Deep Freeze

The earliest dream I can remember involved boil-in-the-bag babies.

I dreamt my mother wanted a new child, so she bought it from the supermarket, a small, square frozen lump in a plastic bag. My grandma put it in a pan of boiling water, and we all stood around enthralled as a baby unfurled. I remember watching its eyes open, and its teeth pop into place, one by one.

It occurred to me yesterday that I was still clinging to the idea of the boil-in-the-bag baby, frozen in stasis, ready for the moment I wanted it.

My plan to freeze my eggs has failed, you see. Yet again, my insubordinate body has refused to make things easy for me. I just don’t have enough of the right sort of hormones at the right time to make the grade. Unsurprising, I suppose, but strangely undermining all the same.

For me, the option of freezing eggs was a wonderful luxury, while it lasted. It allowed me to carry on being indecisive while my fertility inevitably declined.

I hugely envy the women and men who are sure when the time is right to have children, or who, alternatively, are absolutely certain they don’t want them at all. I’ve just never felt like that. I’ve never felt the urgent pull of ‘now’, and yet I can’t bring myself to say ‘never’.

The best I can manage is ‘later, if at all’, but I can see that I’m going to be allowed that. However much I want it to be the case – and I don’t believe this is a moral issue, just a matter of physical possibility – I don’t have the option of storing away my babies in the freezer, ready for a potential future defrosting.

And after I’d finished crying to Herbert about my stupid, bastard luck, those limited choices suddenly seemed refreshing. There’s something exhausting about putting things off indefinitely.


, , ,

17 Responses to Deep Freeze

  1. NickyB 10/06/2011 at 15:22 #

    I love the boil-in-the-bag baby dream – not disturbing at all! I’m heartily sorry that the decision not to make a decision is gone, and there’s only yes or no left. But whatever decision the two of you make, it’ll be one made with care and thought, and that’s what matters most.

  2. inawelshgarden 10/06/2011 at 16:34 #

    I identified with your post – the just not being sure when the right time was/is to have children and if I actually wanted to have them at all. In the end,for me, I realised that there was no ideal or perfect time somewhere in the future,and that really I was just putting of the ultimate decision – did I want to have children or not? I realised that if I didn’t it would be a lasting regret,which made me realise that I did want to have children. But that I was scared of losing the life that we had without children,being able to come and go and do what we wanted when we wanted. Of course I was scared of a whole load of other things too,the responsibility,and other things that I won’t go into here. It’s a big decision. Good Luck x

    • Betty Herbert 10/06/2011 at 17:31 #

      I very much relate to all those things! It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who feels this way

  3. Little Brown Bird 10/06/2011 at 17:31 #

    At the very least there was a glimmer of choice. I think I’ve kissed mine goodbye. Maybe you’ll just get luck and whatever happens will be just what was supposed to happen x

    • Betty Herbert 10/06/2011 at 17:32 #

      I tell you what, I’ll have them and you can look after them ;-)

  4. Jess 10/06/2011 at 17:34 #

    Hugs all around! Why can’t it all be easy?!?! I mean really.


    • Betty Herbert 10/06/2011 at 17:36 #

      You’re so right, Jess – I confess I’m envious of those for whom it’s simple. But there you go. I’m so lucky in many other ways.

  5. CazbatTweets 10/06/2011 at 17:41 #

    I identify with the decision being taken out of your hands, and the relief of the end of uncertainty. F

    • Betty Herbert 10/06/2011 at 17:43 #

      Maybe it’s the too-many-choices that make it all such torture!

  6. Sarah Tregear 10/06/2011 at 17:51 #

    I never wanted children and then a friend announced she was pregnant and I was struck by this huge thunder bolt that I did want a child. I’ve never been broody, I don’t even like other people’s children! I was married and after much discussion we agreed to try (my ex was unsure about having any he thought they would cramp his style) it took a long time to fall pregnant and I lost a baby along the way. Eventually I had my son and I have to say he’s the best thing I have ever done. My husband left us after 3 months we obviously did cramp his style :) I would never have had a child if I’d have known I’d be a single parent but I’m so glad I did. He amazes me every day and is such a joy. He doesn’t cramp my life, we’ve been to Africa, all over Europe. I still have a social life… I do still wonder what would of happened to my life and marriage if I had decided not to have a child….

    • Betty Herbert 10/06/2011 at 17:59 #

      That’s so wonderful to hear, Sarah! And I agree, watching my friends get pregnant has changed the way I feel about it – sometimes it’s made me want them less, though! I really think me & H have just thought too hard about it over the years, and we’ve lost all our instincts on the subject. Nice to know there’s a possible happy ending

  7. Iknowhim 10/06/2011 at 18:57 #

    Saddened at the news that the egg-freezing option is no longer viable. You must be very sad so am sending hugs. What you said in your last comment was exactly what I was going to say. I think because you and Herbert have quite rightly discussed the possibility for some years, you’ve moved away from instinctive compulsion. What does your heart say, that’s got to be your first question? Don’t think about a child cramping your style because your world expands, and you enter a different and new exciting phase of your life. Issues like the difficulties of getting pregnant etc come into play at the next stage. BTW friend had four failed IVF attempts and is about to give birth any day now, so never say never.

    Whatever decision you both make, be thankful you have each other. But now you need wine and chocolate x

  8. Betty Herbert 10/06/2011 at 19:01 #

    Thank you, that’s lovely, lovely advice! Honestly, it’s such a privilege writing a blog sometimes, like having an army of the best agony aunts on hand x

  9. Kavey 12/06/2011 at 08:42 #

    Perhaps this is a good thing, for as you say, it means that instead of putting off making a decision, with the safety net of the frozen eggs, it encourages you to stop and think harder about it right now.
    Which is no doubt difficult but probably a good thing.
    Uncertainty can be unsettling and, without realising it, may have been a cause of stress, somewhere in the background, because you couldn’t really envisage your old age, not knowing yet whether it would be with children or without… a very different prospect.
    I know people always suggest trusting one’s gut instinct but sometimes it’s not as simple as that, there is no strong instinct one way or another. In that case, it can only be about making a decision on what kind of future appeals the most, when you think more about it.
    I do want to add, though, that choosing not to have kids (as we have done) is not always a sign of disliking kids (I adore them) nor anything about a fear of how they might change one’s lifestyle. In our case, it was a strong and positive choice towards one lifestyle, rather than a fearful shying away from another.
    I hope you will be able to find the choice that works for you both.

    • Betty Herbert 12/06/2011 at 09:46 #

      Thanks K – you’re absolutely right to make the point that people can choose not to have kids and really like them. It’s so vital that we stop seeing childless people a dried up, emotionally cold insects. By the same token, I think I’m beginning to understand that you can also want children and hate the cupcake-culture that surrounds them. Which doesn’t make anything any easier, but who said life was simple, eh?

  10. Kavey 12/06/2011 at 09:48 #

    Absolutely. I have many friends with kids and every single one has a completely different relationship to their kids, and also to all kids in general. They have found their own path for parenthood.

Leave a Reply