What if I can’t have kids?

Growing up, I wasn’t the type of girl who dreamt of being a mother. While I didn’t imagine what it would be like to have kids, I always assumed I would have them – one day. I know plenty of women don’t have children by choice, and this makes them happy. I thought I might be one of those women.

But now, on the verge of turning 34, I realize that there’s nothing I want more in life than children. I can’t explain exactly why as the feeling isn’t logical. I’d probably be better off without kids. I could continue to live in a one bedroom apartment with my husband. It would certainly be cheaper in the long term. I’d be able to travel when I want and if I eventually get up the courage to go back to school and change careers entirely, it won’t be such a big deal. There are a lot of benefits to *not* having kids.

So why am I so obsessed with having children? I haven’t the foggiest if I’ll be a good mother (and all signs point to I’d be pretty bad at it, at least the project management part of the job) – but I want kid(s) and I know I’ll be extremely sad if I can’t have them. Yes, I can adopt (though that’s hard too), but selfishly I want my own.

I want to (try to) raise children that are healthy, happy (within reason) and mentally stable. I want to be a mother – I really can’t explain it. I guess it’s biological. For me, anyway. I want to nurture a kid or kids. I want to be there when things go wrong and when they go great. I want to learn from the stresses of parenting and grow from them. I want to see my children grow up and turn into adults, and see where those lives lead. I want to be openminded and kind and supportive for anything that life might throw their way.

I’ve been asked “what if I can’t have children” and I don’t want to think about it. Not yet. The prospect of spending a small fortune on IVF and it not working is bad enough, let alone the realization that there is only so much money — and so much time — that one has until she no longer can possibly have kids. Outside of the money, time isn’t on my side. I’m turning 34 in two months and once I turn 35 my “fertility” will drop rapidly. That means even with all the expensive tricks and science it will be less likely to work.

This also means I have one year to manage to make my body work. I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m most afraid of getting pregnant and having a miscarriage. Women with PCOS are so much more likely to have a miscarriage that it’s almost something you have to just assume will happen to you. I know that will be really hard for me. Yes, it would be a good sign that I was able to get pregnant at all, but I’m sure that won’t help in the moment.

Right now my biggest focus is getting to a healthy BMI and getting my blood sugars stable, along with supplementing for potential nutritional deficiencies. I’m down 20lbs from my highest–BUT–I still have to lose another 35 pounds minimum before I’m at a healthy BMI. At five pounds a month, that will take six months of constantly eating healthy and exercising. It’s very doable with this goal in mind, but it’s not easy.

I can’t help but think about my second child — which seems so silly since I haven’t managed to have one yet. But child #2, assuming my body does decide to function, will be something I’ll want to accomplish by 37. That means that, if the stars align once and I’m pregnant by mid 34 (say, by June), and I give birth at 35, I’ll have about a year (or less) before I start trying again for my second. Which seems all sorts of crazy, but I guess I’ll cross that road when I get there.

It’s certainly a lonely journey now–one that can’t really be understood unless you’ve been there yourself, and for a substantial amount of time. I know IVF can work and I still have my faith in that if needed, but that is when it will become an even more emotional process and I don’t know if I can mentally handle it. Maybe IVF will work the first time. Maybe I can get my body ready for it through all of my healthy eating and exercise plans and my body will be so ready to accept the embryo and love it for nine months until a baby is ready to meet the world. I hope so. I really hope so.