May 10, 2013
I always saw myself as having kids. I was never one of those people who wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, but when I imagined my life, I imagined a family. When my husband and I started dating, we both thought two kids was just right. And then...life happened. There was always a reason we were remaining childless. Some reasons were beyond our control (deployment), some reasons seem frivolous in retrospect (we wanted to save X amount of money before we started a family), and some reasons still seem reasonable but really weren't the deal-breaker I thought they were (I really didn't want to have a baby in Germany). And so we put it off. And even when the time came to take the plunge, we both thought we weren't ready yet.
"Not ready" is such an odd way of looking at something that later came to consume my whole world and chip away at my emotional well-being. I so quickly went from being terrified of having kids to being terrified I might not ever be able to.
I remember sitting on the sofa talking about it and being completely not ready. Scared and overwhelmed. And then one month later, as I stared in bewilderment at the negative pregnancy test and realized how much I had assumed it would be positive, I realized how silly that idea of "ready" had turned out to be. "Ready" was whatever we told ourselves we were. It was a switch that had now been turned on, and turned on full-force. Not for one moment in the entire time between that day and three years later when BabyGrok entered the world did I ever question my "readiness" again. Once you just tell yourself you're ready, you are.
What I imagine telling BabyGrok one day, or anyone else who will listen, is that now that I am an old lady, and now that I have faced my inability to procreate, I realize that I think raising a family is the whole point of us being here in the first place. To pass on our genes, our values, and our culture to the next generation. To make more people, wonderful people, to fill this earth. But it took hindsight and a lot of tragedy to realize how important it was to me.
I had the husband. I had the good marriage. I had the stable income and the nice home and the perfect setting into which to introduce children. And yet I waited...for some "more perfect" setting that I thought would happen eventually. For the heavens to open and deliver unto me an epiphany that I was now "ready" to be a parent.
I squandered the most fertile years of my life waiting for the moment when I would be "ready." Waiting for all the rest of our life to be perfectly squared away so that there were no other boxes to check or things to be done before we moved on to the next step.
I don't want other young people to make the same mistake.
The irony is that I would've had trouble creating life no matter if I started at 19 instead of 29. My DNA is crap either way. But I still would've had better chances of conceiving earlier on, and I would've hit my breaking point earlier in life and still been biologically capable of doing IVF. I waited too long to start a family, and then to compound things, I waited too long to get to my wit's end and move on to medical intervention.
What I want people to think about during Fertility Awareness Week is that most of us these days don't feel "ready" at age 24, but our fertility says otherwise. That it's a gift that waits for no promotion or graduate degree or infernal sense of "readiness."
I bought into the idea that I could wait until one day shy of 35 and everything would still be fine. I was misinformed.
What I wish I had been made more aware of is this:
Infertility and Age
In her 20′s, a woman’s chance of conceiving ranges between 20 and 25 percent each month. This is directly in relation to her relatively high number of eggs. Though by the age of 27 the average egg count has dropped by 90 percent from the time she is born, 10 percent remain. [...]
In her early 30′s, a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant drops from between 20 percent and 25 percent to approximately 15 percent monthly. This drop in percentage is a natural result of aging. As a woman ages, she produces less viable eggs each fertility cycle, hence driving upinfertilityas less eggs are available for sperm to reach. [...]
In her late 30′s–those over 35 years of age–a woman’s chance of getting pregnant falls yet again to just 10 percent per month.
I screwed up and can never go back and use my time more wisely. As a result, I will be the nutjob urging BabyGrok to have a baby by 25.
And urging her to have more than two!
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