It’s a shame that the issue around late motherhood often turns into a politically correct debate where women’s reproductive rights, feminism and men not knowing their responsibilities, often cloud the issue. Especially if these articles are placed in papers like Daily Mail, reading the comments makes my blood boil (and by the way, that’s exactly why I read the DM: at least I learn what the wider population thinks.)
Women are slagged off for choosing career over children and wanting too much, men are criticised for walking out on relationships or not wanting to settle down if the ovaries start rattling and clinics are criticised for being money-grabbing factories who mislead patients.
Some of it is true but fact remains that life basically sucks if you’re a woman and want to have children. If you were to put the ‘perfect reproductive ‘-age, the ‘socially accepted’- age, the ‘manageable career’- age and the ‘relationship is ready for it’-age in one graph, you would see straight away that they do not meet up and will never meet up. 40 maybe the new 30 as far as skincare, fashion and attitude is concerned but ovaries didn’t get that marketing message.
Bottom-line is that, deliberately or not, many women prefer not to see the wider picture and even if they do see it, it doesn’t change life’s circumstances. Knowing that you’re better off starting a family before your mid-thirties doesn’t make Mr or Mrs Right appear any sooner after all.
I don’t buy it if it’s said that there isn’t enough information available about female reproductive age. If for something this important you allow yourself to be led by the baby popping capabilities of celebrities and therefore think ‘Oh she was 42 when she had twins so I can have that too’ you should think again. Celebrities are the Photoshop of fertility. Oh sorry, you really did believe all models look like that..?
I spoke to a married patient recently who said that she’d wished that, when it still mattered, she’d spent a tenth of the time wasted on browsing holiday destinations on finding out the facts of her fertility. “It would have changed my life. Now I spend all my time researching fertility clinics whilst having to accept we left it too late.”
I wish we could have a balanced discussion about what can be done, without pointing fingers. The information is out there but being ignored on too large a scale.
We should not only focus on the 20 ways of NOT falling pregnant at sexual education but also spend some time on telling youngsters about their fertile range. Forget about the political correctness: at the same time that we tell women that they can rule the world we should tell them about motherhood too. It’s a fact of life as much as birds and bees are.
Or, for too many, actually not.