Saturday, December 09, 2006

Fertility and Family

I figure if I time things right, I won't have to worry about having an empty nest. My youngest is seven years younger than the oldest. So it is possible that a grand kid could materialize when the youngest is in college.

I hope that's how it works, anyway.

The happiest people seem to have worked hard on raising a nice family and then enjoying grand kids before they're too old to chew. Society is backwards these days. Delaying the joys of parenting for the fleeting pleasures of selfishness. Everyone is too embarrassed to admit that they find parenting far more fulfilling, if hard as heck, than the silliness they used to think so important.

I don't want my children infantilized and lurking in the basement in their 30s. I would love for them to be married, with children and grown up rather than delaying parenting forever. Many people wait too long these days.

Fertility changes with age. Things just get harder physically. My body has been reliably producing eggs for twenty-six years. But my body is getting a little less predictable. A good friend, only 43 is in full menopause. That set me back a bit. She's so young! I'm glad I didn't wait until now to try to have my first child. I'm afraid I would have been disappointed and desperate.

When in my internship, pregnant with twins, waddling like a duck, playing spades in the lounge with the foul-mouthed boys, people scoffed at my desire for babies. "You're just getting done with school. Your life is ahead of you." You know what? I don't regret jumping on the baby bandwagon. I know me. I would get working and busy and have delayed my blessings.

I realize that not everyone feels the way I do. But so many people find out they they do feel this way--but it's too late. Taking an early risk on children is a win-win situation. If a woman finds herself daunted by motherhood, she can quit. If, like me, she finds motherhood more satisfying than daunting and more rewarding than one hundred happy patients, she can have more--if her partner is willing.

So, if things go as planned (hey, a girl can have a plan even if it rarely works as planned), my house will always have babies and children around--just the way I like it.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should get busy having another one. Heck, why not!

I started late with children. I probably won't have to worry about an empty nest but there are definate advantages to having children younger. Energy is one of the main things. I can tell that I get a lot more tired in my mid 40's then I did in my 20's and 30's. But, I would not trade this job for anything in the world. They are the center of my world and that is why I waited to have kids. I really wanted to be there for them. Financially, we can afford that now and not have to pay for someone else to take care of them. In our earlier years that would not have been possible. And, the idea of someone else raising my kids was not even an option with me. NO way!!! It's good to be able to project ahead and plan!

I do worry a little about the onset of menapause though. I know it can do a real number on women.

Dr. Melissa said...

My mom was done having her four kids by 28. I started at 28. She went through menopause when all of us were adults. I would say that was a good thing.

I will be going through menopause (if my body clock resembles hers) while my daughter goes through the teen years. Lovely. It could be spontaneous combustion or we could just both take to our beds and weep and have hot-flashes. We'll see.

allish said...

If a woman finds herself daunted by motherhood, she can quit.

And this is why my dad had a nervous breakdown in kindergarten.

Dr. Melissa said...


I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Do you mean that he wanted his wife to have more children and she quit?

While it can be heart-breaking to not have the number of children you want, my opinion has always been that the person who says "I'm done" must be honored. More kids can strain the relationship and then the kids that exist can suffer with parents with a bad marriage.

This is a discussion that must happen BEFORE marriage.