Turning 40

I have not been looking forward to my birthday this year. If I’m honest it’s been a shadow hanging over me for the past few years as I’ve got ever closer to the big 4-0. It doesn’t matter how many times I have told myself, or others have told me, that a day or a number doesn’t make a difference. I know in my head that it doesn’t, but in my heart I didn’t want to turn 40 without at least being pregnant. 40 just feels significant.

Ticking Biological Clock

It is the age after which the chances of a successful pregnancy fall even lower. My biological clock has always been against me, considering I didn’t meet my husband until I was 35, so this is hardly a surprise or news to me.

I keep saying that I trust that God is in control, and that biological clocks and statistics aren’t an obstacle to Him … but how much do I actually believe that? My reluctance to turn 40 suggests I put more weight in the statistics than I do in my creator.

So it was with a reluctant heart that I counted the months towards my 40th. By spring I knew that I wouldn’t be a Mum in my 30s but I kept hoping and praying that I would be pregnant by the big day. I clearly heard God tell me not to worry about milestones so I tried not to, I stopped counting the months to my birthday and tried to look forward to it. Yet it hung there, in the shadows, a day that should be celebrated but in truth one that I was dreading.

I didn’t want a party as I wasn’t in the mood for celebrating it, and was worried I would cry, but I still wanted to mark the day and to give myself something to look forward to. We planned a lovely weekend away in a rustic chalet, by a lake with our own private dock. In the end it was perfect. I will say now that I had a lovely birthday, I felt loved and cared for and no different from 39 years and 364 days old! We hiked and we relaxed, we had a massage in the chalet and read our books by the lake. We explored the local farmer’s market, enjoyed the sauna and hot tub and ate good food. It was special and memorable.

An Unexpected "Gift"

My period also came. I cried. In fact I sobbed. It felt so unfair, like a cruel joke. I knew it was a possibility, of course I did. I had also hoped that this time, this birthday, I would finally get the gift I’ve been wanting for so long … the gift of a positive pregnancy test. At the very least could it not have come a few days either side of my actual birthday? I railed against God. I kept asking why. Why today? Why was this his gift to me?

My husband told me that I could see it as a gift – a reminder that I am still able to have children. My menstrual cycle is still regular, I haven’t reached menopause, there is no biological reason why I can’t conceive and have healthy children. I didn’t want to hear that then. I was upset and angry. Nevertheless I keep coming back to these words and realize that they are true. I’ve started to give thanks for my regular cycle, and for this reminder on the day I hit the big milestone, that it’s all about perspective. I can choose to complain and be sad and angry. Or I can choose to celebrate that I still have the chance. I can choose to trust God and His power. He knitted me together in my mother’s womb, and He can open up my womb and knit my child together, in His timing and His way. I choose to trust and I choose to hope. And I choose to celebrate.

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