I am not one for issuing ultimatums, neither do I expect to have them thrust upon me. I was open from the get-go about the fact that having children wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list. We agreed that we’d been lucky to find each other – we wanted the same things and shared the same outlook. Ironically we both have excellent children skills – friends and family always commented on this and the usual nods and winks cater-pillared a room like a Mexican wave. We would share a conspiratorial raise of the eyebrows, later congratulating ourselves on a lazy start to our Sunday.
Recently the balance had shifted – at first it was just a feeling, that gentle gnawing at the back of your mind when your subconscious has picked up on something yet to be fully expressed. I seemed to be invited to look at a lot more photos of colleagues and their newborns. I noticed lingering looks when we were out and a couple with a child sat nearby. Invitations to hold tightly swaddled babies were gladly taken up and polite acceptance became a reluctance to hand the precious bundle back to their hovering parent. I could convince myself that I was being over sensitive until the arguments started to become more frequent. Confusing arguments that started over something trivial and then progressed – tantamount to personal attacks.
The relationship began to wilt, wither and fall away. I felt the roots rotting and knew that we would soon topple. The ultimatum was too heavy for our untethered union to bear. He hacked at me with his hurt as if to bleed me into submission. On the day that he walked out I faced him as he spewed his pain in a torrent of barbed words. My hands rested protectively across my middle – I couldn’t be provoked to change my mind. I told him – if he wanted to have a child he needed to move on and find the person he was meant to build a life with – it wasn’t ever going to be me. I was not prepared to betray myself to fulfill a longing deep within him. Mine was not his womb for hire.