|"The clock talked loud. I threw it away, it scared me what it talked." ~Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle|
Most women who want(ed) children have/are/will stress(ed) over their "biological clock". You know, that ticking time bomb buried within the walls of a woman's currently barren womb that is waiting to explode and shatter her hopes and dreams of childbirth by forcing her into menopause... childless? Yeeeeah, that clock. Research (in layman's) shows that women's fertility declines in their late 20s/early 30s. Cruelly, the universe birthed women into this world with a set number of eggs to be "lost" at a set rate over a couple decades. Until they're all gone. Leaving the inside lady parts dried, shriveled, and essentially useless. So if you snooze on fertilizing those eggs? Guess what? You LOSE, literally. Not to mention the older women get the harder it is to conceive and the higher the risk for pregnancy complications. Therefore, many women--single women especially--fear getting older because it means the likelihood of becoming [biological] mothers to viable offspring is greatly reduced. And what's more depressing is that men face much fewer battles with fertility and have the potential to fertilize eggs until they die of old age.
I'll go out on a limb and say that women who want to be mothers prefer to have at least one biological child from their own womb. This assumption based on the many women who obsess over their biological clocks and are willing to pay arms-and-legs worth in fertility drugs (octo-mom anyone?) and in vitro fertilization. Judging by the outrageous numbers of orphaned children in the system, adoption seems to be the last and least favorable option on the "How I Can Be A Parent" list. Naturally, women tend to want to experience motherhood from the very beginning, that is, pregnancy/birth. So approaching/passing that third decade on this earth as motherless creatures, and fertility on the decline, panic starts to kick in. Must. find. man. to. procreate. or. die. alone.
I'm in my late 20s, single with no prospects, and I want to be a mother. I'm sure my biological clock is gearing up to buzz in my tummy in the coming years. Even if it it were possible for me to conceive well into my 30s, I have no desire to be that 43yo mother at her firstborn's kindergarten graduation. Yet, MY age and waning fertility don't trouble me that much. I have quite a few good years left to find a man, marry, and birth children by a respectable age. Not to mention I'm completely open to explore adoption. What does worry me about postponing motherhood is my old parents are getting older (and sicker). I want them to be alive when I have children.
My mother was in her late 30s and my father in his early 40s when I was born. I'm the youngest of 5 children, the only child my parents have together. My closest sibling in age is 14yrs my senior; the eldest are 18yrs my senior. All but one of my siblings have kids (11 grandchildren total). My eldest niece is 20 (or so)!! As I witnessed on my recent family vacation, my parents are slowing down big time and not as agile as they used to be. Quite frankly, I'm worried my parents won't have anything left to give of themselves by the time I get around to having children!
I never got to know my father's parents. His father died before I was born and his mother died shortly after I was born. All I have of them are pictures and second-hand stories, no memories of my own. While I did get to know and develop relationships with my maternal grandparents, they were both gone from this life before I graduated high school. My soul weeps and longs for the presence and love of each of my grandparents. I want the quality time, the imparting of wisdom, the oral memoirs, the vintage views on life, and the old fashioned spoiling. My parents are awesome and they have so much to offer their grandchildren in the ways of entertainment and education. Admittedly, I look enviously upon my siblings and their kids as they get to build a relationship with my parents "the grandparents". It's really a beautiful thing to witness as my parents help my siblings be great parents. Sadly, I don't know if or when I'll be able to share in this experience. I want my parents in my future as a parent! *le sigh*
So, while I do have a few concerns about having kids before my 20yr college class reunion, I'm mostly concerned about having kids before my parents life clocks are busted and they've had a chance to usher me into motherhood and meet/establish close relationships with my kids. I know I have no control over what the future brings, but I can't help but consider my parents when I think of my future as a wife and mother. It's terribly selfish of me but I pray almost every night that my parents will remain alive and healthy for decades to come. I can't imagine a world without them (least of all mine), I don't want to have to discover parenthood without them, and I dread the thought of my progeny knowing a world without them. Essentially: I want my mommy and daddy with me forever and ever. The end.
Am I the only woman who worries more about the ticking "life clock" of my parents than my own biological clock when it comes to parenthood? Do people with younger parents have the same concerns as they approach lower fertility ages? Are there any men reading that are concerned with age as it relates to fertility and/or parenthood?
Losing another egg as I type,