My uterus is getting old. If it was a person, its children would be talking behind its back about whether or not to put it in a home, and drawing straws on who is going to have to let it move in with them until then. It would be slightly senile, but still in that cute,
kinda funny way—not in the sad, sloppy way. Not yet. But close. A week or so ago I turned 33 (shudder), and that means that should we want any more children, I have exactly 15 months to get a bun in the oven before modern medicine makes me tattoo "Against Medical Advice" across my stretch-marked, swollen belly. At last count, I have THREE kids. Fifty years ago, this would mean we were just getting started, but now it makes people give me looks of pity across the aisle at the grocery store—as one child hangs begging for high fructose corn syrup from my legs, one child is dropping her pants and marking her territory in the bulk foods, and one is having me paged because I lost her twenty minutes ago. When I was pregnant with my third, people stopped congratulating me and started looking at me weird, and more than a few asked: "Was it,
ya know, on purpose?" In this day and age, it's just WEIRD to have more than 2.5 kids. And, frankly, while I am happy as a pig in poop to be bucking that trend, I am also up to my knees in kids right now, and I don't have time to floss, much less weigh lofty life-changing decisions, like whether or not to make more (babies, not floss). But then, softly, faintly, out of nowhere, it comes—the tick-tock of my wrinkled uterus's pacemaker.
Now, I certainly understand that the same modern medicine that labels me as "high risk" in two more years also, ironically, is making it possible for women to have babies into their 50s or even 60s. I watch TLC too, people. And I also get that this arbitrary age of 35 is just that—arbitrary. But the POINT is not lost on me. The point being that despite all of my denial, I AM AGING. My uterus and I are growing up. The songs we danced to in high school are now on the oldies channel, and I've been on this planet for long enough that I own clothing that has gone out of style and then come all the way around to being back in. I have matured to the point where making fun of people is no longer funny, and while drinking is just as much fun (maybe even more), it HURTS the next day (and the next). I've discovered heartburn, and sometimes I opt for flats, just because they feel better.
A girlfriend told me on the eve of my 30th birthday that for women, their 30s are the decade where they make peace with themselves. So, I woke up the morning of my 30th like a little kid on Christmas—filled with eager anticipation for what it was going to be like to finally glimpse myself in the mirror as I brushed my teeth and NOT hear all those hateful disparaging thoughts. Needless to say, it didn't work that way. But what I have found over these last three years is that I am starting to feel OK. I even like myself enough lately to want to be alone—something that used to scare the crap out of me. I have discovered courage. I have stretched my comfort zone. I have found that when I am unapologetically ME, I can make new friends that I adore, and create new passions that I might even be good at—because they came from ME, not from some ideal from a magazine, porn, therapy, or even (gasp) my Pinterest feed.
So, while I miss the naivete of my youth, the sure-fire feeling that there was always time to make up for all the horrific mistakes that I was making, and the fact that back then, when I bent over, my belly didn't fall to my feet, I think I would trade all of that in a uterine-pacemaker-heartbeat for what I have now. And that's not just the ridiculous mortgage, the muffin top, and the five day hangovers, it's also the security that comes at the end of the day as I lie in bed knowing that whether or not I made everyone happy all day, I was ME. And then there's the children that break up my moment of reflection by sneaking into my bed, piling on me in a big heap, and snuggling with their sweet breath in my face. And the pants from high school that still fit. And the contented old uterus, whose fate is, as of yet, undetermined.