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Fertility is not infinite
If you want kids, better get cracking.


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#1 prue~c

Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:35 PM

A few weeks ago, I was at a bbq when I got into a rather awkward conversation with a woman I slightly know.

She was having a cuddle with my boys, and said she couldn't wait until she had children. I know she is in either her very late 30s to early 40s, and is in a steady relationship, so I asked her what she was waiting for. "The right time,"¯ she replied. "I've just got too much stuff I want to do first. It's never too late!"

I just couldn't help myself. Call me rude, tell me it's none of my business, but yes, I told her she was running out of time. Rapidly. If she was so keen on having kids, she needed to start trying, sooner rather than once she had done all of her "stuff"¯. Stuff is always there. Fertility is not.

Scrolling through my list of friends on Facebook the other day, it struck me how a good number of these women, many hitting the big 35, were child-free. Many of them are old school friends. I went to a selective school which prized education, career and academic achievement above all else. Every issue, the Old Girls' newsletter is filled with the career stories of past students but the valete never recalls how great a mother the deceased was.

To my great embarrassment, I never even knew how to get pregnant until I actually wanted to. Of course I knew the mechanics of the whole affair, but sex-ed at school focussed on how to avoid pregnancy, with condom on the banana type stuff. Not once was it mentioned that if you wanted kids, you better get cracking before 35. It was all about HSC, uni, then of course post-grad studies, travel, career, meet a partner, buy a house, then a few years later, start thinking about starting a family.

So I look back on the Class of '93 and see a bucketload of over-achievers. Lots of mums - which one expects in a class of almost 200 girls - but also lot of women whose biological clocks are ticking like crazy.

Of course it's perfectly fine to be child-free by choice - some of my best mates are -  but what about those who don't choose it. I have a girlfriend who hadn't met the right¯ guy by her late 30s, so she took matters into her own hands and visited her local fertility clinic. Four miscarriages and ten IVF cycles later, she is the mother of a gorgeous girl, but she never expected it to take five years to get there, just scraping in to motherhood by 45.

Because IVF, that great saviour for the career girls and those who didn't meet Mr Right until later, is lauded as the solution. Only by the time you get to the stage where you need it, it becomes apparent that it's not necessarily the safety net the mass media had promised.

And while recent comments by a prominent obstetrician suggesting older¯ mothers were selfish, condemning their offspring to a life taking care of geriatric parents were greeted with outrage, I agree with him to an extent. Not that women of a certain age shouldn't be having kids, but that if they want them, and KNOW they want them, they should pull their socks up and get on with the job.

Many years ago, I made a pact with three gay friends that if I hadn't met The Guy by 35, one of them would put his hand down for the job. Given that they now live in Shanghai, San Francisco and Paris, it's lucky my now-husband came along. Would I have been prepared to put in the call had he not arrived? Probably not. To tell you the truth, until I met him, I wasn't even sure I wanted kids, and I definitely didn't want to be a solo mother. But I know there are plenty of women out there who want the child more than they want the relationship and to you, I say go out and investigate your options. And to those who are in relationships and waiting for the 'right time'¯, get on with it and stop practising. As one of my best friends once told me (who went the solo route at 27), you'l never regret the children you have, just the ones you don't.

Edited by EBeditor, 14 November 2011 - 09:41 PM.


#2 Dionysus

Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:43 PM

I am 38 and struggling to conceive my second child (I thank 'whoever' everyday that I do have one gorgeous daughter already)

I didn't meet DH till I was 32, married at 34, had DD at 35 - I knew my clock was ticking.

Poor DH is 9 years younger than me!  LOL

DH's friends' girlfriends/partners/wives are in their 20's and treading the same path I did - career and house first, babies later, much to my chagrin.

My biggest regret in life is that I didn't hit 30 and say "Ok, well Mr Right isn't here yet, let's freeze some eggs"

#3 prue~c

Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:46 PM

Yep CherryAmes. You got there as I was editing on screenon the ipad. . Cue red face.



#4 Guest_ToddlerTamer_*

Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:56 PM

Yes, I agree OP. There is so much in the media about women having babies later in life (especially celebrities), people seem to think it is the norm. After I gave birth to DS at age 36, my OB told me to get straight onto TTCing if we wanted another. DH on the other hand, plus friends and family, kept saying I had lots of time. Even now that I have just turned 42, people are still asking me if we will be trying for our next child soon. We've decided just to have the one, and I sometimes find it easier to joke around and say "I'm too old now". People all say I'm not though.  unsure.gif  blink.gif

Then I have a friend who is 41 and still looking for Mr Right (in bars and nightclubs) so that she can get married and then have a baby. I've gently suggested that if she is desperate for a child (which she says she is), she might have to go it on her own, not wait for Mr Right. She said "no, that won't be necessary, I've still got time". Mmmm, ok ....  unsure.gif

That's not to say women can't and don't have babies in their early 40's, and that's great if they are happy doing that. I just worry about friends who are in their early 40's and think they have all the time in the world ......

#5 hollysmama

Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:56 PM

I think it's just that we don't realise what we don't have until we have it.  I know many married women my age and older that aren't even thinking about children yet and I always think to myself, what are you waiting for?  But life is so easy without kids and people always say that you have to make these huge sacrifices when you have them that it gets couples thinking they have to be financially stable and get all their 'stuff' out of the way before they have them.  Then when the time does come it's too late. I was one of those people who just wanted to get it out of the way. I met DH at 26, then had my first at 30.  I may not have been ready at the time, but I didn't want to leave it any longer and I'm so glad I didn't.

#6 Likeemunusual

Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:58 PM

I've just hit 30 and had the same thought - forget what is or isn't done and just get on with it. So I am in the prep stages of TTC. We will hopefully start trying mid-next year.

#7 Guest_ToddlerTamer_*

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:05 PM

Also, a colleague at work just had a baby at age 32. She and her husband had been planning to have kids eventually, but this baby was "an accident", she said. She was saying how annoyed she was that she'd fallen pregnant accidentally and had a child so early, as she'd wanted to wait a few years. I told her that I thought 32 was actually a good age to have a baby, but she said it was going to stuff up their plans.  sad.gif

#8 ubermum

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:08 PM

My husband and I wanted to wait till it was "the right time". When I hit 30, we decided we would just do it. I knew someone with fertility problems and definitely wanted to have two before 35, just in case. The thing is, it's never the right time. Your career can always be further progressed, you can always own more and have more money. Fertility however, cannot be bought, IVF doesn't always work and some people have been struck with menopause at a young age.

To be perfectly honest, if I had my time over, we would have kids in the year after we married. Which for me, would have been 25.

#9 prue~c

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:18 PM

QUOTE
QUOTE
you'l never regret the children you have, just the ones you don't.
People regret their children every single day.

Stop spouting this bullsh*t.


Just quoting a friend Ferdinand. original.gif

#10 Guest_Spring Chickadee_*

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:22 PM

I'm one who chose to start a family early. I was lucky in that I met my dh so early in life so was married with a home and in a 'ready' position to begin ttc my my early twenties. To my surprise even though I'd gotten in early we still faced many challenges and are continuing to face them.  

My FS noted numerous times that I am incredibly lucky I didn't leave things until my thirties as my problems would have worsened and would be compounded by higher miscarriage rates and lower quality eggs.  

Also I guess I feel some (only a little) comfort knowing my clock isn't ticking. If it takes another year or 2 I won't risk loosing my chances entirely of having a child.  Many may disagree with my choice to start my family now, but now that I've hit so many problems I am very happy I have chosen to.

Edited by Spring Chickadee, 13 November 2011 - 06:23 PM.


#11 cinnabubble

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:40 PM

QUOTE (Ferdinand @ 13/11/2011, 07:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You are also oversimplifying things and perpetuating a myth, probably on purpose to get more replies and thus more people reading.

Your 'friend' is wrong.

Oh no! Fairfax is employing bloggers who try to get more people reading! Hold the front page.

FWIW, I disagree with Prue's friend. BUt I also had children when I was 36 and 40 and didn't even start trying until 36, so I'm not a good example of her message.

#12 Guest_HappyLarry_*

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:49 PM

How do you know she wasn't TTC but just wanted to enjoy the BBQ and not dicsuss such issues with someone she bearly knew?

Either way I hope she doesn't follow your blog.

#13 JinksNewton

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:51 PM

QUOTE
I am 38 and struggling to conceive my second child (I thank 'whoever' everyday that I do have one gorgeous daughter already)


I'm in the same position as *Mel* and am actually starting to wonder if the luck that gave us our son has run out. There's been a fair bit of self-recrimination on my part, as my DH was the one pushing for fertility testing (before we had DS), and I put him off for a couple of years...if I had gotten cracking I may have gotten that second child. Of course, then we wouldn't have the DS that I have and adore now, so it's all a bit pointless speculating. I do think I'm regretting the child I don't have though, so it's true for some.

Just wish someone had told me that just because my mother and grandmothers all only went through menopause at around 50, it doesn't mean that my body will be as co-operative and long lasting.

Edited by redkris, 13 November 2011 - 06:51 PM.


#14 Nobody Cool

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:51 PM

The angle on all these fertility stories of late is really starting to irk me. Why do all these cautionary tales about fertility b**ch slap women for their choices while completely ignoring the fact that men have a significant role to play as well?

Paraphrasing myself from another recent thread because it is relevant to the topic but I do bristle at the constant emphasis/blame levelled at women in these stories. Men are active participants when it comes to the question of if and when to conceive a child as well, however they are always totally invisible in the discussion.

Why do we never see stories about men "pushing their luck too far" or using IVF as a "get out of jail free card" or being selfish for wanting to have a career or "do stuff" before starting a family. Sure, they might think that they have a longer shelf life when it comes to their own fertility and they might even be right but their female partners certainly don't.

What does the male partner from the OP think about all this? Was he questioned, judged, cautioned? Why is it phrased that "she" is running out of time, "she" needs to start trying, not "they" or "the couple"?

Why aren't we holding men accountable for these decisions as well? The decision to conceive a baby and the necessary resources required to achieve it require a male and a female participant (sperm + egg). Why is it only women who are considered selfish, irresponsible or deluded for delaying the decision to procreate?

Edited by Shady Lane, 13 November 2011 - 06:57 PM.


#15 prue~c

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:52 PM


QUOTE
You are also oversimplifying things and perpetuating a myth, probably on purpose to get more replies and thus more people reading.

Your 'friend' is wrong.


She's not wrong. She is telling me her own experience. That is what this blog is about - personal experience.

You say some people regret their children, but in the instance of this blog post, as it is abundantly clear, I am talking about mature women who are more than capable of making choices about their parenting status.

But does anyone really regret having their kids? Those who have made a conscious, informed decision to have them? They may mourn their previous life, but to regret the children they have?

Oh and I don't write to bait. I love to engage and banter with people, but I'm not marked on how many responses there are to my posts



#16 prue~c

Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:57 PM

Shady Lane I aim this post at women because it is the WOMAN whose fertility is finite.

Once you hit 35, your fertility starts to plummet. A man can father children well into his twilight years. Some women are not partnered by the time the clock starts to tick, and might want to take matters into her own hands.






Edited by prue~c, 13 November 2011 - 07:00 PM.


#17 iamcityreader

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:00 PM

QUOTE (Shady Lane @ 13/11/2011, 07:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The angle on all these fertility stories of late is really starting to irk me. Why do all these cautionary tales about fertility b**ch slap women for their choices while completely ignoring the fact that men have a significant role to play as well?


This ^^^

Also - maybe it's because I went to public high school in a regional area - but I'm class of '97 (32 years old) and you can count on one hand the amount of girls from my year that haven't had at least one child, and the vast majority are married or engaged.  

Not sure if that's a demographic difference or an age thing (had it hounded into us by medical experts in the media about declining fertility)

#18 Nobody Cool

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:00 PM

QUOTE (prue~c @ 13/11/2011, 07:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Shady Lane I aim this post at women because it is the WOMAN whose fertility is finite.

Once you hit 35, your fertility starts to plummet. A man can father children well into his twilight years. Some women are not partnered by the time the clock starts to tick, and might want to take matters into their own hands.



So if the man from the OP and his partner realise that they are too late and her fertility window has closed it's OK because he can just dump her and trade up for a younger model because his swimmers are still just fine and he is in no rush?

Fertility is an issue that affects couples. Not just women.

The issue of single women is a slightly different story. I was just using the example from your original post to illustrate my point.

Edited by Shady Lane, 13 November 2011 - 07:04 PM.


#19 FeralRebelWClaws

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:00 PM

I guess I am one of "those" people. I'm 31 in January.

Up until 6 months ago, I was still saying no babies for me! That was my stance when DP and I got together. I haven't yet told him that I do want children. I would hazard a guess that he won't be surprised. But that is different to telling him flat out, that I do want to be a mother (perhaps I can turn it on him, and say it's his  fault for having lovely children?? hehehe)

I don't think he would deny me the chance to be a mother, as he is a father. However, he has said he doesn't want anymore, so I don't know how he will respond, I am the one changing the goal posts, not him. If he does respond positively, well then we still have to wait. I won't want to do it, if it puts us as a family as we currently as under more financial pressure (I know there will be some financial pressure, but not to the point of stress.)

Everyone (as in friends) are telling me not to worry about financial issues etc and there is never a right time etc etc. But I would want to get married first. Plus my wage pays the mortgage. We have little in savings atm as we've been putting money into doing stuff for the house. I don't want to have to go back to work after my mat leave runs out in 4 months, so I would need to save the money to pay the mortgage for the other 8 months. I have calculated it would take me about 18 months to save it. Plus we couldn't afford childcare, but my mother lives with us, and has said that she would look after the baby once I go back to work, but she would need to retire to do that and needs to pay off some debt first.

In my head if everything went according to plan, I'd start TTC when I was 33/34. I am aware of the risks of waiting until then though... and I am fatalistic about these things and if I couldn't have a baby, then I'm just not meant to.


#20 Jane Jetson

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:01 PM

QUOTE (prue~c @ 13/11/2011, 06:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Because IVF, that great saviour for the career girls and those who didn't meet Mr Right until later, is lauded as the solution. Only by the time you get to the stage where you need it, it becomes apparent that it's not necessarily the safety net the mass media had promised.


Oh please.

No need to be patronising to "career girls" (I prefer "career woman," thanks). As a group we are no denser than any other about IVF or anything else, for that matter.

And who in their right mind would breed with Mr Wrong?


#21 cinnabubble

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:11 PM

QUOTE
And who in their right mind would breed with Mr Wrong?

Have you visited the Relationships subforum?

Edited by cinnabubble, 13 November 2011 - 07:12 PM.


#22 Jane Jetson

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:13 PM

QUOTE (cinnabubble @ 13/11/2011, 08:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have you visited the Relationships subforum?


Heh. Okay, who, then, when unpartnered, would deliberately go out and get knocked up to some random?

Edited for lousy grammar

Edited by gingermeg, 13 November 2011 - 07:14 PM.


#23 michie0moo

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:15 PM

QUOTE (HappyLarry @ 13/11/2011, 06:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How do you know she wasn't TTC but just wanted to enjoy the BBQ and not dicsuss such issues with someone she bearly knew?

Either way I hope she doesn't follow your blog.


I don't tend to discuss my personal life with people I barely know. For all you know, she has been trying for years and uses "the right time" line as a deflection.

QUOTE (Shady Lane @ 13/11/2011, 06:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The angle on all these fertility stories of late is really starting to irk me. Why do all these cautionary tales about fertility b**ch slap women for their choices while completely ignoring the fact that men have a significant role to play as well?

Paraphrasing myself from another recent thread because it is relevant to the topic but I do bristle at the constant emphasis/blame levelled at women in these stories. Men are active participants when it comes to the question of if and when to conceive a child as well, however they are always totally invisible in the discussion.

Why do we never see stories about men "pushing their luck too far" or using IVF as a "get out of jail free card" or being selfish for wanting to have a career or "do stuff" before starting a family. Sure, they might think that they have a longer shelf life when it comes to their own fertility and they might even be right but their female partners certainly don't.

What does the male partner from the OP think about all this? Was he questioned, judged, cautioned? Why is it phrased that "she" is running out of time, "she" needs to start trying, not "they" or "the couple"?

Why aren't we holding men accountable for these decisions as well? The decision to conceive a baby and the necessary resources required to achieve it require a male and a female participant (sperm + egg). Why is it only women who are considered selfish, irresponsible or deluded for delaying the decision to procreate?


This. Deciding to start trying for a child was a joint decision in our house.

QUOTE (prue~c @ 13/11/2011, 06:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Shady Lane I aim this post at women because it is the WOMAN whose fertility is finite.

Once you hit 35, your fertility starts to plummet. A man can father children well into his twilight years. Some women are not partnered by the time the clock starts to tick, and might want to take matters into her own hands.


Male fertility also declines after 35. The drop is less dramatic than for women, but sperm quality definitely deteriorates.

QUOTE (Shady Lane @ 13/11/2011, 07:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So if the man from the OP and his partner realise that they are too late and her fertility window has closed it's OK because he can just dump her and trade up for a younger model because his swimmers are still just fine and he is in no rush?

Fertility is an issue that affects couples. Not just women.

The issue of single women is a slightly different story. I was just using the example from your original post to illustrate my point.



#24 Illiterati

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:15 PM

QUOTE
but in the instance of this blog post, as it is abundantly clear, I am talking about mature women who are more than capable of making choices about their parenting status.


Yes, they are. So what is the point of your blog post? The perspective of your experience?  But it is not a new perspective. This has been a oft discussed scenario and the subject of many articles and books.

QUOTE
How do you know she wasn't TTC but just wanted to enjoy the BBQ and not dicsuss such issues with someone she bearly knew?


This.  


#25 Mung bean

Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:18 PM

QUOTE (cinnabubble @ 13/11/2011, 08:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have you visited the Relationships subforum?


lol this is true.

Some of the things I have read lately have horrified me, not sure which thread but someone took me right back to the 1950's, it involved having the house spotless the kids in bed and the husbands favourite food items available when he returned.




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