I had an epiphany the other day. It came to me in my newsfeed on Facebook and I am seriously thankful to the friend that posted it for me to stumble upon.
Survey Reveals the "Ideal Age" for Women to Have Children - And It's Total Nonsense by Monica Bielanko
The writer addresses an important piece of this puzzle; a generalized and accepted belief that there is an "ideal age" for women to become mothers.
We are anchored in our belief systems. Some of these we accepted without considering any other perspective, and until we sit down to reflect... we have no idea how limiting they can be. I guess you really do have to be careful about what you buy into in life.
Way back when... in the very beginning; when I excitedly purchased pregnancy tests and baby name books. I gathered all the information I could on the subject. It was then I read the ideal age for a woman to conceive and bear children was her early 20's and the doctor's agreed.
|Biological Clock - Vivienne Strauss|
I was somewhere between 21 and 22 at the time. I accepted this as fact. I set my biological clock against the statistic. I used it as my baseline when judging the likelihood of conception; and it was my guideline when I weighed how much hope would be acceptable at certain times.
As I get further away from that age; I tell myself my chances are just getting slimmer with every day that passes.
I hang on two key points;
- You are at least 9 years from your fertile prime.
- There is no way it's going to happen NOW if it didn't happen THEN.
Would it be a coincidence that this article popped up just days after my 33rd birthday? I don't know but it sure was good timing for a change in perspective and one of the best things about life is that we can always start over. No matter how old we are.
What if the Mr. and I waited until we were in our 30's to get married?
We could have waited. It's not like I was feeling pressure to get married BECAUSE I wanted to start having children at the ripe ol' age of 20. I just knew that I wanted to spend my life with this person. So, I went ahead and made that commitment. We were no where near "settled down." We were working on getting established in our careers; we built a business and our home. We were also having a LOT of fun. Having a family, it was on the list but it wasn't actually scheduled anywhere in our master plan. We just figured it would happen. And then it didn't.
In retrospect it's easier to see that the expectation of children was rooted in the fact that we had gotten married. Married people are supposed to have children and they aren't supposed to wait years and years to do so. People do not typically get married young, grow together and THEN have children.
Had we waited to get married until we were in our 30's; infertility wouldn't have presented itself as an issue. It would never have hit the radar. I was lucky. I found my love at the age of 17 and I married him when I was 20. What has dawned on me is that.... this, in and of itself does not constitute the expectation of babies to immediately follow. We could be the couple to set a NEW "statistic." You know, those people who got pregnant after 15 years of marriage. Heck, maybe even 20!
While it may still never happen... (believe me, I am not letting that possibility get away) there is no reason we should accept that our days are labeled and therefore numbered. If the Mr. and I were newlyweds... we'd still be excited and hopeful.
This sounds like dangerous territory for a girl in my position I know. But really, is there any other way to truly live?
The fact that it hasn't happened yet has lead me closer to the conclusion that it will never happen. I am not sure that is a fair way to judge the situation.
Does the fact that something has not occurred erase all possibility that it will never happen in the future? Or does it just mean your getting even closer to your turn?
I know I am not getting any younger but the fact of the matter is, I am not that old. I don't think that I am the only woman out there who has felt this way and it's not the first time I have reminded myself that women are having children into their 40's these days. Thing is; that long-ago accepted belief that my prime years were behind me always prevailed over my own inner voice.
The infamous biological clock syndrome is probably inevitable but that doesn't mean we all have to synchronize watches. Are we buying into a theory that no longer applies? We are living longer; shouldn't the "ideal age" to reproduce (if there can actually be one) rise in proportion?
In 1960 my paternal grandmother gave birth to my father at the age of 38. Certainly, this was unconventional for the times. I often wonder if this was by choice or circumstance. I am willing to bet that my grandmother had every reason to give up hoping for a child before she had one. I wonder if she ever did and I really wish that she were here today....I could ask her.
Either way, I am pretty sure everything happened as it was supposed to. Not one day too late; not one day too soon.
After reading this article I wanted to find this woman and squeeze her in the biggest bear hug for writing this and for sharing it. It has sparked within me a new will to start over. Letting go of the past allows me to start out on a new path. I have no control over the outcome and I am not afraid. I will ground myself in all the love that surrounds me and know that it is enough.
I really hope that more women feel empowered to set their biological clock to their own pace and are relieved of the constant ticking.
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