F’ Your Fertility Threats, I’ll Get Pregnant When I Want

Lala's Full Court Life | VH1
Lala’s Full Court Life | VH1

Is it just me or are a lot of prime time television shows airing episodes where a female character is struck deaf and dumb by the loud ticking of her biological clock? Has this always been a go-to plot contrivance or am I’m just noticing it now because I’m 31 and at least one of my peers is posting a birth announcement to Facebook every other month?  The mass influx of baby shower invites aside, I find it rather offensive that TV shows are slamming this narrative down our throats. While there are real and significant concerns about fertility as we age, I see the media playing a role in the hysteria, desperation, and ultimate “settling” that a number of women engage in whether intentional or not. Think about it, what sparked the last conversation or serious thought you had about fertility, your Ob-gyn or the hens on Basketball Wives?

Biological clock episodes are everywhere, it seems. Last summer on Lala’s Full Court Life, Lala Anthony struggled to reconcile her desire to focus on a career that’s gaining steam with her desire (and perceived duty) to have a second child. On Chrissy and Mr. Jones, Chrissy, who is 41 years old, reveals her reservations about parenting with a partner as laissez-faire as Jim. When she considers freezing her eggs so that she’ll have more time to decide, she gets the gas face from Mama Jones, Jim, and her girls. Even the comedy New Girl starring hipster fairy child Zooey Deschanel showed her character Jess losing her shit because her gynecologist friend told her that by the time a woman turns 30, 90% of her eggs will be gone. GONE!

I bet you can think of some shows you saw this year with similar story lines but you can just as easily turn to real life for examples too. Maybe you’re one of the many women out there who is truly concerned about how many good eggs she has left and how much more risk she might expose herself and her future child to the longer she waits. I’m not here to fault you for that because, without a doubt, the facts are on your side:

  • According to a report published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction, fertility gradually falls around age 27 before dropping more dramatically after age 35. Findings suggest that older would-be moms may have to wait longer before becoming pregnant.  There’s a decrease in the probability of becoming pregnant per menstrual cycle, not in the probability of eventually achieving a pregnancy at all. Shorter version:  It might take women in their late 20s or early 30s a month or two longer to become pregnant compared to their early 20s.
  • Women in their mid-30s who want to have children may need to start paying attention to their ovulation cycles for the first time. You can’t just “end up pregnant” like so many of our gal pals did in high school (no shade). The older we get, the more getting pregnant requires planning and time – not such a bad thing, in my opinion.
  • http://twitter.com/Ice_Jones Ice Jones

    i had a big freak out at 31 when i found myself freshly dumped. cried endlessly about never fulfilling my one true dream in life until i realized that 1)i had time and 2) i don’t e’en much think i want them at all anymore. i just wanted them because that’s what i was supposed to be doing w/ my life. now, i’m seriously looking forward to being the fly aunt who swoops in and gives great gifts and gets to go home to a quiet house.

  • DontBelieveTheHype

    This is a crazy story. I mean, I get it – women are far more progressive, independent, ambitious, empowered, professional, etc. in the 21st century – but don’t get confused. It’s biologically going against the grain of nature to bear children even in your later 30s. So this article’s ego of taking on nature is setting women up to lose. At least those women who want to have children, anyway. Freezing eggs? C’mon, now. Black women are freezing eggs now? Black women are literally the original queens of this planet, and this article is the consensus thinking among many of you? I don’t believe it is. I hope it’s not. Because the bottom line is, you’ve got all the eggs you’re ever gonna get. And they’re getting older, not fresher. So don’t try to challenge nature, or try to conveniently skewer the facts. That’s a lose-lose.

  • GangStarrGirl

    Judging from your condescending response, I’m going to assume you’re a man who wanted to “kick knowledge” in a woman’s forum. This article is the writer’s opinion, and yes a lot of women (not just black but in general) do share this opinion. She’s talking primarily about fear mongering and womb-clocking that sends women into an unhealthy panic and obsession in some cases, and your comment confirms that more posts like this are needed. She does acknowledge that chances of having a baby get less as women age. We are all aware of this but also know that it isn’t impossible. There are women getting pregnant not even on purpose in their 40s. There are women who were told by doctors that they’d never conceive, who end up getting pregnant. Again, we know that after 35 it gets harder biologically but women are always being fed different information. The writer also points out that there are other ways to become a mom so yes, freezing eggs is a viable option, so is adoption. I didn’t see any ego involved at all, just real talk.

  • DontBelieveTheHype

    Well said, GangStarrGirl. I didn’t mean to sound condescending so please forgive me. I was just saying I think women should, in fact, be very concerned about their biological clocks because it’s a very real thing. Why would women press their biological limits – which will only complicate matters later when they want to conceive – or seek unnatural routes? And sure, women are getting pregnant in their 40s, and some who are told they can’t conceive later do, but those are exceptions rather than the rule. Waiting to have children for as long as you can is an option women have, of course, but why would a woman fight it? For career, or goals, or entrepreneurship, or travel? And is it worth it in the end if you ultimately have to result to freezing your eggs or some other medical intervention? C’mon now. Forget the “messages” coming out. Women know better than to be waiting until they’re 40 to conceive their first child, if they can help it.

  • http://nakiahansen.com Nakia H.

    Hi. Author of the post here. I think I clearly point out that biological concerns regarding fertility are in fact real and important. However, Like GangStarrGirl rightly points out, there’s a problem with the way sensationalism and fear push women into freaking out about things that a little planning and careful consideration would solve. It’s not either or… a lot of women who consider themselves progressive want to have children within a traditional family unit. But they also want other things that may require a little jiggering of the timeline. I’m sure you once said something like “By the time I’m 30 I want to have___.” But once you approached that age it became clear that your timeline needed adjusting without equating such adjustment with failure. When it comes to women’s biological clocks, society will have us out here thinking that we’re doing it ALL wrong if we get off schedule. Well I say that we get to make our own timelines for the healthiest, happiest, and most secure families we deserve. Rushing to settle with a man who isn’t right or at a time that doesn’t allow you offer the life your child deserves just to beat the clock serves no one. I’m sure you’d agree with that.

    Furthermore, I never said that you should freeze your eggs but hey, it’s an option that we have these days and we must examine the reality that women are considering it. We use a lot of medical interventions as you call them to prolong life, prevent disease, and yes… improve fertility. But I doubt many would find fault with respirators and antibiotics so can a sista live?

  • Ack

    I agree that no one should rush a woman into motherhood. However, I think we forget nature often does not make mistakes! There is a reason why you fertility drosps significantly after 30! Im all for seeing women advance within the workplace and fulfill their dreams. I think rather than appoching motherhood like a thesis, allow your NATURAL instincts guide you.

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