Thursday, January 31, 2013

What should we say to other women?

Lately I've been pondering what to say to the women in my life who I'll call "waiters."  I'm not talking about women who are single, or may never want children.  I'm talking about the ones who are in relationships, happy and stable ones that have lasted several years (sometimes more than 5), actively talk about wanting children, and aren't having any because they are "waiting."  I'm not alone in this pondering either.  Here's an article about how older parents are changing everything we know about society.  Worth the read, I'd say.

On the one hand, from the outside, I'm a weirdo.  Got married very young for this day and age, had first child just after finishing undergrad 1.0, so she can look like a surprise rather than very carefully planned.  If you look at the (absurdly vast and torturous) amount of school I've attended since, it makes a lot of sense that we wouldn't have had another child in that time because nobody has children while in school (ahahahahahah... how wrong our perceptions of college students today are...).  Aside from the Grand Faceb.ook Pregnancy Announcement, I have not really talked about our lousy fertility with anyone aside from a friend who also has PCOS.

I'm not sure how to put it delicately to friends/family either, or if it ought to be delicate at all.  Infertility stinks and you are increasing your odds by waiting to even try.  Yes, if you aren't "ready" for a real reason (we have no jobs or healthcare, we are about to lose our house/housing, we are seriously ill), wait by all means.  But I really worry that with all the stories of successful ART in older couples, folks in their 20s have zero sense of declining fertility and increasing risk of birth defects and other ickiness like developmental delays and all that jazz.

I sort of feel like I have the responsibility to share my story so the myth of awesome fertility into your 40s goes away, and to go with it, the myth that infertility only happens to women 35+.  But then I think, "But is it worth it? What if I'd just make people annoyed with me?"  I hate the mommy wars with a passion, and I'm all about making the right choices for you and your family.  My worry is that so many people are making choices without understanding the consequences that they'll kick themselves later.

And of course, I'm shy.  It hurts a lot to talk about waiting a year to get pregnant and have it end in miscarriage twice including a d&c just before finals (super stress! Terribly healthy).  But then I consider that PCOS is hereditary and I have female relatives in exactly this "waiting" zone who may have no idea they have it because of taking oral contraceptives for years (probably almost 20 for one of my cousins with zero children).

So I never know what to say and I haven't said anything yet, but I feel like I shouldn't wait either.  On the one side, I hate squashing the fun of being young with "you won't be young forever and you may not magically be fertile so don't wait forever!" doom and gloom.  On the other hand, I hate the idea that someone who has a choice to wait or not is waiting and winds up with an infertility heart break.


  1. I started to TTC when I was 25, and it took 3 years to get L and now the second time around who knows, but we are looking at a year plus for sure, even with treatments. I have a 40 year old friend who is a mom, got pregnant on her first try at 38 and is totally blind to how difficult it can be and is frustrated after two months of TTC while she is still breastfeeding her 1.5 yo. I have tried a couple of different times to tell her that she should wait, I sent her info on FSH and AMH testing, and it's all fallen on a deaf ear. She just doesn't want to hear me yet, you know?

    So I just share my story in as vague as possible and let people infer what they will. i try not to provide any advice unless people point blank ask for it. But man do I want to shake people sometimes. it's hard!

  2. This is a very interesting post and you ask really important questions. Just the other day I was sitting across from my 37 year old friend who told me she just wouldn't be ready to have kids for another FIVE YEARS! And her husband is already 47! She at least has some inkling of what that might entail and is talking about freezing her eggs and freezing her man's sperm, but still. I think she is waiting for the perfect time and I try to tell her there will be no perfect time. If you want to do it, you should probably get on it.

    But I think PP's advice is valuable. Just tell your story and let them infer from there. Advice that isn't asked for or wanted be heard p, but maybe by hearing your story a seed will be planted.