I don’t quite consider myself a bra burning feminist, but I do have my moments. One of these moments came on the weekend whilst reading The Daily Telegraph and coming across an article titled, “ Waiting For Mr Right Can Be Wrong”. What? I am one of those women who is waiting for Mr Right and has experienced many Mr Right Nows and Mr Wrongs, so seeing this over my morning coffee startled me.
A woman’s body clock is her wost enemy. We are biologically wired to procreate, but also these days have been educated to want more than just babies and breast feeding. We are now in the era of the Alpha Female, the girl who wants it all and is capable of doing it, however our uterus sometimes gets the better of us and motherhood comes calling. But since women are multi taskers, we juggle it all, family and career! (And hopefully with the help of Mr Right).
The article continues on to interview IVF specialist, Associate Professor Steve Robson who states, ”Women should not be proud and get online to find a date rather than consider donor sperm or freezing their eggs”. (I wonder which on line dating company pays him for comments and endorsements such as this?). He continues with, “ the preferred option is that women fall in love. I say to them get online and start dating”. Is he telling us to forgot about true love and find someone from a list of categories and interests who we might be compatible with to fertilise our eggs? And why is telling us to find the father of our children on line? What about also those who do not wish to have children, do they still need to stop being so proud or is this just procreation type of advice ( sounds like we are living back in the stone ages).
I come from a professional background as a family mediator, where my job was to assist in the divorce process. The most common situation was to see a couple, who were married in their late 20’s early 30’s and I would suspect, was not a marriage of love, or a matter of finding MR Right, but a situation of convenience and timing disguised as love. Put some babies into the mix and the stress would start to build, they would resent each other, hate each other and end up in my office wanting to divorce. The most terrible thing about this situation was the children that suffered as a consequence. Is this the same future you want for your children with Mr Right Now?
Society puts fear into women that we must be married with children or at least children on the way by the time we are 30. Society has also given us options with a career, education and other opportunities, yet we are still pushed to have babies by our 30’s. However, the average age for a women to have a baby has now risen from 30.4 to 31.5. Sixty percent of women now also have babies when they are older than 30.
Some of the best advice I was given was not to get married before I was 30. I was told that I had to get over the pressure of being 30 and find a man who I really loved, not one that would tick off the boxes and be an answer to the fear of the 30’s, Mr Right Now.
I have also strongly considered being one of those women who has their eggs frozen. Recently my body might be telling me to have a baby, but my mind and life are still not ready. This is not a selfish decision but a common sense one. When I have children, I want to be able to give them the best chance in life. The idea of a backup plan (eggs in the freezer) does seem appealing to take the pressure off the manhunt in today’s meat market, on line or in person. I want to be ready to find true love when I am ready, not when my biological age and body clock tells me I should. My mind is stronger than my body.
I feel this article is trying to tell us to stop being so fussy and get settled before we are ready. I say, keep being fussy and do consider freezing eggs and sperm donation. Find someone you truly love and want to be with, not someone that fits the mould for the moment. Would you rather take the risk of struggling with getting pregnant later in life but under the right circumstance, or have a child right now with possibly the wrong person and run the risk of the negative consequences (for more than just yourself).
Are the people quoted in this article encouraging us to have babies younger and maybe when we are not ready or indirectly ensuring a higher rate of divorce later on? If you settle for Mr Right Now instead of Mr Right, that’s exactly where you might end up (or at least it increases your chances you will be there).
Later, in the same paper I came across another article that also caught my attention, “The Baby Breakthrough: Can We Give Birth Forever?” This article outlined new research from Massachusetts, which reveals a significant breakthrough in combating infertility. The findings suggest that stem cells in ovaries could be harnessed to produce eggs in older women as well as younger women who have undergone invasive cancer treatments. It might still be another generation away, but it just goes to show that medical advances could be assisting us in the process of having it all, Mr Right, the baby and the job. So why give up now as Associate Professor Steve Robson might be suggesting?
There will always be the debate of what makes the perfect parents and at what age should we be having babies? Do we give in to our primal responsibilities and urges or choose to take the sometimes riskier road and use modern science to cheat our biological clocks?
Don’t give up on the search, keeping looking for Mr Right (but maybe keep having cocktails with Mr Right Now), and have babies when you are ready, not when anyone else says you are!
Happy Searching, (and maybe freezing your eggs)