Fertility, new baby days

holding hand tyndale

Having a new baby in the house changes everything.

Life is new, fresh, & exciting.

Somehow that little person reignites the meaning of life, it’s purpose. It’s fragility & shortness.

me and tyndale

In an article today on cnn.com, Wendy Sachs talks about fertility & how, despite our modern 21st century feminist perspective that “40 is the new 30,” our ovaries have not caught on. And sadly, many women find this out too late.

The stats are sobering–after 35, the chances of conceiving naturally take a rather drastic nose dive.

According to the Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine, a woman in her 20s has a 20-25% chance of conceiving naturally per menstrual cycle. In her early 30s, the chance of pregnancy is 15% per cycle. After 35, the odds of pregnancy without medical intervention are at 10%. After 40, that number falls to 5%, and women over 45 have a 1% chance of conception.

Further, the article highlights some of the main points of Tanya Selvaratnam’s book, The Big Lie, in which she discusses many of the issues of fertility, infertility, & the silence surrounding many of the struggles women have with these issues.

Selvaratnam says:

We are the guinea pig generation for testing the limits of our fertility, or our chances of having a child. The shock and the lack of preparation when you’re not prepared and the pressure women feel in general about our reproductive selves adds to the shame women feel when they can’t get pregnant […]

[Selvaratnam] also argues that feminism may have misled Gen X women by avoiding the topic of motherhood and biology. The trend of delaying motherhood was meant to empower women, but ironically it may have boomeranged, leaving scores of women infertile and desperate to have a baby. Selvaratnam believes that we need to reset the conversation and reconcile motherhood with also being an educated, independent, successful woman.

holding tyndale

You know, some people may think I couldn’t possibly understand infertility, because, I have five kids.

While it may be true I can’t fully comprehend the pressure, the potential misplaced guilt, the stress, & so many of the other emotions attached with wanting a child and not being able to conceive, I do understand the power of the motherly pull. That desire to procreate, to be a mother. Of course, not all women experience this, but I think it’s safe to say most do, to some degree or another.

Try as we may to erase much of what makes us feminine, in an effort to move up in the ranks of a male dominated world, the majority of females are born nurturers. And, may I add, what is the shame in admitting this? We want to take care of others. But it goes beyond this. We want to have children. Yes, we want those snot-nosed, messy, loud, sometimes obnoxious & trying little human beings that pull at the very depths of our soul. That push us to love, protect, & feel in a way that nothing else does.

full shot tyndale

So here’s were I get personal.

Though I’ve never struggled with infertility, I know that fertility has it’s limits. I’ve never been on birth control. I’ve been married nearly 10 years, & in that time I’ve gotten pregnant when I could get pregnant. There were no deliberate pauses, or prevention.

Which means, I’ve had as many children as I possibly could have (which was a deliberate choice–Joseph & I are big family people after all). And based on this, each pregnancy has been more spaced out than the last. I don’t think this is a coincidence, but further proof, that as women age, the ability to conceive becomes just a wee bit more difficult (or rather takes longer) with each cycle.

tyndale holding hand 410 I don’t know why I’m sharing this.

Maybe it’s this little person that I hold. His hand just a fraction of mine. Fragile, needy.

In his grasp, it’s as if he says: life is short, don’t wait.

 


Comments


  1. Lindi
    on September 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm said:

    There is a fabulous book on fertility that I think every women should read. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. It is seriously wonderful. Our society doesn’t seem to want us to be educated about our own bodies; I guess it is easier for a doctor to give a pill than it is to educate. Good thing we can educate ourselves.

  2. Alanna
    on February 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm said:

    Beautiful. I love these thoughts and sentiments.

  3. Kathleen
    on January 23, 2014 at 9:56 am said:

    Congratulations on the birth of your son! He is stunning and I hope you are enjoying every minute. (I’m sure you are.) This is my first time commenting but I love your blog and am always so excited when a new post is up!
    I am 33, almost 34 and I have a 9 month old daughter. It’s funny because here in New York City I am considered a “young” mom. Most of my friends do not have kids yet and I have had to actively seek out other mom friends.
    I am in the midst of pursuing a second graduate degree and originally my husband and I had agreed that we would wait to have kids until my studies were complete, meaning we would start trying at 36. I then had a conversation with my cousin about how I wasn’t very happy with this plan and was stressed about trying to get pregnant over 35. She replied, “Almost everything in life can wait, but that can’t”. She’s 8 years younger than me but her wisdom was bold. The next month, I was pregnant and am so grateful that we didn’t wait a second longer. I even took this year mostly off to be home with Clara and am so grateful my husband and I have been able to make that work. As cliche as it sounds, she has brought more joy to our lives than either of us could ever have imagined.
    This post does make me think again, however, because I was sure I would put off #2 a few years since it was very easy to get pregnant the first time. But, obviously, as you said, there is no guarantee. A certain timeline is set for me because of the nature of Clara’s birth which resulted in an emergency Cesarean and a long, painful recovery. Our midwife has recommended waiting a minimum of 18 months before I get pregnant again to make sure my uterus has properly healed. (TMI??)
    I often wonder what I would have been like as a mother in my 20’s. I hope I would have risen to the occasion, but to be honest, I don’t think I could have handled it. The 20’s were a very tumultuous time for me even though I looked like I had it together on the exterior. Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself, but I am grateful my daughter has me as a mother today versus 10 years ago.
    Thank you so much for your thoughts and the link to the article. And again, many congratulations!

    • Janae Wise
      on January 25, 2014 at 8:38 am said:

      Hi Kathleen! Thank you for the thoughtful compliments.

      “As cliche as it sounds, she has brought more joy to our lives than either of us could ever have imagined.”
      Not cliche as all. Becoming a mother or father can be one of the greatest experiences in this life. So happy for you & your husband.

      I would imagine NYC is quite a different atmosphere in terms of parenting & age. My sister-in-law lives back east & has commented how many parents of young children are in their late 30’s & early 40’s & it’s not uncommon to see sets of multiples (twins & triplets) because of the prevalence of fertility treatments. I think in some ways, people are better equipped to deal with the great responsability of parenting when they are older & more established, but by the same token, when you begin your family younger, you’re not set in your ways & comforts & it’s easier to deal with having your life disrupted by a little human being. Joseph & I sort of took the dive into parenting in our early twenties, so we never grew accustomed to many of the comforts of single/childless life, which IMO, made things a bit easier in terms of transitioning since we didn’t have to give up much (except for sleep). So much of parenting requires a great deal of self-lessness & sacrifice & the more open a person is to that, the easier the transition.

      About adding a second to your family. I think it is a wise choice to hold off until your body is completely ready for it, but as soon as it is (& you are), I wouldn’t hold back in trying again. One of the best things that happened to us was me getting pregnant with my second soon after I had my first. I know many people thought I was crazy, but having my two boys only 15 months apart has been the greatest blessing. They are best friends–almost like twins–& I don’t know what they’d do without each other.

      “I often wonder what I would have been like as a mother in my 20′s. I hope I would have risen to the occasion, but to be honest, I don’t think I could have handled it. The 20′s were a very tumultuous time for me even though I looked like I had it together on the exterior. Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself, but I am grateful my daughter has me as a mother today versus 10 years ago.”
      Good point. Though I believe you would have risen to the occasion. Most parents do (barring they are not drug addicts, alcoholics, or chronically self-absorbed). I know there are a lot of dope parents out there, but I’d like to believe that most people are inherently good & that when their own child is placed in their arms & they realize they are responsible for loving & raising that human being, everything changes & they rise to the occasion to the best of their abilities. I don’t think there is anything than can quite prepare you to be a mother or father–you just sort of have to jump in & give it your all, & you learn as you go, hoping & praying for grace & forgiveness as you stumble along with the best of intentions.

      So glad you took the time to comment. I love hearing from all different perspectives & backgrounds. Best of luck to you & your family!!

      ox

  4. lfwfv
    on January 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm said:

    Loved this Janae. I definitely regret not starting earlier and I think it is likely I will only be able to carry one more child (I hope for that at least). At the same time, I know the life choices that led us to this point were also led by God and I can’t live with regret. I do wish more people would talk about how much easier it is to have kids in your twenties. Lastly, we will consider adding to our family via adoption in the future….anither way to cherish and honor the gift of life. Your pictures with Tyndale are gorgeous! I am so glad you are enjoying your sweetheart.

    • Janae Wise
      on January 23, 2014 at 8:30 am said:

      “I do wish more people would talk about how much easier it is to have kids in your twenties.”
      I agree. The twenties are absolutely the best time in terms of biology, to conceive & bear children, though for many women, the 20’s now are when education & career takes precedent, so it’s definitely a bit of a catch-22 for many women now. I was thinking though, some women feel that kids would get in the way of a career, but had I stopped at two or three kids, I would be relatively free to pursue a career now that my 3 oldest kids are in school, & I’m only 30, which leaves plenty of time for that. Though, I still have plans to return to school & get a master’s degree at some point (most likely in my 40’s) & hopefully teach again.

      I know it’s tricky, trying to make those work/life/family balance decisions, but it just makes me sad that a lot of women do put off having kids until it’s become much more difficult & the emotional/financial toll is high. I’ve known couples who’ve spent $30K or more just trying to get pregnant, & then having that fail several times. And most insurance companies don’t cover fertility treatments.

      “Lastly, we will consider adding to our family via adoption in the future….anither way to cherish and honor the gift of life.”
      Oh I hope that whatever the case, you’re blessed to add to your family in whatever way you can. Adoption can be such a blessing–I wish more women were open to the idea of giving their child up for adoption (over abortion, say).

      “Your pictures with Tyndale are gorgeous! I am so glad you are enjoying your sweetheart.”
      Thank you! He is a handsome little guy.

      Thanks for all your thoughts Tanya–your little one is so lucky to have you as a mama.

  5. Michelle
    on January 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm said:

    What a great post! I had five kids in 7 1/2 years in my 20’s and early thirties…never had a problem and took my fertility for granted. Then five years went by and I had my daughter at 38. I had never had a miscarriage never prevented but never had to try for a baby and relished my naïveté. I had heard the statistics but I was going to be different. At 40 I was pleasantly surprised to find myself pregnant again. Only to have it snatched away to find out that our precious son had T18 and anencephaly and at 24 weeks our son went to be with his Heavenly Father. I never got my hope and prayer to be able to just have a few minutes with him this side of heaven. Most likely the result of those dreaded words Advanced Maternal Age. We then tried and tried and after six miscarriages and another loss to a chromosomal problem, I am through God’s grace five months pregnant with a baby girl at 44 years of age. We don’t do any testing but she looks perfect.

    Your fertility is a precious gift. With all the celebrities pregnant in their forties, no one tells us that it can be hard, that it will be hard, and that heartache may follow. No one tells us that their pregnancies are through medical help and support.

    Thank-you so much for writing this post and empowering woman and telling them to cherish their fertility and to make sure that if it is a priority that they don’t wait.

    Blessings to you and your beautiful family!

    Michelle

    • Janae Wise
      on January 23, 2014 at 8:34 am said:

      Wow Michelle! What a journey you’ve been through these past years. I hope & pray that you will continue to have a healthy pregnancy, & that your little girl will arrive healthy & happy.

      “Your fertility is a precious gift. With all the celebrities pregnant in their forties, no one tells us that it can be hard, that it will be hard, and that heartache may follow. No one tells us that their pregnancies are through medical help and support.”
      Absolutely. And I think this is what I loved about the article–it’s helping to displace the myth that fertility is somehow extended because we’ve figured out how to cover up other signs of aging via botox, plastic surgery, & good hair dye.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story, & for your kind words.

      Again, wishing you continued health & strength through the remainder of your pregnancy!

      ox

  6. April
    on January 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm said:

    That is so interesting you share that you have never prevented a pregnancy because I was so certain that you purposefully put off having that 5th baby. Given Salem’s age and how close the 4 were I thought you took a break on purpose. So interesting. I am 32 and I have had 3 ridiculously easy times getting pregnant. We consider a 4th but honestly are not sure we’ll go there. How interesting to know that if we did try again it may very well not be as easy as it was the first 3 times (which all happened in my 20s). Thanks for sharing this and I can’t wait to get back to your regular blogging!

    • Janae Wise
      on January 23, 2014 at 8:46 am said:

      “That is so interesting you share that you have never prevented a pregnancy because I was so certain that you purposefully put off having that 5th baby. Given Salem’s age and how close the 4 were I thought you took a break on purpose.”
      I know, I think most people assume that too! If were up to us, I would have gotten pregnant at least a year sooner, but it didn’t work out that way. I love having my kids close together in age, & the gap between Salem & Tyndale, though not huge, is bigger than I would have planned. But, it has been a blessing actually, to have a bigger gap, because now Salem is potty-trained, & since she’s nearly 3, very much the capable older & caring sister. Also, she’s required much more hands on attention than any of my other kids, so it’s been a good thing that I haven’t had another baby until now. Being a person of faith, I very much believe a higher power was at work here, & I was blessed to get pregnant at the time that was best for me & our family, not when I thought was best, if that makes sense.

      “How interesting to know that if we did try again it may very well not be as easy as it was the first 3 times (which all happened in my 20s).”
      Who knows? It may take longer, or you may get lucky & get pregnant only after a few times of trying. I have an aunt who had four kids in quick succession then could not get pregnant for four years. Then she did get pregnant, & had three more kids in quick succession, despite being in her mid-late 30’s. I think the point is though, that if it is a priority to have a child, women should consider their declining fertility as a factor in making that important decision.

      “Thanks for sharing this and I can’t wait to get back to your regular blogging!”
      Well thank you for reading & sharing your thoughts! And I too, I’m anxious to get back to my regular routine–I anticipate returning to my regular blogging next week 🙂

      ox

  7. Joya
    on January 22, 2014 at 3:58 pm said:

    What precious times these days are! And I think you’re correct about the fertility thing – why your children are spaced out and all. It makes perfect sense.

    • Janae Wise
      on January 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm said:

      “What precious times these days are!”
      No kidding! And I think it’s only taken me four times to finally “get” the appreciating the newborn stage. I know how quickly it goes by & so I’m savoring it like I never quite was able with the others. I just like sitting & staring at the baby & would be happy to do nothing more than just hold him all day. Goes by so fast.

      “And I think you’re correct about the fertility thing – why your children are spaced out and all. It makes perfect sense.”

      Yes, here’s the spacing–
      1st & 2nd: 15 months apart
      2nd & 3rd: 20 months apart
      3rd & 4th: 32 months apart
      4th & 5th: 35 months apart

      & again, this is completely natural–n& I didn’t do anything different in terms of breastfeeding or prevention.

  8. Ashley F.
    on January 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm said:

    Thank you so much for posting this lovely piece. I had my first very early on by most standards (22), and people didn’t get it – they thought I was too young and hadn’t experienced enough. But I knew that I didn’t want to wait until I was older and then perhaps continue to put it off until it was too late.

    After about four years, my husband and I decided to have a second child, and since we conceived in only a month the first time, we thought it would be no problem. Well, we tried for over two years, and it was the most trying time in our lives. Who knows if it was age or other factors, but I think the point you are making is that you never know what’s going to happen, so why risk it by putting it off until it might be too late?

    • Janae Wise
      on January 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm said:

      “After about four years, my husband and I decided to have a second child, and since we conceived in only a month the first time, we thought it would be no problem. Well, we tried for over two years, and it was the most trying time in our lives.”

      Exactly. Though we’d like to think we’re so in control of our fertility (& to some extent, we are), ultimately, it’s not something we can just turn on & off at switch of a button. I love how the article points out how misleading celebrity pregnancies are–Halle Barry having one at 47, Jane Seymour, Mariah Carey, & all the rest. All we see is the end product, but none of the behind the scenes details (like the crazy expensive treatments, & who knows how many failed attempts).

      I’m sure those two years felt like forever (so in the end, were you able to conceive?)–we’ve had to actively try for as long as 6 months & that felt like a LONG time!

      “Who knows if it was age or other factors, but I think the point you are making is that you never know what’s going to happen, so why risk it by putting it off until it might be too late?”
      Yes, absolutely. Deciding to have kids is a hefty decision, but you don’t have to have everything figured out in your life to have kids. I have many friends & family who’ve dealt with infertility for one reason or another, & it’s absolutely heart breaking. My heart goes out to anyone who has dealt with or is dealing with the struggles of infertility.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ashley.

      (I too, was 22 when I had my first–it is young, but I was married, graduated from college, & Joseph & I decided we wanted to be young parents. We’ve never regretted the decision, in fact, we often say how glad we are past the “starting our family” stage & now we get to really enjoy our kids while we’re young & have plenty of energy! 🙂