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.

2 comments:

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 children...do 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.