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I was sitting opposite my good friend the other day, who had just returned from a three year stint overseas.
Concerned about why I still hadn’t started trying for a baby, she asked: “If the roles were reversed, what would you be telling me as a 36 year old sitting across the table from you?”
You see, having finally met Mr Right, she had just started investigating her only option – egg donation – and was coming to the realization that it wasn’t going to be an easy road. As would any good friend, she didn’t want me to find myself in the same situation if I left it too late.
I suppose it made me think. What would my 49 year old self tell my 36 year old self about making the decision to have kids? The truth is, I had no idea. How do I know how I’ll feel at that age and whether I would regret my decision if I decided not to have a family?
It’s a decision that I have struggled with personally for quite a while. It’s hard to put my finger on the pulse of why, but being human, the obvious one is likely to be a fear of failure.
Now fast approaching the fecundity precipice, the pressure to make a decision either way is overwhelming – and I’ve never really considered myself a base jumper.
It also got me thinking about our patients at Genea and how much they go through before they come to us. Everyone has such a different journey. Making that first step is often the hardest and you’d be fooled into thinking that we have many seasoned base jumpers sitting in our reception for morning clinic – the fear just doesn’t show! Confident and strong women with a clear goal and they’re going to achieve it no matter what.
Often, of course, that is not the reality.
Rewind 10 years and during career counselling following my first redundancy, I was asked to write a letter to a long-lost friend 10 years into the future. It would detail what I was up to – career, kids, money – you know, the usual suspects. As I penned my letter, the obvious flowed out: high powered job, two kids, hubby by my side, nice house, nice car, financially blessed. I’m not really sure whether I really believed it all but it felt right and was something solid to work towards.
‘Having it all’ seems like such a cliché. But what if your ‘all’ takes on a different form?
As life has turned out, like for many people, spanners appeared at many turns.
That was all fine until our couple friends, one by one, dropped off the face of the earth when they had kids. That’s hard to handle. Hubby and I became the ‘go-to’ couple for when they could find a last minute babysitter and wanted to go out and forget they were parents!
Don’t get me wrong, our friends are fabulous and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Unfortunately though, priorities change and family, of course, takes precedence. Seeing the bond my friends have with their kids melts my heart and I couldn’t be happier for them.
The broken record “So when are you having kids?” is probably the most confronting question I field from my friends - like many of our patients. It is always asked in jest as my response is always “Next year” and they know it.
To be honest though, I haven’t really talked to them about why so I can’t blame them for not understanding the impact their curiosity has on me.
I do really envy those who can just confidently make the jump and start trying for a family.
I also feel guilty that I am holding off making a decision when some of our patients don’t get the luxury of that choice.
But even more so, I truly admire those who want a family so badly that they will do anything to achieve their dream.
My ‘all’ has morphed into finding myself working at Genea amongst many other things that I am so grateful for in my life including a wonderful husband, our gorgeous puppy and an amazing family.
I feel so privileged to work in a place that helps make families a reality for so many loving parents.
Tomorrow may be a different story but for today, I’m happy with that.
For more fertility thoughts on all things fertility, please read our other fertility blogs.
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Indian culture - Its influence on fertility
17 Oct 2017
Bringing imaging technology directly to our patients
16 Oct 2017
Fertility Week 2017
15 Aug 2017
IVF: What influences success?
11 Aug 2017
Hope for families as MSAC delivers