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10/04/17

Knocked up, Broken up and Freed Up

Right now it seems like half my friends are struggling through a divorce while the other half are stressing about their fertility. Mid life is well known for its incidence of divorce, less so with a last ditched effort at falling pregnant. These days there is a closer relationship between these 2 issues than there is between my friends and their spouses.

The key link between these issues is liberation from expectations that trip us up.  My friends who have found a partner in their late 30’s and early 40’s and are now trying to get pregnant,  are not fantasizing about marital bliss in the burbs. They come into their partnerships painfully aware of its imperfections. As an outsider their choices can sound like a bit of  a train wreck, whether it be debilitating illness or a lack of earning potential in their chosen partner. Yet they fully embrace the pleasures that it does bring.

So far so good, except that it is not so easy to fall pregnant at this age.   Warnings since early adolescent against falling pregnant are finally dropped, only to be told that it may be too late. An over familiar relationship with ones ovaries then becomes inevitable, not to mention invasive medical exams. Until that baby comes though, the divorcing girlfriend becomes a point of envy as she already has (2?) beautiful children, come what may.  Those who are getting divorced, however, look longingly at a less emotionally complicated way of living.

For the singleton there is great liberation in being proactive about your family, instead of waiting for a Prince or Princess who seems to have got caught in the bramble bush somewhere south of Eden. Having a baby as a single parent from the start means there are no expectations of the role a partner is supposed to play as a co-parent. It’s not romantic, but its beautiful in its clarity.  The practical implications can be complex, but the approach is free of a lot of our inherited prejudices and expectations.     Single friends with no children are the real lottery ticket for the newly divorced and recently parented. Good single friends bring fresh energy to the weekend plans and an extra pair of hands, they are a must have.

The good news about the mid life crisis is that by this age, we already have the resilience we need to face these challenges, and still much life ahead to create (or procreate) beautifully.

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