There's probably not a woman on earth who doesn't know that female fertility generally starts on a downward slide from mid-thirties onwards and the longer you delay the less chance you have of conceiving naturally. Thus my feelings on wanting to start a family now come from quite a rational place, not a very emotional one. If I could put it off till 50 if nature allowed, would I? Probably yes. But the reality is tick, tock, tick, tock...
I turned 35 last summer but it was only at Christmas that I said to my husband I wanted to start trying for a baby and started mentioning terms like 'ovulation sticks', 'fertility calendar', 'period tracker app' and all the other slightly icky things that come with taking these things seriously.
He never looked particularly delighted at these conversations but then I was reassured as I knew from the vast majority of my friends that it's rarely the man in the relationship that kicks these things off and he is usually a bit reluctant to start with. The woman decides when the time is right for the couple, then they try and if they're lucky they have a baby and the new daddy is won round and acknowledges that being a parent is the best thing that has ever happened to him. This is what I've been told and this is what I envisaged happening anyway. If only.
First a bit of background. We've been together 10 years and married for almost four of those. We met through friends and he's a couple of years younger than me but it really was love at first sight and we always assumed it would be forever. We've had few ups and downs but nothing major and certainly nothing to make us think that we ever had any deep problems.
The issue of having children never seemed very important when we got together, not even when we got married to be honest. I think we both assumed it was one of those things where we'd both end up wanting the same thing around the same time, eventually.
This all changed last Sunday. He couldn't keep the truth from me any longer but he'd known in his heart of hearts for a while. He knows that he just never, ever wants children and the prospect of having them leaves him feeling cold.
Of course, I could decide I loved him so much that I'd forgo the chance of becoming a mother, but he's thought it all through already. He knows I'd end up resenting him, maybe not now but later on in life when my friends' children are turning into interesting adults and I end up jealous of them while having a similar-shaped void in my life.
And if I forced him to have a child he really didn't want we'd probably end up splitting up anyway and he'd end up resenting me and the child and all the strings attached that he's clear he doesn't want.
There is no compromise when you arrive in this place. There really isn't. That's just it and it's a shock.
We still love each other and we're best friends but we want each other to be happy for the rest of our lives and there is no alternative but to split up.
So here I am. 35 years old and wanting children and soon to be on my own again after 10 mostly happy years of a relationship. My life is a mess and I'm not quite sure how I got here.
The pain is a physical dull ache inside me and I know it will probably take months to disappear. Less than a week into the rest of my life and the only solace is that things must get better because they couldn't possibly get any worse.
Next: The separation begins
More:Is It Just Me?
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