How many of you think that if you didn’t know that a woman was faced with complications related to childbirth after a certain age, you’d be more ok with Mr. Right taking his sweet time to find you (or you taking your sweet time to find him)?
(I am raising my hand since you can’t see me.)
As I mentioned in the last entry, I did think I’d be having kids in my mid-20s, but now I know I wasn’t ready. And to be honest, I could easily continue to be “not ready” for 10 more years. After all, this means my schedule of staying up all night doing whatever I want will be changed dramatically and I will suddenly be responsible for a little one who will depend almost solely on me for its first year of life. It is not easy. However, fear of what my reproductive system might be like ten years from now means I really don’t feel like I have the luxury to keep putting off marriage and the children I want (though if I’m honest, I have no desire to put off getting married one minute longer).
I took a human physiology course and it was there I was told that a woman’s eggs begin to decrease in quantity and quality after a certain age. I remember thinking I had so much time. I can’t remember much else except that we are born with all the eggs we’ll ever have, which is over a million. By the time we hit puberty, we still have a lot left (about 300,000 according to a site I just checked) and we begin losing them one by one during menstruation, and by the time menopause arrives, most of our eggs are gone. In addition to the quantity of eggs we have, after your mid-30s, their quality deteriorates too, and for women who do get pregnant, there is a greater chance that they will face complications related to the pregnancy, including possible genetic complications.
This is grim news, and when combined with the urge that some women get to have babies, it can add unneeded urgency to the situation. Perhaps a woman in her early 30s who meets a great guy will feel like she should try for a baby as soon as she knows her man is committed to her, even if before she wanted to experience married life without children for a while. For others, ensuring they are able to conceive as a couple prior to marriage becomes important.
But this news doesn’t have to get you down! We all know women who “beat the odds”, who became pregnant and had children later in life. We all have aunties or our own mothers, who had healthy children in their late 30s and 40s without any mishap. I love that God made our bodies the way he did, so complex and with such capabilities and complementarity between the male and female bodies, and with such differences even within the same sex. I do believe that there is a time for everything, and everything will happen in its time. I try not to let my worries over my ticking biological clock lead me into any dangerous or wrong situations, and so far, I have been blessed.
But sometimes when I play with my friends’ children, and feel that soft and trusting hand in mine, it’s hard not to wonder when my own bundle of joy and what it would represent to me (a husband, a loving relationship) will come.