I have 2 nephews who are 46 (not twins), another 45, and a fourth 40.
My nieces are 36, 32 and 26, and there is a smattering of next generation offspring, who in turn have started their own families. Plus nephews and nieces that have been inherited through second marriages.
It makes me feel old, as it seems not all that long ago that my first nephew came into the world and I was an excited twelve year old bouncing him on my knee or babysitting for my brother.
If things had been different, I would have had at least three children, one of which would have been 35 this month.
But it was a mistake.
A mistake that I believed for almost two months only to be told
‘Sorry, we got the tests mixed up. You’re not pregnant at all.’
I was devastated.
Perhaps foolishly I had already started collecting baby things and buying maternity clothes for the last few months of ‘my term’. I gave them all away to a neighbour who was expecting her second child around the same time, and we hardly spoke thereafter because of the sympathetic embarrassment.
It was difficult to console me, especially as everywhere I looked there were pregnant women or new mothers. It didn’t help that my sister had just had her first daughter, which was always the topic of conversation, so it was no surprise really that I didn’t visit the parental home as often as perhaps I should.
It was nobody’s fault, apart from the idiot who did the tests in the first place.
I learned to deal with it and not burst into tears every time anyone gave me a new baby to hold, ask me to babysit or offer their sympathy.
My own lay with the poor girl who had been told she wasn’t expecting when she actually was.
I sincerely hope it was a wanted pregnancy, as much as I had dearly wanted mine to be.
My ‘second child’ would have been 30 this year.
I’d been putting off doing a test following so many previous disappointments, then after doing some heavy lifting and strenuous work in the garden, I found myself laid up for a week or so and that was the end of that.
Sadly it was also the beginning of the end of another relationship.
The third, and definite, would have been 17, having been conceived the year my father died.
I had been feeling ‘off’ for a while, sensed something was wrong and so made an emergency appointment to see my GP.
I was given a pregnancy test and sent down to the hospital for a scan.
It was believed I was about 5 weeks and I was losing our baby.
We were both stunned, alarmed and anxious, but in a way it was odd, as we hadn’t had time to even think about it, let alone get used to it, before it was all over.
I was 40, and although I know the medical profession look after ‘mature mums to be’, it never really registered, and sometimes I think it was just a dream, or something that happened to somebody else.
I have just finished a book about families and relationships, and how things can change over the course of just a year.
I found myself thinking about what might have been, how things may have turned out, and what my life would be like. Certainly different to what it is now, which is way different to how it was a year ago.
Do I regret not having children?
Sometimes, especially when as a child, I had dreams of having lots of babies.
I have nothing to leave behind when I exit this world, no mark of my existence, no-one to carry on family traditions and values, certainly not to continue the family name.
As they say, once the paint’s dry on the barn door, my name will be forgotten (not that many remember us anyway).
Then I think about people I know whose kids have turned out to be selfish monsters and brats, with no values or consideration at all for anyone other than themselves.
And I’m glad I haven’t contributed to this line of heritage, though I would like to think that our kids would have turned out OK, by our standards at least.
I am still an Aunty, Great Aunt, and now a Great Great Aunt to my siblings sets of offspring, but for the latter generations it is in title only rather than closeness or recognition.
I was a foster Mum for four years, and I suppose could be considered a granny by default as three of ‘my girls’ have had children.
I often wonder what became of them, the lads too for that matter, and hope perhaps they remember me with fondness, however fleetingly.