Our parents, teachers and the media lied to my generation of women. Perhaps this is simply a blue state issue, but why did so many women of my generation (raised in the 70s-80s) wait ‘too long’ before having children?
Growing up, the message I received was, “Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time for a family when you get older”. We were encouraged to study, clinch a career, maybe even enjoy life a bit on our own, and only ‘later’, think about marriage and children. We had sex education in school, and were told how important it was to use contraception so we didn’t end up pregnant.
Looking at my girlfriends from university, two of my closest friends are unmarried. Both have killer careers. They are now over 40, and have very little chance of conceiving naturally, even if they were in a relationship and wanted a child. In fact, they are now pushing mid 40s when there is less than a 1% chance of conceiving naturally and carrying to term, ie. bringing home a live baby.
Of course I’m not suggesting that women give up studies and career to start a family in their early 20s, but young women should at least be aware that starting a family after 30 carries risks and after 35, it can become very challenging. After 40, forget about it unless you are willing to shell out big bucks and go for the latest technology in baby-making. Most women over 40 are counseled to use eggs donated by a younger woman. This severs a biological tie between mother and child.
Obviously, having adopted our two children, we have no biological ties to them at all. Maybe it’s easier this way as both DH and I have the same lack of a bio connection to the children. We both have built a relationship with our children based on love, rather than blood. In our case, love really does conquer all and I can’t imagine loving anyone more than I love Karen and Matan.
That doesn’t change the message that all young women today should be aware that their fertility will not last forever, and age 30 is the time to begin considering family and children. Waiting until “later”, may be too late.