Bridget Jones can have it all – but can we?

Bridget Jones is our modern-day heroine. I’ve known her for years. I’ve laughed with her, cried with her and accompanied her on her journey, with all its mishaps, failed relationships and wrong turns.
Bridget Jones Sometimes I’ve felt my life was very like hers.

I had long periods of singleness in my 30s and early 40s. I was a binge eater who ate on her feelings and battled with her weight for years. I’ve felt an irresistible pull to unavailable men who couldn’t meet my needs and, even though I’ve known I should walk away, I’ve kept going back for more. I’ve lived in a fantasy land, dreaming of my own Mr. Darcy, of marriage, a big home and kids.

I’ve walked across London Bridge with a spring in my step and a strong sense of purpose, reveling in my freedom and the wonderful city views. I’ve worked as a journalist, climbing the career ladder, ending up with a fantastic job in the media and a beautiful London flat, but like Bridget, I’ve come home alone to a large box of cereal, a crushing sense of emptiness and that painful, recurring question, ‘How on earth did I end up here?’

I’ve even written a diary – I’ve been journaling for years and blogging for the last five and I’m now writing a memoir of my own.

Yes, Bridget and I have plenty in common. At least we did, until the last film.

I saw ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ last night and laughed out loud. But I felt sadness too, when I saw the tears in Bridget’s eyes as she looked at her tiny baby on the screen – one of life’s miracles I’ll likely never experience.

I wonder what it would feel like to hear the beating heart of my baby, to feel a human being growing inside. I’m 45 now. I’ll probably never know.

I could have made different choices or things could have gone another way. I could have chosen to have a baby on my own. Or I could, like our hapless heroine, have got pregnant by accident after too much wine.

Instead, at 43 – the same age Bridget discovers she’s pregnant – I chose to give a relationship a shot with a man who didn’t want to be a dad. I decided to prioritise a loving partnership over the chance to have a biological child. I came to understand that we don’t necessarily get everything we want in life and that maybe motherhood wasn’t for me, but I could experience true love and perhaps that would be miraculous enough.

It was a gamble, in many ways. The relationship could have ended leaving me without a partner and at the end of my fertile years. As it is, I’m very much in love with my partner and delighted with my choice and I see now that I’ve always been ambivalent about children, as I wrote in my last post. Inevitably, though, I have some unresolved feelings that get triggered now and then, especially when I see women apparently ‘having it all’.

“Sometimes you just love a person just because they feel like home,” she said.

I get that Bridget Jones’s Baby is a movie and the characters are made up but I’m wondering if the story could have had a different ending – if Bridget could have ended up without a child but accepting of her path in life. As it is, she got her fairy tale ending.

So Bridget can have it all. But not all of us can. I know from statistics, studies and from speaking to many women over the years that so many of us have ended up in our 40s without the man of our dreams and without the family we always assumed we’d have.

I know it can be hard. But I also know being in love can make a huge difference. For me, love has largely filled the baby-shaped hole. And I know it’s a miracle I found love at all.

So how did I fall in love? Well, this is where Bridget’s story and mine converge once more.

“Sometimes you just love a person just because they feel like home,” she said.

That’s the choice I made too. We weren’t necessarily a match on paper or a 97% compatibility score on a dating website, but I threw away the list, let go of the fantasy of Mr. Right and went with how I felt. With my partner, I felt comfortable, grounded, at peace, safe, happy, loved and at home. Just writing that makes me smile.

Given my tumultuous past and my tortuous journey, it’s a miracle to be able to say I’m in love. I now wish the same for all my friends and all the women out there who are struggling with being 40-something, single, childless and alone.

That’s why I feel drawn to help, through my writing, through sharing my story and through intuitive coaching – helping women explore their patterns, let go of unhealthy behaviors, fall in love and create a beautiful, long-lasting relationship that feels enough, even if kids never come along.

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Katherine Baldwin
About the author

Katherine Baldwin is our Maybe No Baby Blogger. She is a writer, storyteller, coach and speaker. As a coach, Katherine specialises in helping professional women navigate the world of dating and relationships and fall in love. She also helps men and women follow their passion and transition into more wholehearted, fulfilling lives. Katherine is writing a book about her journey from 40 to 45, a period during which she came to terms with being 40, single and childless, overcame her fear of commitment and her perfectionism and learned to fall in love. You can find out more about her work at katherinebaldwin.com, read her blog at fromfortywithlove.com and follow her on Twitter @From40WithLove

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