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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Crazy Cat Lady

It was innate in me, the predetermination of my fate as a mother.  I was never one of those people that planned to be married and have a child by a certain age, but I always knew I would have children at some point.  So this last birthday, yesterday in fact, was particularly bleak.  Because now I have had to face the reality that I will not be a mother, that I will not nurture and raise my own child or any child. 

I am thirty-four, which again, has never bothered me.  Age didn’t really worry me, but looking at it refracted though the lense of illness, is different.  Each year is another nail in the coffin of motherhood.  And this year, it has been inescapably dark. 

Throw most anything at me, and I’ll keep getting up, keep fighting, but the realisation that I will never hold that role has near obliterated me.  So much so I have found it hard to even admit to myself out loud, for fear I might sink never to get up again.  It is not that I am without hope that I will ever get better, but at my age with the combining factors of Endometriosis and PCOS it would have been a battle anyway.  Then just recently I had this revelation,  I have always known that short of finding a brilliant partner to support me, that it would be impossible while I am sick to even consider mothering a child, but then I realised that there was a good chance, if current research is correct, that I could pass on this insidious beast to my child.  And there is no way I can gamble on that. Ironically the fierce protective mother in me won’t let me be one.
But I am a Ma to two fur babies.  And as much as I used to take the piss out of obsessive pet owners with their stupid pet clothing and accessories and toys, I’ve now become one.  I draw the line at clothing, but toys and furniture, I’m all for it, because without my two fur babies, this blow would be too much.

So my adoration for them has increased if that is even possible, and my heart sometimes feels like it might burst because it just cannot fit all that love in there.  In moments when things are at their worst, when I cannot move but cannot sleep, I put my ear to the bed and Tobey’s purr reverberates through my head and I listen to his sighing breathing and it puts me to sleep.  Then when I toss and turn, Cooper lifts his head off his front paws and chats to me, berating me until I lift the doona so he can crawl under and curl into a tight little ball against my chest literally protecting my heart.

They make me smile every day, and laugh and yell, and without them I would be terribly alone.  So in future when I hear someone talk about their pet as though it is their child, I will nod my head in understanding.  It is not so silly after all.  Maybe the crazy cat lady isn't so crazy.


  1. dear marzi - this one is extra special! those of us who have children think we understand the grief of those who don't. yet this post really brought it home to me. tears streaming...

    but our furchildren are so wonderful! i doubt those who are healthy have the time to get as close to them as we do. every single day i feel such gratitude for my furbaby. what would we do without them?

    with my non-furchildren, and especially my grandies, too far away - i often feel as though the loss of being around them is too much to bear. the little one doesn't even know me. but i have my furry boy and as you say without him i would be so lonely!

    cheers to all our furchildren!

    copious amounts of love and understanding!!! xx

    1. Wonderfully expressed , thoughtful and insightful ! Thank you !

  2. Thank you beautiful, it is so hard that loss of future possibilities but the fur babies soften the blow, literally. I hope that you get to see your little ones soon.

    Huge love and hugs back to you xoxoxo

  3. Marzi, I always feel underqualified whenever this issue comes up but I wanted you to know how sad I am for you and all those beautiful women who desperately wanted to be mums (and you would all be great mums)
    I am so happy that your furchilldren bring you so much joy and love.

    Hugs and kisses xoxox

  4. The losses of this illness are so tough. So much to grieve for.
    I had Josie late in life, at age 36. A lot of my friends had children even older than that - in their 40's. Unbeknownst to me, I had Hep C when I had Josie. Luckily, I didn't pass it on.
    It's such an unknown, what will happen when you have children.
    I guess I'd like to say to you, "don't rule the possibility of having children out", the future is so unknown always. On the other hand, it's good to at least acknowledge the possibility that it won't happen.
    I've also heard stories of people that improved on getting pregnant and giving birth .... who knows?
    Animals are so wonderful. Josie has been absolutely devoted and in love with animals during her illness ... which is why we have 4 dogs and 2 cats! :P
    I hope life holds some unexpected adventures and pleasures for you, and that no matter what, there is plenty of love in your life! :) xoxo

  5. Great post,

    So many things I can identify with.

    I'm only 26 with severe M.E. and starting to think that children won't work for me (partnerless and too ill) and also wonder about the wiseness of passing on dodgy genes.

    Years ago I went to a memorable dinner with a friend to meet new people in the area (all of which didn't have children). They all complained long and loudly at the beginning about how people with children talk so much and almost exclusively about their children.

    They then proceeded to talk about their dogs for the rest of dinner.

    I had a quiet giggle to myself. As I lived on a boat with no dogs I didn't have much to contribute.

    Evidently animals become substitute children for most people without kids.

    Especially if they are cute, furry and affectionate. I'd love to get a cat, but I live at home and my Dad is very anti-cats so it wouldn't be fair.

    In the meantime I have a turtle, which isn't quite the same.

    :) Sarah.B

  6. oh, i am SO glad you are drawing the line at clothing for your feline friends marzi! nothing else to say - i could have written this, exactly what is in my heart. tears of empathy and loads of love. XXOO

  7. Marzi, that brought tears to my eyes....I so understand...I just had my 46th birthday and another layer of grieving has been done (you always think you've overcome it then it sneaks up on you again!)....I will never be a mum in the traditional sense, and I realise that in the last 12 years I don't think I would have had the strength either. I thank God for animals everyday, my cat gives me such joy and I have such a sense of love from her and about her, it will never replace having a child, but one can't live in regret and the love of an animal is a gift. Thanks for your honesty and openness xxx

  8. Oh my god, Amara, this is me! Amazing.

    I had always just known I would be a mother. It was not even a question for me. It's part of me, a mother in me. Now, every birthday since 36, when the man I loved left me and my long-fluctuating health began a nosedive that led to a complete collapse, has represented a step closer to this loss too big for words, really the worst thing the illness has stolen from me. Yet, even still this past birthday at 39, there was a tiny piece of me still hoping! Then this May, I had EXACTLY your revelation:

    "Then just recently I had this revelation, I have always known that short of finding a brilliant partner to support me, that it would be impossible while I am sick to even consider mothering a child, but then I realised that there was a good chance, if current research is correct, that I could pass on this insidious beast to my child."

    And I knew then that this thing I had always been so sure of would surely never be. I can't even let it be. It's not an option even if it were a possibility.

    Like you, I always was snobby about folks who loved their pets like crazy people, but I am so bonded with my Leopold, I now am THAT person. :) In the late morning hours, he demands that I lie on my right side, then he curls up beneath my chin, and I bury my face in his fur and cup his paws in my hand, until he then tucks his head in my palm, and we sleep like that for a long time. And all day long, he is with me, attached to some body part. I saved his life two years ago and now he is saving mine. I could not make it through this time without him.

    So I hear you, I hear you, I hear you, woman.

    Now, at 39 and 1/2, if I am searingly honest with myself, I think, if I ever start to feel stronger again, I will not have it in me to devote myself entirely to another human being, a tiny life, the way I know mothers do. My friends have had to lose themselves for a period of years, as mothers. But the illness has already spent the larger part of 8 years stealing me from myself. If I ever get myself back, I will be desperate to make up for lost time, I will want to live by my whims only. Perhaps I only tell this to myself to comfort myself and make the loss more palatable, but that is what I tell myself these days. That's what seems as real as anything else.

    I am sorry your birthday was so painful. You are not alone in this. You are not alone.


  9. I had to contact you. Im not even sure how I found your blog.

    I have severe M.E and am mostly bedbound. Have had M.E for about 16 yrs now.

    I have also realized I will probably never be a mother and, just like you, realized im going to be the scary cat lady but ive come to terms with it, I think. Almost everyone of my old friends has either just had a baby this year or are now pregnant. Broody? God yes. But not as haunted by it.

    The posts of your blog are very familiar to me. M.E is a living death and i'd quite like to be reincarnated now. I had so many plans for the future. I still have plans but they are not as big now.

    If you would like to connect, commiserate or laugh at it all well I email pretty well, when I can.

    Hoping your having a better day/night


  10. I have wanted to be a mother since I could talk. I was the only child dreaming about kids and not marriage or anything else. Every single person knows how desperately I have always wanted children and yet I was a child myself when I got sick. Every birthday is horrible for me. I cry the whole day away. But my dogs are my babies. They will never fill the hole I need filled by a human child but they mean the world to me. I don't think healthy people realize just how important they are to me. I'm alone all day everyday with just them. They're there through every health, emotional and mental problem and have been a better support system than the vast majority of humans. I couldn't live without them. I know I wouldn't be here if I didn't have them. They have brought me back from the edge so many times. And yet some laugh that I call pickles my soul mate or bonsai my baby. I guess it's easier to look through the privilege of health than to try and understand the real life of someone sick.


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