Yesterday, an old friend of mine announced she was pregnant. Of course, I was ecstatic for her, and so I spent today searching online for little teeny baby sized outfits to send to her in congratulations. But as I scrolled through the tiny, wee onesies decorated with whales, apples and owls, I began to tear up. And I don’t think it was just in that ‘hormonal mid thirties crying with happiness’ way. I felt a certain sense of loss and grief that I would never get to experience motherhood myself. Now, I know I’ve said I won’t have kids and that I’m childfree, but that’s not necessarily because I don’t like them or don’t desire to be a mother. Becoming childfree was something I had to make peace with a ten years ago. You see, when I was 20 the Gyno told me my Endometriosis was so severe I’d never be able get pregnant or be able to carry a baby to term after the age of about 24. At the time, four years seemed like plenty of time to find a partner and get married and have kids. But as my 24th birthday approached, I was not only single, but also particularly unwell mentally. I remember thinking to myself, “Well, this is it. Time’s up!” as I blew out my birthday candles. It was from then on, I had to adjust my thinking. I had to get used to the fact that it was highly unlikely that I would ever have my own children. The more I got used to the idea, the more I believed it was for the best. I figured, what kind of mother could I be when I couldn’t even leave the house at times? What kind of burden would I be to my children when I was unwell? What if mental illness is genetic, and I beset some poor little poppet to a life of Depression and Anxiety too? That said, it doesn’t take away the innate desire to be a mother. I still feel a pang of envy when people I know become pregnant. I think of how lonely I’ll be as I age and there’s no one to visit with. That I’ll never give my mother grandchildren. But my time has passed. I’m a 35 year old single woman with mental health issues and fertility problems, without the money for IVF. I think it’s’ safe to say any luck I may have had on my side has well and truly evaporated. 80% of the time I can laugh it off, talk about how I’d be a shithouse mother anyway, how terribly screwed up my kids would be with me as a parent, and how I’ll never have to put up with a house of sticky fingerprints but there are those times, that 20%, when I’m looking for baby clothes for a expectant friend, or I hold a newborn or as I watch my friends send their high school aged kids off to school formals, that I grieve the chance I was robbed of due of biology, mental illness and timing. It’s not anger, just disappointment that I’ll never know what it feels like to love someone before you’ve even met them, or the excitement of sharing a positive pregnancy test with someone I love. It’s a sadness that comes around every few months that makes me feel terrible for a few days, but then I pick back up and remember I have the role of Cool Aunt in the bag. Now I just need to meet a partner with niblings I can spoil from time to time.