My birthday is this week. My birthday is (was?) also our baby’s due date.
Birthdays have never been a big deal for me. I’ve enjoyed every age that I’ve been — some more than others, but I’ve never been bummed about moving on to the next one. This is the first one that’s felt like it comes with a ticking clock. I’ll be 32 this year. I know, I know, lots of women don’t have their first baby by 32, especially these days, especially academics. Still. We started trying to get pregnant when I was 30, and in some ways it feels like we’re actually farther away from being parents now than we were when we started. When time slogs by in months — from cycle to cycle, with 9 months of pregnancy ahead if we ever get that far (oh, how I hope the next one lasts nine months!) — years start to seem short.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about our parents’ birthdays. My mom and my husband’s parents are going to be such wonderful grandparents, but as they enter their mid-60s I wonder how much time our future children will have to get to know them. My first grandparent died in his 60s. One died in her 70s. Another in his 80s. And the last a year ago in her 90s. There’s no predicting it, of course, and they’re reasonably healthy so far, but as our parents start to creep up on those ages — while we spin our wheels in the land of pregnancy loss and infertility — I worry.
And of course, there’s the very obvious absence of our daughter this February. My husband’s birthday is almost two weeks after mine, so odds are that our daughter would have been born in between our birthdays. We were so excited about being a February family. When I was pregnant, I used to daydream about my birthday. I had imagined how uncomfortable I’d be — but how joyful I’d be as well.
That said, what makes this birthday / due date double-whammy a little easier to deal with is the good news we had on Monday. All of a sudden we’ve gone from months of bad news and uncertainty to good news and hope. This week also marks our first attempt at getting pregnant. If I do get pregnant this cycle (unlikely as that may be), I’ll feel as though it’s partly our daughter’s doing — a gift from her as she encourages us to move on with our lives.