Please don’t sit near me.
That’s probably your first thought when you see a parent clambering onto a plane with a baby, but mine was different. Mine was, I wish that was me.
A month ago, brokenhearted, I went on a trip to Paris with my mum. The city of love. With your mother. Immediately after a break up – it will stir up some stuff evidently. Taking off on a plane to Paris should be a really exhilarating moment, but I was uncontrollably sobbing. I was travelling with my mum because two months beforehand, my boyfriend – the love of my life – left me.
OVER. THE. PHONE.
We were together five-and-a-half-years, so that makes f**king sense. I thought we had some stuff to work on, but I honestly thought we were unbreakable. When I looked at other couples, I actually felt secretly superior. We tell each other everything, we’re not like other couples… all that bullshit. He had some things he’d been holding onto as it turns out (but that’s another story). As I saw it, we were on a path. You know the one: dating, moving in, then marriage and babies. I was busy looking to the future and making big plans! And about a year ago, my boyfriend and I even had the serious discussion. It was decided – in about two years we will try for a baby.
I’m not crazy. He had ALWAYS been keen on kids. Sometimes I even joked that, by the time he finished his degree I would probably be too old and barren (I’m 32), and he would get really upset. I suppose it was my way of testing the waters… to make sure he really, really wanted them.
Cool trick, huh?
When you get dumped, there’s always that internal monologue you go through: Was it because I got fat? Did I TRY enough? What about that time I joked about the love being gone in front of him and a friend, was that what tipped him over the edge?
Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and Jessie Stephens discuss being single when you don’t want to be on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
But I wasn’t expecting this one. This one hit me. HARD.
Because now I want a baby. Bad.
And now I have this overwhelming feeling that I’ve missed the boat.
In the last year I felt this urge, this pull. Like the very clichéd ‘Wild Horses’ kinda pull. There’s no other way to put it – it’s like I felt my ovaries swelling, preparing themselves. (I write this at the risk of driving away any future potential partners btw, I know that.) So now I have to get over this soul-crushing agony, but I also have to bounce back and find someone who I like THAT much… again. What are the chances? And… do it all before I’m 36? 39? FORTY?
Last year, at my best friend’s birthday, her stepmother told me I had probably missed my opportunity anyway. I felt panic then, and that was when I was actually with the love of my life (or as one of my friends calls him, ‘the asshole who we hate now’). Do people realise the things they’re saying to women? Now it feels like time to panic.
I mean, holy mutha f**kin-shit, single at 32 and the guy I saw my future with just walked away.
And I know this sounds obvious as shit, but I’m not prepared to sacrifice a genuine connection for a guy (any old guy) to give me ‘what I want’ (as in, find a ‘donor,’ if you know what I mean). I want the real deal, or nothing at all. Because while I do have this overwhelming pulling feeling and desire for a baby, I know I need that person to be the person.
So, watching this mother with her baby on the plane, holding and soothing her, sacrificing her own comfort for the sake of her child’s, chubby fists flinging around, trying to figure out how they use themselves, I feel… pain.
A loss for a baby that was never guaranteed.
A loss for what was never really mine.
Even though I’ve imagined you – thought of your big (probably blue) eyes, your quirky sense of humour, your little voice, the conversations we would have while I walked you to school, how I would protect you, fight tooth and nail like my mother did, for you to be treated fairly – you might never come to be now.
I’ve even spent countless hours thinking of the perfect name for you. I’d settled on Freddie or Violet. Maybe I’d name you Marcelle, after my sister and I’d regale you with stories of your namesake when you were old enough.
After that plane ride I realised I have had love, and I have to be grateful for the love that I have and will continue to have. And, as I was feeling the full weight of my pain, the person whose shoulder I was crying on was my own mother’s. She didn’t, and still doesn’t, know what had me so beside myself that day on the plane, but she held me and wiped away my tears and stroked my head and blew my nose with her used tissue. And, as if the world comes full circle, while my mother was comforting her 32-year-old child, in the seat across from us, the mother holding her baby, was doing exactly the same thing.
I only hope I can do the same one day.