teenagers or even toddlers and wonder “where did the time go” and “why haven’t I been so blessed.”
This is my sole bone of contention with being a woman – the biological limit on having a child!
Otherwise, I love being a woman; I love the choices we have in hairstyles and clothing; I love our strength to keep on in the midst of adversity; As Beyoncé sings: “(we are) strong enough to bear the children then get back to business.”
However, had I been a man I am sure I would be relaxed, secure in the knowledge that there is no biological clock with a loud alarm going off and keeping me up at night.
But as a 40 year old woman (ok … soon to be 40 years old … 2 more months to go), the snooze button no longer works on that clock and its constant alarm has me in a state of panic. I know that the end of the clock’s battery life is coming soon and the alarm will be silenced forever ushering more regrets and an ache for what could have been.
Yes, people are defying the odds and having kids in their 40s and 50s but I don’t believe in “any means necessary”. There is a reason why a limit was placed on a women’s fertility and I am not willing to mess too much with it. Deep down inside I know there is more than one way to have a family, and all I need to do is open my eyes and heart and see.
I’ve been wracking my brain for a week, but I can think of only two things that I don’t like about being a woman. The first is something that absolutely rankles with my independent nature – I’m not physically strong enough to do some of the things that I want or need to accomplish. I like to build, to fix, and to refurbish (I’m a Taurus), but there have been so many times that I cursed my lack of many muscles because I couldn’t lift some critical object and had to wait until my husband could help me. Yes, I could probably work out and increase my upper body strength, but even when I was seriously working out (years ago) and could bench press more than my body weight, I was still a petite woman. A petite woman with rather large shoulders, but small nonetheless – I didn’t have the necessary oomph for lifting heavy objects then, either.
The second thing I dislike about my female body is the slave-driver that is my menstrual cycle. I am utterly powerless against my (often) raging hormones, and I sometimes take my loved ones down with me. Such is the magnitude of my nightmare-like PMS. And the lead-up…ugh. A few days to a week before I ovulate, the lethargy hits and I feel like a (very horny) slug. There is only one thing on my mind and this is no good on several levels:
1. I’m a stay at home mom of four, with six rescued dogs and two cats in the house, as well as a brand new garden. I don’t have TIME to be lazy all day and then jump my husband the minute he gets home from work.
2. I’m done having children, it would be nice if the reproductive urge would ease up a little (and to the women out there who wish they had a sex drive to speak of and are now scoffing at me, I have this to say – there is such a thing as TOO MUCH libido! I’m very sexual to begin with, and ovulating only serves to throw me into overdrive).
3. I hate feeling tired, I like having energy – who doesn’t?
Once I ovulate and enter the luteal phase of my cycle, then I’m just – in my oldest daughter’s words – a lazy sack. I even do my grocery shopping based on where I am in my cycle – luteal phase equals a shameful amount of frozen foods and take-out. My brain is too lazy to plan ahead for dinner, let alone actually cook it, during that phase.
And then PMS hits, and that bitch hits HARD. My already under-developed patience goes on vacation, and my over-developed vocal volume correspondingly increases. I’m in a state of constant anger, occasionally rising all the past mere rage and into Towering Inferno Mode. Add in a back ache and a massive headache that lasts two to three days and refuses to budge for even the most ardent pain reliever, and you’ve got the recipe for one miserable mama. My poor family walks on eggshells around me during PMS, and I HATE IT. I’ve gone to various doctors about it, and was told the only solutions were Prozac or the Pill. Eventually, and against my better judgment (being a tree-hugger wannabe and somewhat opposed to messing around with my hormones), I tried both at different times. Antidepressants made no difference whatsoever, and while the pill did work for a few months, the symptoms gradually came back and added in a headache that might have been a migraine. I also gained twenty pounds to boot. Yeah, you guessed it – I stopped taking it. I have hypothyroidism, so the next logical step is to consult an endocrinologist. I have little hope, though. While my thyroid levels may fluctuate, my PMS never does. Ironically, menstruation itself isn’t all that bad. Maybe that’s my gift from the universe, my reward for living with the hell that my overzealous hormones create.
But what do I not like about other women? Honestly, I’m coming up blank. Oh, I can think of plenty of qualities that I can’t stand – but none that are exclusive to women. Closed-mindedness is a major annoyance to me, but men are just as likely to have a clam-like mind as women. Judging someone based on appearance – well, all of humanity does it, myself included (and then I feel guilty about it). In my youth, I would have said that I didn’t like how jealous and insecure women were; however, in my youth I wasn’t exactly Miss Upstanding Morals and I gave other gals plenty of reasons to feel jealous and insecure. And YES! I was jealous and insecure, too! I surrounded myself with dudes so I wouldn’t have to deal with all of that insecurity (no, it didn’t work). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I didn’t really achieve full confidence until I embraced relationships with other women, and my own femininity. I’d very much been “one of the guys,” but that was not at all fulfilling.
You know what? I LIKE being a woman, even if it means being a hormone slave, and I like having friends who are women. I’m no longer one of the guys – and that’s just fine with me.