I’ve lost many things in my lifetime; children, parents, friends and lovers, cats! Like most women, I’ve learned to adapt and accept my fates as part of the human condition. Yet I can’t help feeling that time is so very cruel, especially to women. I went to the GP recently, having stored up a few minor ailments to justify my 10 minute consultation. My broken toe nail wasn’t really an issue, I knew the deep break would right itself eventually; neither was the annoying ‘growth’ that had suddenly appeared on my neck, really causing me sleepless nights! Even though, it is a constant reminder that I’m no longer a young woman. My real reason, and I was building up to it slowly, was my lack of periods.
The young male doctor listened carefully, tapped a few keys and said,
“Well, Mrs Young, it’s not unexpected at your age. We can do a blood test, but the results may not be conclusive.”
My heart sank. I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted him to tell me that I still had years of fertility left and ask me if I might be pregnant. Not that I wanted any more children. Oh no, I’ve been there and done that. I wanted my life back, as it was, before marriage and children. I wanted a second adolescence without the teenage angst and acne!
I know that this is not uncommon among women of a certain age. It’s as if we know that this Pause is our last chance of freedom, before the ‘ravishes of time’, wash over us and we find ourselves in a nursing home drinking tea and waiting to die.
I think I feel this more acutely because I’m afraid of being an old, disabled woman instead of a young disabled woman. I’m afraid of relinquishing my independence and losing what physical and mental elasticity I currently have. Yes, I admit that I am a real control freak. I have had to be, in order to keep autonomy and assert myself in a world that still expects disabled people, especially older disabled people, to be passive recipients. The fact that I have very few older role models to actually show me any positive alternative, scares me even more.
And how do I tell my husband that I want to go back to being a person he never met? Maybe he’ll find it exciting, although I was a very selfish and obnoxious youth who revelled in her sexuality and didn’t take any prisoners. Besides, I don’t think my twenty year old son would be too impressed with a youthful version of his mother. There aren’t many older women who can successfully pull off being younger without good genes and a lot of money!
I have to wait another three weeks to have the blood test done and then there will be a wait for the result or lack of. I’m not sure what I am hoping for but whatever the result I hope I can put my life on play again instead of Pause.