Showing posts with label Fertility. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fertility. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Piece of Advice #14: Realize the clock is already ticking on your fertility

The prevailing wisdom on how much time women have before their fertility begins to seriously decline is changing; it's been scaled back significantly.  For decades now girls have been taught that the right timeline for personal development goes something like: college, work, play the dating market, work overseas or go to grad school, get a serious toehold on your career, start looking for Mr. Right, find him, have a couple of kids.  It was thought that 35 was the end date you had to be wary of.  So - plenty of time, right?  Apparently not.

For this one I'll be your cautionary tale.  I followed the script with a few substitutions because my family background is conservative.  I went to college, graduated with honors, went to work overseas, returned, worked a little while then went to grad school, met my husband, married and then started trying to have a family. My husband entered my life when I was 25, almost 26, and I married him when I was 27.  We are Catholic so we didn't use birth control, but I monitored my fertility for a little under a year because he had some student loans and other debt that I wanted to discharge, and it took that long to accomplish it with both of us working.  But by the time I was 28 I was trying to have a baby.  By 30 I was undergoing infertility treatments and by 32 I'd given up - I'd gone as far with it as my religious beliefs allowed and was burning out hard on the process.  I'd had surgery, I'd taken drugs, I'd given myself numerous injections.  I'd had biweekly blood tests and ultrasounds.  All in vain.  At nearly 34 I adopted my son. (My beautiful, bright, funny, active, 100% all boy son.)

So according to what I'd been told, I started trying well before I should have had to worry.  But that's not the way it worked out.  Endometriosis got there first.

And here's another thing to consider.  Casual sex can really mess with your fertility too.  Some STD's can make you infertile.  Some can create dangers in delivering a baby.  Pro-choice activists shout from the treetops how safe abortions are, but having one (or more) can damage your future reproductive capacity too.

This was not an issue for me.  I was a virgin when I married.  No STD's, no abortions.  Still infertile, though, when it counted.

What feminism doesn't want to talk about is the dirty little secret that most women want to have babies.  They might also want fast-track careers and romance with sexy, powerful guys and Manolo Blahniks cluttering up their closets, and they may not think too hard about the babies for a good long time, but at some point biology wins out and most of them will want the babies too.

Do you know how hard it is to want a baby and not be able to make your body produce one?  I'll tell you - it's hard.  It's brutal.  It rips your heart out.  It'll make you rage.  You will not be able to walk down the street without noticing how many babies and toddlers and little children are running about.  You will read news reports about abusive, neglectful parents with a new wrathful eye.  You will go to baby showers for your fertile friends and then come home and look at that full aspirin bottle.  You will hold it in your hand and then you will slowly put it back on the shelf and flip through your calendar to locate your next fertile period.

People will tell you, "If you can't have a baby, just adopt."

These people will not know what they are talking about.  Because adopting is just as hard a process as infertility treatments and no guarantee of getting a baby.  Those pro-women feminists who told you the great news about abortion?  They neglect to mention that all those abortions eliminate all the babies that would otherwise be available for adoption.  The rest go home to single mothers, many of whom will not be able to handle motherhood well or at all.  Every white, healthy baby has about 20 would-be adoptive couples competing to be its parents.  And the mother, the pregnant girl who chooses who will have a child and who won't, is someone you might not trust to water your plants for you while you are gone on vacation.  Your social worker will put your entire life under the microscope, will mandate sessions with a counselor to determine whether you are appropriate parent material, will take a check for a seriously large amount of money, and will then call you and say something like, "Uh, I have a birthmother here.  She's a lesbian, but she had a one-nighter with her gay friend and is now considering adoption.  She drank pretty heavily early in her pregnancy, but isn't drinking much now, just smoking marijuana now and then.  Oh, and she's bipolar.  What do you think?"

And it is crazy - CRAZY - but you will listen to that and you will still want that baby so bad, you'll nod and smile and say, "When can we meet her?"  Or if you're like me, maybe you won't.  But then you won't have a baby.

The point of all this is: your fertility is important.  It is so important.  Do not discount this.  Make using it as much a priority as establishing a career or traveling abroad or buying a beautiful house.  Make it more of a priority.  Plan ahead and save yourself a great deal of heartache and soul searching.  Trust me on this.  I've been there.