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Delaying Motherhood


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9 hours ago, Innisfree said:

I think it's no problem for one generation to push childbearing off to the thirties or beyond, but if multiple generations do so, there are significant consequences.

I hadn’t really thought about that aspect but, yeah. Especially combined with reduced birth rates.
And yet nobody’s going to find me mentioning that to my kids! :-x 

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My first was at 24, last at 40 and two between, plus lost a couple.  As other posters say, I had more energy young and more patience old. 

We were not financially stable with the older ones - maybe still not by most people's standards - and I think it's what made oldest take such a different path in his life.  He went into engineering with a plan to work 9 - 5, weekends off, two weeks vacation a year and have a retirement fund, following his super fun, enriching, non-traditional upbringing.  He has thanked us for his the way we raised him, but it sure it won't be the way he raises his own!  He and DIL are continuing to try for children, she's had some fertility issues but I'm glad they started when she was 28 and not any older.

The hardest part for me was the lack of community.  I had very few friends who were also having babies young.  Actually, only one, and she moved away.  So I was very lonely.  This was also true 20 years later when youngest DD was a child, and all of the homeschool moms of that time were having their firsts. 

Recently my third looked at a picture of me swinging him up in the air and smiling as he is pitching a fit and said, "was it fun to be a young parent?"  I said absolutely!  Though I wasn't that young when he was born.  He loves babies and wants kids sooner than later, but his sweetheart is heading down the post-bac, PhD track and so it looks unlikely.  

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2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

And yet nobody’s going to find me mentioning that to my kids!

Yeah, the right thing for an individual set of potential parents is still whatever timing works for them. I don't foresee early grandchildren here, either. It's just one more element to consider: exactly how squished will your sandwich be.

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I got married at 22 and started planning/trying for children at 24.  I wanted to be young parents after watching my aunts all go through pregnancies in their mid to late thirties.  We adopted our first when we were 31 and our last at 41 for a total of five kids,  so the young parent thing didn't happen.  I think the late twenties and early 30's are pretty common in our social circle.  Most of my sorority sisters kids are grown  and getting married, though I was one of the first to marry, we still have a 15yr old at home.  

One of my early careers was a director of a preschool/daycare and I knew how expensive child care was/is and working there made me decide to stay home with kids while young.  I didn't anticipate homeschooling, or never reentering the work force but that is how it ended up.  In my ideal world I was going back to teaching when they all reached school age.  

I do see my cousins, who are much younger than me choosing to delay or just not planning on having kids.  Only one currently has children (she is turning 40 this year and is my oldest cousin)  Only one other is married (30) and the other seven from 38 to 27 don't have any immediate plans to either marry or have kids.  They want to do things before that happens.  For example two of my cousins worked for years to save and travel around the world chasing waves and surfing.  Another works then goes and stays in a  different country for a year then repeats.  

 

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The risks of infertility and failed pregnancies was one factor in my decision to adopt once I reached a certain age.  I think I'd have a really hard time with that kind of loss, and while the likelihood of a successful pregnancy is still higher than a loss even up to age 40, it wasn't a risk I wanted to take.  (Of course you can also have a failed adoption, but for me, that felt like the more acceptable risk.)

The grandparent concern is valid also.  Though my grandmothers weren't all that involved in my life, we did have a good relationship, and I was around 30 when they both died.  My folks are nearing 80 and my kids are 14, so I don't know how much longer they'll have each other.  Neither of my parents can do much physically with kids.  We are a lot different from many families with active grandparents.  But mainly that means I do more, not that my kids do less.  Now if my kids take after me, I'll be 80 when their kids are born.  So as Jane Eyre said, I must keep in good health!

As far as having mom friends in my age group, I haven't found that to be a problem.  For whatever reason, it turns out that most of my kids' friends' parents/guardians are around my age.

If my kids asked me about ideal childbearing age, I'd probably say the earliest would be once you have the ability to support a family of 3 on your income/assets, and the latest would be probably 37 or 38 (ideally more like 35).  No judgment on those who make different choices though.  There are so many factors to consider, and we're all different.

Edited by SKL
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Now I’m trying to think about it... I’m pretty sure both of my sisters were 30, and my stepbrother was mid-30s. Two cousins were probably about 31 and 30.  An unmarried cousin without kids is in her 30s. Two more cousins are still in their 20s without kids.  So maybe I am the family outlier. Even my SIL was in her 30s.
(I’m also the only official GenXer of this tier of our family. My youngest cousin is my son’s age.)

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This delaying thing is going to be interesting in terms of grandparents later. My mom had me at 40. My little brother's friends thought our mom was his grandmother. I only knew my dad's parents, and they were both dead before I graduated from college.

My kids have only my mom & DH's dad left for grandparents. Most of their friends have young (60s) grandparents vs. early-to-mid-80s ones like mine do.

I think having older grandparents will be more common in another generation. It certainly isn't common in my area now.

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17 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

I hadn’t really thought about that aspect but, yeah. Especially combined with reduced birth rates.
And yet nobody’s going to find me mentioning that to my kids! :-x 

Why not?  I mean I would not use it it pressure them.  But we talk about this kind of stuff all the time bc it’s just part of politics and economics.

I can’t read the article bc it’s behind a paywall. I think a lot of this is simply beyond our control. For most women, they don’t want to be single mothers. So until they meet someone that wants to have kids - it’s all moot anyways. 

I happened to have met my husband at 16.  But I know many 20 something women via my my older kids who do want marriage and kids but men just aren’t interested in either.  So those women go about their lives, which is of course the best thing. 

My daughter wants to have children in her late 20s. But she isn’t very optimistic about meeting a man to have them with.  For a lot of young people, they are not talking putting off having kids. A lot of them are talking never have kids at all and they mean it far more strongly that young people did a generation ago.

I have no regrets about my later in life babies. But they are indeed getting a very very different childhood and home life than my older kids.

Edited by Murphy101
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Infertility can be a factor at any age- after my older son was born when I was just shy of 23, we decided to TTC to have a child that would be ~2-3 years younger.  Our thinking was that while we had planned to wait until our 30s, since we had a child, we wanted to cluster our kids a bit close together rather than a decade apart. Thanks to secondary infertility, our sons are 5.5 years apart.  I was able to get pregnant easily in my 20s and early 30s but I have had a very high number of miscarriages.  We had planned to have 3 or 4 kids total but it wasn’t to be.  My last pregnancy (which resulted in miscarriage) was at age 36.  We have not conceived in the 5 years since that time (though we have not been actively TTC, we also haven’t been using any birth control).  My oldest nephew and his wife are early and mid 20s and experiencing primary infertility right now.  
 

Having a kid at any age comes with an opportunity cost.  I don’t regret that we were pretty young when we had our first but I also know that we would have both advanced our educations further than we have had we not had a child at 23.  OTOH, we have found unforeseen positives to being on the young side.  
 

 

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8 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

Infertility can be a factor at any age- after my older son was born when I was just shy of 23, we decided to TTC to have a child that would be ~2-3 years younger.  Our thinking was that while we had planned to wait until our 30s, since we had a child, we wanted to cluster our kids a bit close together rather than a decade apart. Thanks to secondary infertility, our sons are 5.5 years apart.  I was able to get pregnant easily in my 20s and early 30s but I have had a very high number of miscarriages.  We had planned to have 3 or 4 kids total but it wasn’t to be.  My last pregnancy (which resulted in miscarriage) was at age 36.  We have not conceived in the 5 years since that time (though we have not been actively TTC, we also haven’t been using any birth control).  My oldest nephew and his wife are early and mid 20s and experiencing primary infertility right now.  
 

Having a kid at any age comes with an opportunity cost.  I don’t regret that we were pretty young when we had our first but I also know that we would have both advanced our educations further than we have had we not had a child at 23.  OTOH, we have found unforeseen positives to being on the young side.  
 

 

Yes, I was 21 when we began infertility treatments.  I was fortunate that I knew I'd have trouble conceiving.  We spent $30,000 out of pocket and went through years of hell TTC, but it was all worth it for my three sons.  It was such a shock when I had a surprise pregnancy years later when I was 34.  

I'm sorry about your miscarriages.  That is so hard.  

And, yes, I do feel like I sacrificed education and career by having my kids as early as I did,  It's hard not to wish things were different, but then I remember I wouldn't have my sons.  I guess it all worked out for the best.  

 

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Re: the age spread multigenerationally.

We have a big spread just between dh's and my parents. There's a 17 year gap between his dad and my mom. FIL is at the point of being quite dependent on us. I think we're within a few years of him needing residential care. Meanwhile, my mom hasn't retired yet and is traveling all over the place. I have no idea if the bigger gap is better or worse (I guess I'll find out when we get there). Right now, it feels like quite a challenge to balance our family life (me in school, graduating/launching kids) and FIL's needs. 

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4 hours ago, Harpymom said:

 

The hardest part for me was the lack of community.  I had very few friends who were also having babies young.  Actually, only one, and she moved away.  So I was very lonely.  This was also true 20 years later when youngest DD was a child, and all of the homeschool moms of that time were having their firsts. 

 

This was my experience but I ended up just making friends who were +\-15 years older than me.  And then of course, when you are a SAHM to school age kids that can also feel pretty lonely- so few families in our orbit have SAH parents. When the kids were older I met some moms who were closer to my age who had kids around the same age as me but we didn’t know each other back then.  
 

When our first was born, we were in a group for new parents in Seattle and aside from 1 couple who were around 10 years older than us, the other 5 couples were closer to 20 years older than us.  Part of this was where we lived though.  My friends from college and high school mostly have kids who are birth to age 5.  One of our college friends has a 10 year old. I know there are people from my high school who have older kids but I don’t have much more than a FB alumni group connection with them.  

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2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

Now I’m trying to think about it... I’m pretty sure both of my sisters were 30, and my stepbrother was mid-30s. Two cousins were probably about 31 and 30.  An unmarried cousin without kids is in her 30s. Two more cousins are still in their 20s without kids.  So maybe I am the family outlier. Even my SIL was in her 30s.
(I’m also the only official GenXer of this tier of our family. My youngest cousin is my son’s age.)

Thinking more here, too.

My brother got married and started having kids on the late side as well, had his last at 52 (wife was 45, I think). Cousins were all in their 30s, as well, or never had kids.

But … looking backwards … my mother had me at 30.  After delaying for college, work.  And farther back, her mother also delayed for education (her older sisters were determined that she would have a degree, and supported her through college, I know it’s unusual).  She had her first at 32, and twins at 40.

I can’t say about my father’s side, but certainly on the maternal side there’s a pattern of delaying that goes back several generations.  

DH’s parents delayed as well, and adopted in their 30s.

I’m used to old grandparents. 

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Re loneliness: I was very lonely when my first was born, not so much because I was older, but because where I lived at the time, no one quit their jobs to stay home with kids. I stayed in touch with some work friends for a while but when I adopted the life of a stay home mom, we drifted.

Then we moved to an area with lots of stay home moms and it was easy to find friends. I was 10-15 years older than nearly all my friends at that time. But we were in the same stages of motherhood so the age gap did not matter at all. It was also a great area for homeschooling so plenty of opportunities for friends through that. It was a lovely time, full of community!

Then we moved again, to an area where most people had never even heard of homeschooling, and people seemed much more intent on having friends in their same age group. So, I was an outsider again. I did find some people who weren't hung up on keeping within their age group, but it has never been the same for me in terms of community.

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18 minutes ago, Spryte said:

Thinking more here, too.

My brother got married and started having kids on the late side as well, had his last at 52 (wife was 45, I think). Cousins were all in their 30s, as well, or never had kids.

But … looking backwards … my mother had me at 30.  After delaying for college, work.  And farther back, her mother also delayed for education (her older sisters were determined that she would have a degree, and supported her through college, I know it’s unusual).  She had her first at 32, and twins at 40.

I can’t say about my father’s side, but certainly on the maternal side there’s a pattern of delaying that goes back several generations.  

DH’s parents delayed as well, and adopted in their 30s.

I’m used to old grandparents. 

My husband’s brother delayed but that was less about education than because he married a woman who insisted she didn’t want kids.  By the time she had changed her mind, they were late 30s/early 40s and then it took awhile for them to have 1.  They live in Norway and the support for families with young children there is phenomenal.  
 

My older brother was 20 when his oldest son was born.  Later on he married someone else and had two more kids.  She was 21 when my oldest niece was born.  My younger sibling was 24 but their now ex-spouse was 35.  
 

Among my cousins on my dad’s side, it’s pretty normative to have first kid in 30s.  I think I have one cousin who had her first before then.  None of my younger cousins who are still in their 20s have kids yet.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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We had our kids at 26, 28, and 30. That was older than a lot of people we knew at the time. I'm pretty excited to be 48 when my youngest leaves the nest.

If we had waited longer we probably would have been better off financially, although we never really struggled. But, we probably wouldn't have had all 3 kids either.

I feel like early or later really depends on the people involved. Neither is right or wrong.

Kelly

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I was in my 30s when my kids were born (DH was 48 when youngest was born).  I was busy with grad school, establishing a career, developing a relationship in my 20s.  My mother was 21 when I was born.  Our choices and experiences were different, but worked well for each of us because we are very different people.  Most of my friends were waiting until their early 30s to have kids.

I have been surprised at how many of my children's friends have started having children in their early to mid 20's.  DD has had 4 friends of her closest friends who have had babies within 2 years of graduating from college; DS just had a friend call him yesterday and say that his wife is pregnant (they are in their mid-20's and the wife is in graduate school).  

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14 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

I was in my 30s when my kids were born (DH was 48 when youngest was born).  I was busy with grad school, establishing a career, developing a relationship in my 20s.  My mother was 21 when I was born.  Our choices and experiences were different, but worked well for each of us because we are very different people.  Most of my friends were waiting until their early 30s to have kids.

I have been surprised at how many of my children's friends have started having children in their early to mid 20's.  DD has had 4 friends of her closest friends who have had babies within 2 years of graduating from college; DS just had a friend call him yesterday and say that his wife is pregnant (they are in their mid-20's and the wife is in graduate school).  

I've wondered if my daughter and her boyfriend, whose mom, like me, was in her 40s when he was born. would (if they got married, this is all hypothetical) want to have their kids sooner rather than later. Pure speculation, but it wouldn't be surprising to me if kids with older parents, who feel that maybe they missed out by not having younger parents, would tend to start building families earlier.  Just as... perhaps women with younger moms who never built a career, would want to wait.

My parents were 39 when I was born. My dad died before I was married, but my mom lived a few years after that. My kids never truly experienced grandparents from my side, because of the ages of mom and grandma. I don't know what effect that may have on someone's decision about when to have kids. 

 

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2 minutes ago, marbel said:

I've wondered if my daughter and her boyfriend, whose mom, like me, was in her 40s when he was born. would (if they got married, this is all hypothetical) want to have their kids sooner rather than later. Pure speculation, but it wouldn't be surprising to me if kids with older parents, who feel that maybe they missed out by not having younger parents, would tend to start building families earlier.  Just as... perhaps women with younger moms who never built a career, would want to wait.

My parents were 39 when I was born. My dad died before I was married, but my mom lived a few years after that. My kids never truly experienced grandparents from my side, because of the ages of mom and grandma. I don't know what effect that may have on someone's decision about when to have kids. 

 

Neither of my children (who are now 22 and 25) have expressed an interest in having children until their 30's--neither of them is in a serious relationship ATM, so that may change before they reach their 30s.  As far as experiences of grandparents--my father died before my children were born, my mother is still alive.  My children's paternall grandmother died after DD was born but before DS was born; their paternal grandfather lived until the kids were in their teens; my children also had a paternal great grandmother who lived until they were in elementary school.  (Despite the fact that DH was in his mid-late 40s when our children were born).  

My parents were in their early 20's when I was born.  Both of my grandfathers died before my 4th birthday.  My paternal grandmother died while I was in elementary school and my maternal grandmother died when I was about 25.  Despite my parents having me at over a decade younger age than I was when I had my children, our grandparent experiences were not significantly different.  

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About infertility...

There are two different categories people should be aware of.  One category is an underlying medical issue that a person may or may not know about before they try to have children. That can take time to address because not every medical condition can be diagnosed with testing.  Then, if it is diagnosed, treatment options come into play.  The financial costs are typically high. Not every option for every diagnosed medical condition works for every person.  Those factors can be a huge time and money suck.

Then there's the second category which affects all women as they age.  Fertility tapers off at different rates in different time frame for women who have no underlying medical conditions.  Just because you know women who had pregnancies that resulted in lives births after their late 30s and early 40s, doesn't mean the likelihood of that happening is equal for all women in those age ranges.

The last thing people should be aware of is that there is not a pipeline of babies that a person can, "just adopt" if they hit a wall with their fertility.  I have heard more ignorance follow the words, "If having a baby doesn't work out we'll just adopt." than following any other ignorant sentence I frequently hear. Many countries that are still open to international adoption (many have closed) have age, education level, lifestyle, philosophical, and income limits. Fostadopting isn't always easy or automatic. Children are not as readily available as fostercare agencies can make it seem. Many are returned to bio parents or extended bio relatives because that's how the system is designed to work. Traumatized children have special needs, so adoptive parents need to expect adoptive parenting to demand more of them. 

Women should be aware of these things when considering family planning because there is no substitute for having a child.  That doesn't mean parenthood is for everyone and that people can't have fulfilling lives if they choose not to have children, but having children is unique and there's no replacement for it.

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26 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

About infertility...

There are two different categories people should be aware of.  One category is an underlying medical issue that a person may or may not know about before they try to have children. That can take time to address because not every medical condition can be diagnosed with testing.  Then, if it is diagnosed, treatment options come into play.  The financial costs are typically high. Not every option for every diagnosed medical condition works for every person.  Those factors can be a huge time and money suck.

Then there's the second category which affects all women as they age.  Fertility tapers off at different rates in different time frame for women who have no underlying medical conditions.  Just because you know women who had pregnancies that resulted in lives births after their late 30s and early 40s, doesn't mean the likelihood of that happening is equal for all women in those age ranges.

The last thing people should be aware of is that there is not a pipeline of babies that a person can, "just adopt" if they hit a wall with their fertility.  I have heard more ignorance follow the words, "If having a baby doesn't work out we'll just adopt." than following any other ignorant sentence I frequently hear. Many countries that are still open to international adoption (many have closed) have age, education level, lifestyle, philosophical, and income limits. Fostadopting isn't always easy or automatic. Children are not as readily available as fostercare agencies can make it seem. Many are returned to bio parents or extended bio relatives because that's how the system is designed to work. Traumatized children have special needs, so adoptive parents need to expect adoptive parenting to demand more of them. 

Women should be aware of these things when considering family planning because there is no substitute for having a child.  That doesn't mean parenthood is for everyone and that people can't have fulfilling lives if they choose not to have children, but having children is unique and there's no replacement for it.

This.

The vast majority of foster children are not available for adoption, and those that are, usually take a very long time to go through the process. A lot can go wrong in the process even if the state is determined to eventually terminate birth parents' rights, and one cam even be near the finish line and then have something happen like one of the foster parents is diagnosed with a medical issue, has a change in job and needs to move, etc. and the adoption falls through. It has happened to so many people I know who have tried the foster to adopt process. Internationally, lots of closed doors. We were close to getting our two girls in Nicaragua, and then a change in government leadership slammed the doors on adoption. Our precious girls eventually died of treatable medical conditions in the orphanage and there was not a thing we could do about it. Other friends were within a month to getting their little boy and were actually in Guatemala to finalize the adoption when the government abruptly ended all US adoptions. As it turns out, several adoption agencies were up to some pretty wicked stuff to get their hands on children to adopt out.

There is no pipeline of babies. It is a myth. International adoptions are much harder now than they were ten years ago. It also costs a ton. Anywhere from $20,000-50,000 for most adoptions except privately arranged ones which can be drought with ethical issues. Foster/adopt is not expensive, but again, not a pipeline of children out there with parental rights terminated.

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21 hours ago, marbel said:

Well I was 41 and 43 when my two were born - well beyond the delayed ages in the article. I have no regrets, because it is not something I really had control over* (I didn't marry my permanent husband till I was 39), but it is not a strategy I would recommend to anyone. I love my kids and am happy I have them, but at 65 I am ready for the empty nest, and they have just graduated from college and are home figuring out their next steps. 

 

This is me - almost. I wasn't married before and I met future/first and only dh when I was 37. We decided to get married when I was 38, immediately started trying to conceive because of our ages, and we married when I was 39 and he was 41. Fertility treatments failed and I got pregnant the old fashioned way after we gave up and quit trying. I was 41 when ds was born and turned 42 when he was two months old. I had hoped I'd be one of those women who have trouble having the first child but then conceive easily afterward. By the time I turned 45 I realized ds would be my only bio child. 

It seems I had one good egg left. 😄

Like you @marbel ds is 23 and I'm 65.

Dh was the custodial parent to then 14yo dss. He was almost 17 when we married. I was active in his life from the time dh and I started dating and taught at the high school where he attended. Because of that I actually raised a teenager first before starting over with a baby. 😀

I too would not recommend waiting so long. I don't know how old I'll be if/when ds has children and if I'll have the energy to be much of a grandmother to them. I'm happy that dss has three children so at least I get to be an active Nonna to them. I feel bad for ds and his future children though. 

5 hours ago, Murphy101 said:

 

 I think a lot of this is simply beyond our control. For most women, they don’t want to be single mothers. So until they meet someone that wants to have kids - it’s all moot anyways. 

 

Yes, this was me. I didn't intentionally delay motherhood but neither did I want to be a single mother, at least not by choice. If I had known I'd have trouble conceiving I might have tried to get pregnant with a previous relationship, but none who came before dh were long term partner material (though I thought each was The One at the time). 

1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

About infertility...

There are two different categories people should be aware of.  One category is an underlying medical issue that a person may or may not know about before they try to have children. That can take time to address because not every medical condition can be diagnosed with testing.  Then, if it is diagnosed, treatment options come into play.  The financial costs are typically high. Not every option for every diagnosed medical condition works for every person.  Those factors can be a huge time and money suck.

Then there's the second category which affects all women as they age.  Fertility tapers off at different rates in different time frame for women who have no underlying medical conditions.  Just because you know women who had pregnancies that resulted in lives births after their late 30s and early 40s, doesn't mean the likelihood of that happening is equal for all women in those age ranges.
 

My official diagnosis was Unexplained Infertility, which really means "we have no idea why you can't get pregnant". I had surgery for severe endometriosis, which finally explained my life of painful periods (so who knows, maybe I would have had trouble even when I was younger). We went as far as insurance would take us with testing and treatments. IUI was the highest level of treatment our ins. covered. We didn't have the money for IVF on our own nor did we have the money to adopt. At the time insurance would pay for three IUI treatments in a lifetime. I already had two and couldn't bear the disappointment again so I passed on the third. One year later I thought I was coming down with the flu when I felt dizzy at a home party. Turns out I was 6 weeks pregnant! 

The following was apparently me. I think my ob/gyn put us on the fertility treatment roller coaster immediately due to my age. As soon as I told him we were TTC he recommended we both start getting tested. From there things just kept rolling until I finally couldn't take it anymore and put a stop to it. 

Nothing May Be Wrong

Some couples with unexplained infertility will conceive without any treatment help within one to two years of diagnosis. No one knows why or what was wrong, but it happens. A healthy, fertile couple has about a 30% chance of conceiving in any given month. Notice that the odds are not 100%. They aren’t 100% for anyone.16

 

It could be you have a very subtle fertility problem, but not so much that you can’t conceive on your own with more time. (This is sometimes called subfertility.) It could be you and your partner have had seriously bad luck. It’s frustrating, but it’s a possible explanation for those that have been trying to conceive for less than two to three years.

 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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1 hour ago, marbel said:

I've wondered if my daughter and her boyfriend, whose mom, like me, was in her 40s when he was born. would (if they got married, this is all hypothetical) want to have their kids sooner rather than later. Pure speculation, but it wouldn't be surprising to me if kids with older parents, who feel that maybe they missed out by not having younger parents, would tend to start building families earlier.  Just as... perhaps women with younger moms who never built a career, would want to wait.

My parents were 39 when I was born. My dad died before I was married, but my mom lived a few years after that. My kids never truly experienced grandparents from my side, because of the ages of mom and grandma. I don't know what effect that may have on someone's decision about when to have kids. 

 

My youngest uncle told me that he wanted to have his kids by the time he was early 30s and he did just that.  His decision was based on his parents being older when he was born.  My uncle was 19 years younger than my Dad and their dad was 52 when the youngest was born (my grandmother was 40).  I didn’t get the sense that he thought his mom was “too old” but because my grandfather was not a very robust 60-70 year old, my uncle remembers him not really having a lot of energy for the types of activities the older kids all grew up doing with their dad- fishing, hunting, camping etc.  That said, it was a different time and today many 60 year olds are in much better health and shape than my grandfather was (he started having trouble with his heart in his 50s).  On the flip side, the younger kids in my dad’s family enjoyed a higher standard of living than their older brothers and sisters had.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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Re ages of grandparents and friends: 

Dh's parents were much older than my mom. Dh is the third of four children and the oldest is eight years older than him. I'm the oldest in my family so my mom was younger when she had me than MIL was when she had dh. His parents weren't really active grandparents even to the younger grandchildren so it's not like ds really missed out on that side of the family. That was just their personalities. According to dh and his siblings they were never playful types with children. MIL lived to her late 80s and FIL was 91 when he died. 

My father died when I was 14 so ds would never have known him regardless of how old I was when he was born. My mom was an active, involved grandmother but she died an accidental death when ds was 10. She would most likely be still alive (based on the health of her two sisters who are both still alive) and though she'd be 86 he would still have known her and would have had an adult relationship with her if not for the accident.

As far as friends, I don't think I've had same age friends since I was in my late 20s. After that my friends have all been older, younger, or a combination. When I was single and teaching my closest friend was 10 years older than me, as were a number of other teachers I regularly socialized with. There was only one in our social circle who was my age and there were even a few who were a good 10 years younger than me. We all had a number of things in common and as adults our age differences didn't really come into play.

Once I became a sahm after ds was born, the new friends I made were younger than me. Our homeschool group had a real mix of parent ages though most of the parents my age had children much older than ds. My three current close friends all have now adult kids around the same age as ds. We clicked in the hs group when our kids were quite young. I'm the oldest and the two closest to my age are in their mid and late 50s. The other woman is in her late 40s and sometimes that age difference really shows (even to the other 50s women) but it isn't anything major. The only time our age differences really show is when discussing popular tv shows, movies, or music of our child and teen years, or when discussing retirement. Otherwise we don't even notice the differences in our ages because we have too many other things in common.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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1 hour ago, Faith-manor said:

This.

The vast majority of foster children are not available for adoption, and those that are, usually take a very long time to go through the process. A lot can go wrong in the process even if the state is determined to eventually terminate birth parents' rights, and one cam even be near the finish line and then have something happen like one of the foster parents is diagnosed with a medical issue, has a change in job and needs to move, etc. and the adoption falls through. It has happened to so many people I know who have tried the foster to adopt process. Internationally, lots of closed doors. We were close to getting our two girls in Nicaragua, and then a change in government leadership slammed the doors on adoption. Our precious girls eventually died of treatable medical conditions in the orphanage and there was not a thing we could do about it. Other friends were within a month to getting their little boy and were actually in Guatemala to finalize the adoption when the government abruptly ended all US adoptions. As it turns out, several adoption agencies were up to some pretty wicked stuff to get their hands on children to adopt out.

There is no pipeline of babies. It is a myth. International adoptions are much harder now than they were ten years ago. It also costs a ton. Anywhere from $20,000-50,000 for most adoptions except privately arranged ones which can be drought with ethical issues. Foster/adopt is not expensive, but again, not a pipeline of children out there with parental rights terminated.

That is heartbreaking.  I am so sorry.

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

The last thing people should be aware of is that there is not a pipeline of babies that a person can, "just adopt" if they hit a wall with their fertility.

THIS. I hear this all the time from my older two, and have to kind of bite my tongue, because they get testy if I try to gently remind that kids aren't commodities you can just pick up if and when you decide you want one. I'm super grateful for adoption myself, but I don't think it should be relied on as an easy way to "get" a kid. My older two are sure they won't want to have kids, but the oldest has spent an awful lot of time thinking about how they might go about adopting, what ages, etc for someone who is so sure they don't want to have children.

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2 minutes ago, KSera said:

My older two are sure they won't want to have kids, but the oldest has spent an awful lot of time thinking about how they might go about adopting, what ages, etc for someone who is so sure they don't want to have children.

Thinking about is the root of the problem. What most people imagine in their heads about adoption is ridiculous compared to the reality of adoption.  They need to stop thinking/dreaming/imagining/mythologizing adoption and do some actual research by interviewing adoptive parents, adoptees, and medical professionals who treat and serve adoptive families. 

You have my permission to laugh out loud (not in a mocking way but more a surprised way) when your kids talk about whatever little scenarios they conjure up in their heads.  It's the wake up call they need.

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Posted (edited)

I had my first at 27.  Looking back I wish I would have had kids sooner.  Dh and I have been together since we were 18.  I graduated college, but I didn't have a career so I really wish I would have just become a mom at 22 or 20.  When we were first time parents we didn't have a lot of extra money after bills, but it didn't matter we have good memories.  Now we have a lot more disposable money and have done things with and for our kids that we never would have thought possible at 30.  

One side of my family that lived out of state had kids early.  One just because she married young and the other because she ended becoming Mormon and then a lot of her kids had kids young too.  

The family that I was raised around didn't have kids early.  I think my mom had me at 27 or 28.  I had a very outspoken family member pressure me to not have kids until I was at least 35.  That is a lot of the reason that I was as old as I was.  I couldn't think about angering the family by doing something that I was told not to do.  

I wish I would have had kids younger for 2 reasons.  1, so that I could be around for my children longer.  I know that isn't a given.   But also that hopefully I would be a younger grandparent that could help out more.    2.  Because I wish that I would have had more kids. 

It was easier to have kids younger too. I bounced back from pg a lot easier.  I had more energy for my older kids when they were young.  I think a small part of that is that I am older, but a bigger part is that I have teens now that suck a lot of time and energy.

I tell my kids that if they want to have kids have them earlier.   

Oh and then there was a big family drama on dh's side that postponed our wedding a few years.  

 

Edited by mommyoffive
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1 hour ago, Faith-manor said:

This.

The vast majority of foster children are not available for adoption, and those that are, usually take a very long time to go through the process. A lot can go wrong in the process even if the state is determined to eventually terminate birth parents' rights, and one cam even be near the finish line and then have something happen like one of the foster parents is diagnosed with a medical issue, has a change in job and needs to move, etc. and the adoption falls through. It has happened to so many people I know who have tried the foster to adopt process. Internationally, lots of closed doors. We were close to getting our two girls in Nicaragua, and then a change in government leadership slammed the doors on adoption. Our precious girls eventually died of treatable medical conditions in the orphanage and there was not a thing we could do about it. Other friends were within a month to getting their little boy and were actually in Guatemala to finalize the adoption when the government abruptly ended all US adoptions. As it turns out, several adoption agencies were up to some pretty wicked stuff to get their hands on children to adopt out.

There is no pipeline of babies. It is a myth. International adoptions are much harder now than they were ten years ago. It also costs a ton. Anywhere from $20,000-50,000 for most adoptions except privately arranged ones which can be drought with ethical issues. Foster/adopt is not expensive, but again, not a pipeline of children out there with parental rights terminated.

I'm so sorry about the loss of your kids in that situation.  It's devastating.

Yes, we had luxury of pursuing all forms of adoption. I interviewed more than a dozen foster parents in my state.  It's rare to complete a fost-adoption.  Even the kids who are older and listed as "available for adoption" weren't. Extended bio-family gets higher priority, and I don't mean just the aunties.  The 3rd cousin twice removed or whatever has priority. 

I'm not saying that's a bad policy. Most people would want a child to go to extended family that cleared the background check because the family is the original social safety net in that situation. The fosterparents at least intellectually know what they're getting into, but it doesn't make it easier to lose a child. 

I've been visiting a new church for 2 weeks. In a class we were asked to introduce ourselves and our families. The pastor introduced his foster-children and his bio kid and a the baby on the way.  The fosterkids are no longer in their home and they have no contact with them-I think he and his wife are still in mourning. I don't know how long it's been, but it clearly still aches.

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My niece had her twins when she was 20 - it was unintentional in a case of birth control pill mix-up. Her youngest (and she says her last) is four. She said she feels like a much better parent with him than with the twins. Part of it of course is that she already had nine years of parenting under her belt. But she also said that it's a maturity issue. She and her husband were just simply more mature at 29 and 30 than they were at 20 and 21.

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1 hour ago, Lady Florida. said:

It could be you have a very subtle fertility problem, but not so much that you can’t conceive on your own with more time. (This is sometimes called subfertility.) It could be you and your partner have had seriously bad luck. It’s frustrating, but it’s a possible explanation for those that have been trying to conceive for less than two to three years.

Yeah, those stories are true and I'm glad they happen to people who want babies. but they're rare.  Unfortunately, many an infertile woman has been subjected to them by well meaning and clueless people while having fertility treatment or during the adoption process.  People remember hearing about Hortence who tried and tried for several years, got fertility treatment, gave up, then got pregnant naturally.  So that seems common to people who haven't been through fertility issues and they think they're encouraging people with them. They're not.   What those well meaning people don't hear about is that for every Hortence there are more than a dozen women who didn't get pregnant naturally later. Many of them will run out of time, money,  and emotional bandwidth before they ever get a baby.

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1 hour ago, Faith-manor said:

This.

The vast majority of foster children are not available for adoption, and those that are, usually take a very long time to go through the process. A lot can go wrong in the process even if the state is determined to eventually terminate birth parents' rights, and one cam even be near the finish line and then have something happen like one of the foster parents is diagnosed with a medical issue, has a change in job and needs to move, etc. and the adoption falls through. It has happened to so many people I know who have tried the foster to adopt process. Internationally, lots of closed doors. We were close to getting our two girls in Nicaragua, and then a change in government leadership slammed the doors on adoption. Our precious girls eventually died of treatable medical conditions in the orphanage and there was not a thing we could do about it. Other friends were within a month to getting their little boy and were actually in Guatemala to finalize the adoption when the government abruptly ended all US adoptions. As it turns out, several adoption agencies were up to some pretty wicked stuff to get their hands on children to adopt out.

There is no pipeline of babies. It is a myth. International adoptions are much harder now than they were ten years ago. It also costs a ton. Anywhere from $20,000-50,000 for most adoptions except privately arranged ones which can be drought with ethical issues. Foster/adopt is not expensive, but again, not a pipeline of children out there with parental rights terminated.

I'm so sorry.  That is devastating on so many levels.

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There are many factors that come into play regarding the "best" time to become a mother.  And for many people, I do not think that a specific age can be decided upon in advance and then have that fall into place--a relationship, financial stability, health, luck, etc.  I don't think, for example, someone is a better parent at 25 because they have more energy but have not yet entered into a stable relationship.  I also don't think that someone is necessarily a better parent in their 30s because they are more financially stable.  There are many tradeoffs involved. 

As far as having active, involved grandparents I think age is also one of many factors.  If I had had children in my early 20s and they had had children in their early 20s, making me a grandmother at 45, I do not think I would have had time to be the type of grandmother I hope to be.  I do not know when (or if) my children will have children, but I will be looking at being close to-or retired by that time, allowing me much more flexibility than I would have had at 45.  

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I got married at 21 had first dd just days after my 24th bday. We were young and totally poor! We both had bachelor’s degrees, but DH was working on his masters. We had 2nd dd while he was working on his Ph.D. Those girls had a very different early childhood than my younger kids, but not in a bad way. Dh and I love to reminisce about how poor we were- shared 1 car, had to walk to the library to send an email because we couldn’t afford internet, I worked all kinds of odd jobs. Once we took a job ironing these old people’s clothes at $.25 per item. Dh would rakes leaves in the fall to pay for books. Those are such fond memories for us, and definitely made us into the people that we are today. That being said, dh was doing a Ph.D and we had a plan and didn’t intend on being poor forever. And we’re not poor now. I suppose if we didn’t have much prospect for upward economic path it might be different. For us, it was a very sweet experience.

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42 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

As far as having active, involved grandparents I think age is also one of many factors.  If I had had children in my early 20s and they had had children in their early 20s, making me a grandmother at 45, I do not think I would have had time to be the type of grandmother I hope to be.  I do not know when (or if) my children will have children, but I will be looking at being close to-or retired by that time, allowing me much more flexibility than I would have had at 45.  

This.

My grandma had my mom at 44; I was born when she was 72, and she was very active in raising me and my main caregiver when I was a baby.
She lived with us, cooked every day, was the adult who was always home when we came home from school. She lived to 93.

My mom was 56 when my oldest was born. She was working, had just taken on more responsibilities in her career, and was not available for helping or babysitting. And then we had to move to another country for work when she was 60, so my kids only got to see her twice a year.
OTOH, my younger sister had her baby at 18, seven years before mine was born; she lived with my parents, and they had to help her a lot because she was a single mom of a severely disabled child while going to med school.

As my DH's job is location bound, we won't be available to do much grandparent stuff until our oldest is in her late 30s. And then it is unclear how things will work out location wise. IF my kids choose to have children.
They are both in stable, long term relationships, but not in a place in their lives where having babies is sensible.

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About siblings ... I have 3 who are parents, and all of their kids were born when they were about 30.  All of the kids were planned, and none came within the first years after the wedding.  But I don't think anyone said "we want to be 30 when our kids are born."

My parents' first was born when they were 19 & 21.  Their 6th/last when they were 35 & 37.

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1 hour ago, Calizzy said:

I got married at 21 had first dd just days after my 24th bday. We were young and totally poor! We both had bachelor’s degrees, but DH was working on his masters. We had 2nd dd while he was working on his Ph.D. Those girls had a very different early childhood than my younger kids, but not in a bad way. Dh and I love to reminisce about how poor we were- shared 1 car, had to walk to the library to send an email because we couldn’t afford internet, I worked all kinds of odd jobs. Once we took a job ironing these old people’s clothes at $.25 per item. Dh would rakes leaves in the fall to pay for books. Those are such fond memories for us, and definitely made us into the people that we are today. That being said, dh was doing a Ph.D and we had a plan and didn’t intend on being poor forever. And we’re not poor now. I suppose if we didn’t have much prospect for upward economic path it might be different. For us, it was a very sweet experience.

Some of the best years of my life were when we lived in married family housing while my husband was getting his PhD and our son was born there when we were 28. Being surrounded by people in similar financial and life circumstances was such a blessing. Except for having family around to help, I can’t imagine a better time and place to have a child. I only wish we had considered married family housing earlier when I was in grad school at a different university. I agree that it is very different being poor when you are working towards a goal. And we still share one car by choice, although our financial situation is now very different.

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14 minutes ago, Frances said:

Some of the best years of my life were when we lived in married family housing while my husband was getting his PhD and our son was born there when we were 28. Being surrounded by people in similar financial and life circumstances was such a blessing. Except for having family around to help, I can’t imagine a better time and place to have a child. I only wish we had considered married family housing earlier when I was in grad school at a different university.

But you didn't also work on your PhD at that time? Because I cannot imagine grad school being an ideal time to have a baby when you are expected to work longer hours than at any other point in your life. (Plus the uncertainty and vagabond life in the subsequent years; at least in the sciences, you move around on temp gigs for several years and then end up somewhere with no choice of location)

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I worked to support us through most of dh's law school so we could keep our debts lower, and I was so ready to be a mother before that but waited for practical considerations.  So, technically you could call that delaying, but I was really young by normal standards, shy of my 23rd birthday when my oldest was born.  I had the others at 24, 26, and not-quite 28.  I loved being a young mom.  It was the right decision for me, but I recognize that a lot of women aren't ready yet at that age.

However, I have discovered that pregnancy at 35 is a monster compared to pregnancy at 22-27.  I keep considering whether we should try for one more so that this little surprise caboose won't be lonely so much younger than the others.  The prospect of going through this again does not look appealing.

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My (church) friends from college mostly have kids quite young, too, except for one who went through major fertility issues and now has two little ones ten to fifteen years younger than his friends' oldest kids.  My college roommates had their first kids at 21, 24, 25, 26 and 29. 

My high school (non-church) friends mostly still don't have kids yet at 35.  One has a five- and a two-year-old, one has a one-year-old, the rest are childless.  I'm a major outlier in that group.

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47 minutes ago, regentrude said:

But you didn't also work on your PhD at that time? Because I cannot imagine grad school being an ideal time to have a baby when you are expected to work longer hours than at any other point in your life. (Plus the uncertainty and vagabond life in the subsequent years; at least in the sciences, you move around on temp gigs for several years and then end up somewhere with no choice of location)

Nope. I went to grad school first (we like to joke that we stretched out our poverty years). And while my husband did work long hours in the lab, he was able to structure his schedule around our son’s schedule. And because we lived on campus, we were only a few minutes walk from his lab. We definitely were naively optimistic about his job prospects, but they turned out precisely as we hoped, and we didn’t have to do any temp gigs unless you count the sweet one year LAC teaching/research post doc that his advisor got him through connections and that just happened to be very close to our immediate and extended families (the only time in our married lives we’ve lived near family). That might have been partially because he wanted a LAC job and partially because had lots of high level teaching experience at top universities, two LACs, and a community college before he went to grad school (while I was in grad school), way more than someone just being a TA during grad school. Plus he also had applied science work experience.

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I had my babies at 32 and 34. Absolutely no regrets, I would suggest that to my kids. I got to graduate from college and land a great job with great pay. I lived with my parents until I got married, which I would also suggest to my kids. 

Pros: 

  • I got to go on spur of the moment lavish vacations and look stunning in fancy clothes.
  • I paid for my own dream wedding. This greatly reduced the drama because it's my day and also I'm paying for it.
  • I established a decent resume for myself before becoming a SAHM, which saves me a lot of grief when dealing with people who think I'm less than because I'm a SAHM. Also takes care of a lot of less than feelings I see some SAHMs have.

Cons:

  • I did hear that if you have kids in your teens your body bounces back faster.

I do admit I have been pretty lucky in my life. I think having children in your early 30's is the best time, not because it makes you a better mom, but I think it's a good balance of health/energy and being able to have a frivolous fun time in your 20's.

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6 hours ago, Faith-manor said:

This.

The vast majority of foster children are not available for adoption, and those that are, usually take a very long time to go through the process. A lot can go wrong in the process even if the state is determined to eventually terminate birth parents' rights, and one cam even be near the finish line and then have something happen like one of the foster parents is diagnosed with a medical issue, has a change in job and needs to move, etc. and the adoption falls through. It has happened to so many people I know who have tried the foster to adopt process. Internationally, lots of closed doors. We were close to getting our two girls in Nicaragua, and then a change in government leadership slammed the doors on adoption. Our precious girls eventually died of treatable medical conditions in the orphanage and there was not a thing we could do about it. Other friends were within a month to getting their little boy and were actually in Guatemala to finalize the adoption when the government abruptly ended all US adoptions. As it turns out, several adoption agencies were up to some pretty wicked stuff to get their hands on children to adopt out.

There is no pipeline of babies. It is a myth. International adoptions are much harder now than they were ten years ago. It also costs a ton. Anywhere from $20,000-50,000 for most adoptions except privately arranged ones which can be drought with ethical issues. Foster/adopt is not expensive, but again, not a pipeline of children out there with parental rights terminated.

We have a couple in our life that just went through sorting out these decisions (fertility treatment vs adoption, etc). They are actually still quite young- the 25 and 33, I think. Anyhow, after investigating all of their options, they decided to go to Prague for a month for in-vitro treatment because that was actually the straightest, least costly line. $5000 in all.

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6 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

About infertility...

...
Women should be aware of these things when considering family planning because there is no substitute for having a child.  That doesn't mean parenthood is for everyone and that people can't have fulfilling lives if they choose not to have children, but having children is unique and there's no replacement for it.

Yep. If I waited until my 30s, I'd have none. No indicators whatsoever that I'd be sitting in a fertility specialist's office in my early 20s. 

No indications either, that my sister would get breast cancer at 29 and have to irradiate her ovaries. 

I really am not comfortable with the more and more common idea that we can just assume, with enough money and technology, nature will be our slave.

 

For my own anecdote, I had my kids between ages 20-28. I was just spinning my wheels in higher ed, with no real direction, just accruing debt. I decided to work and have babies instead. I met dh young and he was always a stable, family oriented guy. We aren't wealthy but we've never gone without, but my country has universal health care. All the grandparents have been young enough to be involved- dh's especially, who also had their own kids young and are now only early 60s. This has been a huge plus, and dh remembers similar advantages growing up with his grandparents. 

Being a young mother was great for me, it gave me purpose and direction and insight into myself. Educating myself whilst at home with them has been more meaningful and practical than anything I did at uni. That's just my personality, I'm glad I could do it this way. Especially now in the teen years!

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2 minutes ago, LMD said:

Yep. If I waited until my 30s, I'd have none. No indicators whatsoever that I'd be sitting in a fertility specialist's office in my early 20s. 

No indications either, that my sister would get breast cancer at 29 and have to irradiate her ovaries. 

I really am not comfortable with the more and more common idea that we can just assume, with enough money and technology, nature will be our slave.

I relactated  with the help of a local fertility clinic for my youngest who we adopted.  When I was at my appointments most women were in their late 30s-40s range, not in their 20s.  Granted, I didn't check everyone's ID for confirmation, but I'm not terrible at ball parking people's ages and later finding out I'm right. At that time, in 2005, the cost of a 20 minute consultation with a fertility doctor was $350. Most insurers don't cover fertility treatments. The success rate of IVF at that time was below 30% if I remember correctly. I think each attempt ran about $20,000. Surrogates started at $30,000 then. International adoptions ran from $10,000-$40,000ish depending on country and whether or not a sibling set was involved.

I knew I didn't want to divide my time between working even part time and being a hands on mom.  I wanted to go all in on being a full time mom, so I decided not to pursue higher education and pursued intentional dating for a very stable Mr. Right, not Mr. Right Now.  Maybe somehow I knew I had underlying medical issues, maybe it was God nudging me in the right direction, maybe I just got lucky.  Whatever the explanation, I'm sooooo glad I didn't buy into every woman needing a career.  It's an option; take it or leave it, either is perfectly acceptable. That's definitely a counter-cultural attitude that few women hear today. That's going to cost some of them dearly.

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