Most Saturday mornings, I spend at least an hour on the phone to my mother. We haven't really had the chance to do that since before DH and I went to Lanzarote, so yesterday we were both looking forward to our conversation. Unfortunately, I was still suffering from Leaky Eye Syndrome (otherwise known as Total Despair), and wondered how I was going to get through the call without her realising that I was, at best, on the verge of tears.
So it really wasn't a good time for her to start our conversation with, "By the way, you never told us what happened at your follow-up appointment with the consultant."
Actually, I had told her all I was ready to share, but I ran through it all again. You know the details, so I won't bore you with them. I finished by telling her that we had decided we might have one more attempt, might have two, but definitely wouldn't have more than three in total. So then she wanted to know when these other attempts might happen, and as we're not telling my family about this cycle until it's completely over (though I'm sure my parents have guessed and she was actually fishing), I said something vague about timing depending on a lot of other factors.
And that's when she hit me with it.
"Well, you need to think about these things, because if you wait too long you'll be too old to run around after a small child, and it won't be fair on the child."
I dissembled a little bit, and then I said I really didn't want to talk about it right then, and we moved onto safer subjects.
But afterwards, I carried on thinking about what she'd said, and I realised she's right. I've wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember, and my friends and family have encouraged me and said they think I would make a good mother. I happen to think I already make quite a good aunt and godmother.
But now I'm thinking that it's probably true that I could have been a good mother when I was in my twenties and thirties. But now I'm 40. I have a bad back, and I'm not as patient as I used to be. DH is in his late 40s, and is definitely middle-aged. As a bachelor, he was more Timothy Lumsden than Gary or Tony, and at the school gates he would definitely be mistaken for the child's grandfather rather than its father.
Our time never came when we were young and fit for anything, but maybe now it's passed. And maybe we should accept that, because being an only child is one thing, but maybe being an only child of elderly parents is even worse.
And maybe this shouldn't be about us, but about what's best for the person we're hoping to bring into the world - not just the baby that would be showered with love, but the active toddler, the pre-teen who wants to kick a ball around or go on long bike rides with his or her parents, the stroppy teenager, the adult who has nobody to share the responsibility of looking after the ailing parents.
Giving up on our dream certainly doesn't feel like the right thing for me - there will always be a hole in my life where my children should have been. But maybe it's the fairest and most reasonable thing for the child or children that would otherwise have the burden of having us as parents. And maybe it would be selfish to pursue this dream any further.
I hate it when my mother's right.