I am staring down the barrel of a lonely future without a man, let alone children.
And how do I find myself in this perilous position? One reason is undoubtedly that men like young women. Yes, I was young once and all that. In my 20s and 30s I wasn't exactly a supermodel, but I was constantly surrounded by men. The trouble is I wasn't necessarily looking to settle down back then...
She has now had to accept that she is too old to have children of her own. And it has made her desolate:
I can't tell you how painful not having a child is...It physically hurts me. Right where a baby would grow.
It is overwhelming to know that my legacy begins and ends with me. So no "family gathering" photographs of me and mine with my siblings and theirs; no proudly watching my kid grow up; no natural place in life's cycle. You, mums, have created the next generation. A new wonderful lineage – of children and probably grandchildren – who are yours and you are theirs.
If you think these are the bitter rantings of a woman who f... up her own life and is just jealous … you'd be 100% right. It kills me that you have the baby and I don't. Why didn't it happen for me? I always wanted children, assumed I would have children and didn't have children because I was only ever in one relationship that was serious enough...
At 40, still on my own, I found out I was too old for NHS IVF, had no money and so put my head in the "I'm always reading about women who have babies in their 40s!" sand.
Then my dad died. Grief reassessed my life for me. (People want to create when someone dies. A book, a painting, a child.) I got brave and had fertility tests, which told me, at 46, that my chances of having a baby are pretty much zero.
Then it hit me just how much I wanted a baby and that nothing I have now means anything because that love is the love and I don't have it and won't have it, and therefore have nothing.
That love is the key, isn't it? The reason I'm so upset – and the reason mums should be so grateful. We're told the love between mother and child is the most beautiful, fulfilling emotion in the world – the feeling that finally makes sense of our existence. I don't know because I haven't experienced it – but if the agony of knowing I won't have it is any yardstick, then I would change every decision I ever made that led me to this horrible place.
I've had people I love die in front of me, but even that horror doesn't compare. This rips you (and your future) apart because, as my friend who has been through this said, as I wept over her once again: "You won't heal – because this is deep in you. What you're supposed to do. What's inside us to do. What we're born to do. And you didn't do it."
I will never be pregnant, never be protected by the father of my child, never be loved as the mother of his child, never love like you love, and never be loved as you're loved. I will never mean as much to anyone as you do.
That's one of the problems with delayed family formation. Middle-class women get only a small window of opportunity (30 to 35) in which they are supposed to get serious about finding a husband and then having children before their fertility begins to run down. It's inevitable that significant numbers of women will miss out unnecessarily, particularly those who drift through the critical small window of opportunity.
In the United States now 25% of university educated women aged 40 to 44 are childless. That compares to a general rate of childlessness in the post-War boom of about 10%.
At the moment 30 is thought to be the crunch time for middle-class women, but it would be wiser if this were brought back a few years, to give a more realistic period of time for meeting someone, going out, getting engaged, getting married and then having children.
That makes more sense than a last minute rush, when women (and men) have perhaps become habituated to a singles lifestyle, when 30-something women will be competing with a younger cohort of women, and when men have not been given a clear signal to prepare for the roles of husband and father.