When we talk fertility and trying to conceive, the big "scary age" for pregnancy is always cited as 35. Mothers over 35 are considered "advanced age" and many women plan their child rearing around being under 35 (if they can).
In my 20s, I had a doctor who was very pushy. She was extremely numbers driven (and not so patient focused) and started trying to talk me into babies when I first got engaged at 24. Quite frankly, she made me paranoid. In my area of the country, in particular (the Northeast), it's very common for women to wait to have children both because of the high cost of living and the high level of education.
In fact, it's becoming more common everywhere. One in five women has their first child after the age of 35, says a recent article that proclaims the post-35 baby anxiety as a bit of a bugaboo. Maybe the scary age is becoming less so?
For many women, 35 has become the age they need to stop. But for others, it's just the beginning, the point at which they are finally ready to try to conceive.
We can all relax a bit, says the article. Not all moms and bodies are the same. The post-35 baby anxiety is just that. Ask a doctor and most will say fertility is around the same at 34, 35, and 36. The age is just a number. It may be the time you start to see ill effects of bad health choices -- smoking, etc. -- but generally speaking, for an otherwise healthy woman, the baby shop doesn't magically hold a going out of business sale just because you have 35 candles on the cake.
Whew! I can breathe now. I have been under the gun lately. I just turned 31 (OK, 32 ...) not so very long ago, and as I creep closer to 35, the third child I want to have seems to get further and further away.
We're just not ready financially and our house is too small. We had our first two when I was in my late 20s and they came so quickly that the costs for private preschool are prohibitively high. I would love to have both children in public school before we go for the third and, luckily, since we started young(ish) at 28, we have the time to play with.
But lately it hasn't been feeling so lucky. As I inch closer to 35, I have definitely been feeling that "I want to have a baby" itch with increased fervor. But it may not be practical. This article makes me feel better about that.
Now I have a new doctor (a midwife, actually) who tells me I am "young, yet" and articles like these are even more optimistic. If and when I have a third, I will likely be exactly 35 and I am feeling a little more patient now. My ovaries aren't going to dry up in three (OK, two) years.
Are you scared of age/fertility decline?
Image via cheryl.dudley/Flickr