The biological clock is a delicate subject for most. I found this out the hard way when I was in the early stages of launching my website eggsperience.com to help women educate themselves about their fertility at a younger age. I asked a friend who was in town visiting me if I could interview her about her egg freezing journey as the first testimonial story on my site. She had shared her journey with freezing her own eggs with me a few years ago. When I expressed my desire and plan to freeze my own eggs, she was very encouraging.
I had the idea of recording her story while we chatted over tea on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Soho House in Chicago. However, her reaction was one I didn’t expect, and I quickly realized how differently we viewed our egg freezing stories. Her whole body language changed and shifted when I brought up the topic. While I would describe my own egg freezing process as one of a happy and hopeful time, she had a completely opposite perspective.
Choosing to freeze your eggs in your early 40s is a much different experience than if you are in your 20s or 30s. She explained to me how there was a certain sadness throughout the whole process. The dream she had envisioned for herself for having a family was not only shattered, but she felt like the window of opportunity to become a mother was closing. I sat numb on the other side of the table, scared to say something wrong. There was nothing I could do. It was clear that my friend whom I cared so deeply for was hurting.
Despite the daily barrage of information that is thrown at us daily, for some reason the subject of fertility makes us question our own livelihood. I desperately wanted to make it all better for my friend. I wanted to stop the pain and hurt she felt. “You did a good thing for yourself,” I said to her as I took a sip of my tea. “You have more options than some of my other girlfriends.” She slowly explained that while yes she had bravely gone through this journey, she embarked on this path as a last resort.
Suddenly, I knew what she meant. I was just a few years before this realization. I too had envisioned my life and motherhood going in a particular direction that wasn’t really happening yet. I put myself in her shoes and slowly realized what she must be feeling. I squeezed her hand and changed the subject.
What I really wanted to tell her is that if she wants a baby, she should just do it and it is OK to do this motherhood thing alone. I would support her, her family would help, and this sadness did not have to continue. I have known several women who have done this in their 40s without any regret. But her dream was to do this with a loving partner. That was my dream too.
What does one do when you have that dream? Is it giving up if you make life happen for yourself? Maybe instead of being fearful of taking our fertility options into our own hands, we should look at the positives and the chance to live out our dreams by preserving our fertility through egg freezing. Sure our plans for having a family may not happen as we envisioned and the impact it has on our finances may be significant, but from all the examples of other women I know who have done it, not a single one would take back their decision. That has got to say something for the natural biological desire we have as women.
Now I haven’t gotten to the point in my life where I am ready to have a child, but I’m giving myself permission to change my mind at any time. I do know that I would like to have a child by the time I am 40, even if that means giving up my dream to do have a child with a loving partner.
I know I would be a good mom. I know that I would make sure I was a great parent. I know I want to watch my child grow into an adult and share those precious moments in their lives like my parents have been able to do with me. I want that.
I’m sure there is still a lot that life still has yet to teach me, but regardless of what comes my way I am confident that motherhood, whether through IVF, sperm donor, partner, adoption, or fostering, will be a part of my life someday.
How does motherhood look for you?
Over the last decade, Valerie has been working within the medical field specializing in Women’s Health. She has a passion for educating and helping women understand their bodies to fertility options. As the founder of eggsperience.com, she has focused on helping guide women through the complex and challenging paths of fertility decisions. Valerie hopes to provide educational information for women at any reproductive age and start the conversation about protecting our future-self. She offers advice from her personal egg freezing experience along with a collection of first-hand accounts from other women’s journeys. Originally from East Coast Pennsylvania, Valerie moved to Chicago after undergrad where she works and travels to improve health care.
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