, , , , ,

The first blog I ever started reading was A Little Pregnant back in 2004. A friend sent me the link and I found the blog additively hilarious and for some reason, it hit me close to home.

I don’t know why I read infertility blogs, or why I identify with people who are infertile. For some reason, on some level, I counted myself as possibly being among them.

All my life, growing up, my mother would apologize to me that she couldn’t give me brothers and sisters. My birth date is a good eight years after my parents’ wedding day, and while I know they didn’t start trying right away, they did tell me that they had to seek professional help to conceive me. My mother had me the day before she turned 33, and she never produced another child. I know, without ever being explicitly told, that my mother meant to have multiple children. She didn’t think it was healthy for me to grow up without siblings.

They’ve never told me why they had trouble conceiving me. Was it my Dad? My Mum? All I know is, I was concerned that I might have fertility issues too. I grew up knowing that some babies have to be really worked for.

Today, Julie made a post about “Preservation IVF”.

Essentially, some cock-sure 30 year old has decided to have IVF and store the embryos so that she can have kids whenever she wants in the future, instead of feeling the time crunch. First of all, I don’t understand – producing eggs is not the only aspect of pregnancy. You have to  be able to carry those embryos. You can’t stick ’em in a 50 year old and expect them to implant. Menopause is still a barrier, frozen babies or no.

But even if she could do that successfully, is it wise? It made me think of a rant I heard when I announced my pregnancy at work.

“I’m so glad you’re having kids young!” burbled a permanently youthful volunteer who doesn’t seem old enough to be a grandmother already. “I really don’t like all these people who wait until they’re forty to have kids. Then they discover that they can’t get pregnant any more, they panic, adopt, and then they find out that they are so set in their ways that they don’t like parenting. The kids exhaust them and disrupt their lives. The generation gap is so wide that it gets in the way of having fun.  You need to have kids when you’re young, and flexible. There’s a reason why women are fertile at 20, and not 40.”

I know she was thinking of some of my coworkers, who are in their forties and adopted their children after battles with infertility. While they love their kids, they don’t seem to enjoy their company. One told me that she dreads Friday and looks forward to Monday, when the kids are in school. It made me sad to hear that. I remember one day when I was little, there was a snow day and my mother and I danced with joy at getting to spend an unexpected day off together. That’s how it should be.

Maybe this volunteer had a point.

I know that I’ll find my kids exhausting at times, and that there will be moments when I will rejoice in being free of them for a bit. But I certainly can’t imagine that waiting until I am older would make things easier in that department. I won’t have more energy, more patience, or more flexibility when I am forty. Then again, maybe some people just enjoy their children more, and age has nothing to do with it.

Is it smart to hold off having kids, or are women waiting too long? This doctor thinks we are. He says that women need to be convinced that earlier is better. If you do have an actual medical condition like PCOS or endometriosis that reduces your fertility, starting young gives you that many more rounds of IVF. If you are healthy and fertile, and assume that this gives you the gift of time, you may discover one day that the time is gone.

Then again, we’ve been told that you should wait for your career to be well established, your finances to be stable. Babies are expensive, even in Canada where medical care is free. Nor do I like it when I see people who have children thoughtlessly, without realizing how much their lives will change or how much effort is going to be involved. That’s sad, too.

Is there a balance between job/money and youth/energy? Where do we find that balance?

Are babies being over thought, or is financial stability worth the risk of infertility?