Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oh I forgot to have children!

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Procreation is a funny thing. For some people it happens like rain. You know its going to happen, you just don't know when. For others it is a military campaign. Planned and executed to the T.

In my lifetime, society's expectations for middle class girls/women changed around 1970. One day the message was "Marry a doctor", the next day it was " Be a doctor". I was confused. I did both. The path to becoming all you can be and being successful delays childbearing. The unfortunate truth is that a although normal childbearing is anywhere from 15-44, optimum fertility is really in a woman's 20's. I hate to see someone in her mid thirties, single, who states she would like to have children. WHEN? TICK TICK
Reminding her that her chilbearing days are numbered is tough. Although there is ART ( Assisted Reproductive Technology), it isn't quite the same as the old fashioned way of having a baby.


Considering that adolescence is anywhere from 11 - 23, and appears to have extended further these days, that puts quite a burden on young women. In the old days, a woman was paired off when she became fertile, ie started her periods, which was about age 16-17. Women did not have access to birth control, and an average woman had 6-10 children in her lifetime. Now it was not expected that all of her children would live to adulthood. Infant mortality and illnesses we vaccinate for, took their toll on children.
Life was simpler, and life expectancies shorter.

Now periods start at 12-13 and education extends into a woman's 20's. Marriage is optional, and financial independence is tenuous. What is a young woman to do? Not forget that she carries a precious gift of fertility, and that it should not be squandered. In my opinion, it should be considered along with education, career climbing, and finding Mr. Right. Even though life expectancies are much longer, and vitality can extend into what was once considered old age, running after a two year old is for the young.

Outsourcing parenthood has been done by the wealthy for eons, yet the experience is meant to be savored by parents without gray hair. Grandparenting is for us old folks, a different thing entirely.

Cultures around the globe teach us, treat fertility as a gift.

Until next time...............

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