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I am going to share a with you some intimately personal information about me. Please note, that in posting this, it is not my intention for sympathy, but to highlight something so dear and important to me and my husband, that I want to share, in the hope that if it helps one person, then great! By the way, my husband has given me permission to share our story and we were inspired to share after reading an article about Sonia Kruger being pregnant at 49.
Ever since I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to be a mother. I have been maternal since I was little and grew up around babies and loved nurturing them and seeing them grow and spread their wings into adulthood and being part of that journey.
Never, ever, did I think that I would be infertile with the chronic effects of endometriosis and have to undergo IVF.
We are now heading into our 5th year of our journey, we are still struggling to conceive our much wanted child. Yep, it gets harder as time moves on - especially when you have friends and colleagues onto having their second or third baby, their children reach their 1st then 2nd and 3rd birthday parties. The longer the time passes, the more you think your body is broken, the more you lose faith in yourself as a woman.
In my industry, any mother over the age of 35 is referred to as an "elderly primipara". Pretty offensive in my mind, but in reality, the best time to give birth is in your early to mid-20's. As women reach the age of 35, fertility declines quite rapidly and there is an increased risk of miscarriage and other health related problems during pregnancy such as high blood pressure and diabetes. So with this knowledge at hand, it is pretty easy to beat yourself up for not trying sooner and to start believing that you are never going to be a mother.
I have posted a link to an article below about Sonia Krueger becoming a mum at 49. It really started to help me reverse my thinking. Just like anything we perceive, ageing is a state of mind. I have seen videos of women at 88 years do gymnastics, I have met 70 year old grandmothers raising their grandchildren while their parents are having to work to pay the bills....I started thinking, "yeah, it really is all in my head"....
So for us, our journey is not yet over, but it is on hold. If there is one major lesson that I have learned from all of this, it would be that despite the so far $30K+ spent on IVF and multiple surgeries, the tears, the anger, the rage, the disappointments, the frustration, that I do not have any control over my fertility. The other lesson I have learned, is that IVF has an on average 70% failure rate for women over the age of 35. When I first started IVF, I was fuelled with hope, but now at the age of 41, we need to start being realistic. I wish that I had have seen the 70% failure rate rather than the 30% success rate.
If you want my sage advice, it is this. Don't think that you can put off having children until you are ready - because it might be too late and you will be confronted with much heartache and a very narrow bank balance with nothing to show for it. We all worry about setting ourselves up financially for a family. What you need to do, is live in the here and now, and really think about what is most important to you. Houses, cars and finances can wait - having children can't. The poorest people in the world, are the happiest. Our societal attitudes about having it all, really has a tremendous sub-conscious impact on our hopes and expectations. So use at least an hour, once a week, thinking about what you really want in life. Frequently re-evaluate what is important in your life and re-prioritise your goals, ground yourself into the here and now, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
We spend far too much time trying to chase dreams, rather than living in the present. When we are confronted by major life experiences such as the death of a loved one, it is only then, that we start being grateful for what we have. If we can stop at least once a day and take note of what we are grateful for that day or that week, then this is the beginning to leading a happier and fulfilling life, without the need to chase dreams!