Sunday, April 17, 2011

To parent or not as we grow older?

The decision to be a  parent or not gets more complicated as we grow older.  There are many layers involved in the decision making, to do with physical and emotional ability and energy of the potential parent. The time factor is also a big challenge.

By your late 30s, a woman who has not had children, is considering whether to have a baby or not. For some women the answer is no, for others it is maybe or yes.
This is the moment to be deliberate about planning for the future and to be very clear whether parenting is really a first priority or your life.

This is the beginning of prioritizing losses so that space can be made for something new to come in. This is not so easy as it takes a lot of courage to grieve and let go of certain dreams, so that that other dreams can be realized. This does not mean that single parents will be single forever or that if you choose adoption you may not eventually conceive your own child, it just means that something needs to change and a course needs to be set.  Time is of the essence, as whatever course is set and reset, it can take 1 to 4 years to be united with your child.

The older we become, the more life is not turning out the way we dreamed and we are not where we thought we would be at this time in our lives. For single women,  this involves not being married or not being  part of a commited partnership, as well as being childless. I would suggest to just take ' the bull by the horns' and choose a path and stay on that path for a set time period, rather than taking the 'wait and see' perspective.  It is difficult to be seeking a partner and trying to get pregnant at the same time.  Stay focused.

Many single women and couples try to conceive  and often spend  large amounts of money and time on trying to get pregnant.  It is best to set a time limit and financial limit on this pursuit.  If after a certain period of time your child has not been conceived then the option of adoption is still possible.  Stay focused.  I have found that when people are trying to both get pregnant and adopt at the same time the energy becomes split between two paths. However,  it is useful to do some preliminary research about adoption just so you know ahead of time which door to go through if conceiving is not successful. ie. There are now age restrictions on parents to be, who wish to adopt internationally from different countries and also there are certian limits on single parent adoption both domestic and internationally.  It is important to know what your possibilities are before they are closed to you due to age restrictions, or waiting too long.

As you get older just the  process of bringing a child into your life involves  large quantities of  emotional and physical energy to maintain the course. The older we get the more losses we endure and hopefully the wiser we become!  As you get older it is also important to ask yourself if you have the emotional and physical energy to raise a child and share your life with a child. Some people just truthfully know that they are too 'Self focused' to be able to share their life with a child, as it will involve giving up too much 'me' time and 'adult enjoyment'.  It is so important to know: "Is there room for a child at this time in my life?"  These are important considerations for potential parents, whether possibly parenting alone or as a couple.  In couples there are individual needs and relationship needs to be respected, discussed and evaluated in the decision to be older parents.  Whatever the decision,  it will be the right one for you.

If , after all the planning and endurance of waiting to have a child you are able to maintain your focus and know that this is what you want most in your life, then you will become a parent.  At times the only light at the end of the tunnel  is knowing  that  your son or daughter is coming towards you in the opposite direction on the same path.

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