May 11, 2013
Many of you reading this have already bid adieu to your twenties. Our scientific brains know that it would have been better to have tried to have children at that time. Babies born to mothers in their twenties are less likely to have issues like Down Syndrome, pregnancies are less complicated, and twenty-year-old bodies recover from pregnancy more easily.
But life happens. It takes a while to find the person you want to create a family with, and sometimes you never meet that person. Also, you need an education and a job, and then your mother gets sick and needs your help, and then your job transfers you to another city, and then.... There are plenty of societal and emotional reasons to wait until you are in your 30s or 40s to have children. I waited, and while I am glad for all the experiences my twenties and thirties brought, I probably should have started earlier. Just one more cause for "woman's guilt!"
This weekend my children are vomiting everywhere. I suspect one of them licked something at the playground. About an hour ago, I went to the pharmacy to buy a second box of Gravol suppositories. At the checkout I noticed the front page of today's National Post is titled "Why women should have babies before 25." The article discusses why we should "jump in early" to parenthood and profiles two couples who bucked the trend by having children in their twenties. As an aside, Dr. Hitkari was interviewed for this article, something I had forgotten in my sleep-deprived, vomit-covered haze at the checkout.
I have to admit, my back was up when I first read the article. I felt like my life situation was inferior to those women who had children in their twenties and I felt defensive. Now that I've reflected a little more on the article, I realize I reacted that way because of my anxiety about my choices. The article makes me second guess my decision, voluntary or otherwise, to wait.
The choice to wait didn't seem voluntary to me, but I suppose it was a little within my control and a little out of my control. Egg freezing brings fertility a little more into a woman's control and should be considered by women in their twenties or thirties who have to wait to conceive. However, egg freezing does not guarantee a pregnancy nor does it reduce the pregnancy risks of being older and pregnant. It's a good option - just not a perfect one. Egg freezing or not, many women will still end up waiting into their thirties or beyond to try and conceive. Societal constructs need to change to accommodate women having families earlier for this to change. I believe our society will change for the better, but not in time for those of us at a reproductive age right now.
I'll post a link to the article if and when it becomes available on-line. For now it's the old fashion paper copy you'll need.
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