Sunday, March 2, 2008

Scare Tactics?

I am not really sure how to feel about this article. In it, the writer advocates for being in a hurry when it comes to making babies. She says more than career or anything else, babies and family make women the happiest.

For me, everything she says has been true. I met my husband in my early 20's (22). I married him at 25. And we started having kids before we were 30. That path was right for us in a lot of ways. But this is not to say I do not have some worries. Did I hurt my career by putting so much emphasis on marriage and children? Should I have moved to NYC like I planned in college (before I got derailed by a boyfriend)? That move would have certainly been better career-wise as I would likely be an editor at a women's magazine, which is what I had always planned.

On the other hand, we have achieved our pregnancies with ease, a fact which I realize makes me extremely lucky. I am so grateful for that fact. But would we have had trouble had I waited? And had I moved to NY like I planned in college, would I have even met R or even been married at this time? Probably not.

Since I have clearly followed the writer's advice whether intentionally or not, I have to wonder whether she is just using scare tactics. I get a little sick hearing about our waning fertility after 35. I know many women who have had perfectly healthy pregnancies after this age, including my own mother with my sister. On other other hand, I know very little about the science of fertility. Maybe we do only have limited amounts of time, maybe I have a skewed sense of how long fertility lasts.

Still, I am not happy with the scare tactics inherent in the piece. I do not like the ides of girls as young as my sister at 22 thinking they have to rush themselves to the altar lest their eggs dry up. I am glad with how things turned out for me. I cannot imagine not having Sam and R in my life. But I cannot help but imagine the other routes I could have taken and I hope that young girls will not feel the need to lock themselves into anything at 22.

Also, feel free to check out my latest essay.


Stephanie said...

I'm not sure about the accuracy of that scare tactic propaganda. (can you guess which side of this I'm coming down on???) Women's fertility actually takes a nose dive much earlier than 30...but I guess it wouldn't be socially responsible to advocate for teen pregnancies. 37 is the "magic" number from what I've heard recently (the second dip in fertility). I most certainly disagree with the author's advice for making career choices based on the hypothetical future family. I made a decision early on to forsake medical school b/c I wanted to be a young mom and not have to choose between my career and family. Well, now I'm 30, not yet married, no kids and guess what...not a doctor. You never really know how your life is going to play out. Why short-change yourself from a fulfilling career based on what may or may not happen? Besides - women already get enough societal pressure to marry and have we really need to scare people into making such huge decisions?

Kristi said...

It's an interesting article. I have a post planned on egg-freezing, which I happen to think is a great idea and will help women in their 30s who want kids eventually search for Mr. Right, instead of Mr. Right Now. But, I think it's a dangerous idea to promote directing the path of one's life toward the eventual goal of having kids. This is a very individualized decision. Some women have always known they have wanted kids, but for others, that decision comes later. I think it's a terrible message to send to that later group that they may have missed the boat, and they should have figured their lives out earlier.