So I have a birthday coming up. I normally LOVE birthdays. It's as a chance to celebrate that we are alive and be grateful for that! I actually like getting older. I like that each year that passes I feel more comfortable with myself. I have less fear of going after how I want to live my life. I care less what others think of that.
But this year, for the first time I'm feeling some anxiety. See, I'm turning 35.
My 'normal self' doesn't think 35 is that old...but much is touted about 35+ in fertility. My 'fertility-challenged-self' admits to letting that hype make me feel a teeny bit old for the first time.
Why is 35 + fertility worrying me??
After you cross that age line in the sand you are officially in "Advanced Maternal Age" territory. Doctors graphs show sudden, major dips in ovarian reserve and quality, increases in birth defects, miscarriages and so on.
For someone who's ovarian reserve is already 'low for my age' with a history of pregnancy loss those statistics are not welcome news. Suddenly I feel that clock ticking a little faster...
I think it's also hitting me that this birthday marks another year past. Another 12 months of trying with no baby in my arms. I guess I'm still letting go of the fact I wanted to be a much younger mum than I'm going to be.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would reach this age and not be a mother yet. I thought it would be done and dusted. Perhaps a little 5 year old running around me while I go about my celebrations. Lovely!
So what will my approach to TTC as an over 35-ver be?
- I'm taking inspiration from all the amazing women who are out there achieving their pregnancy dreams in their late 30s and 40s- some of them I'm proud to call my dear friends :-)
- I'm choosing to believe in quality over quantity. I can't change the number of eggs I have left, but I can make them damn good quality. I'm focusing on diet, exercise, rest, giving my body all the support it needs to do its thing. After all you only need one!!!
- I'm reminding myself I am not a number. Everyone is different. I need to trust in myself and my body, rather than put doubts over my instinctual feelings about my age, health and fertility based on statistics. I am a big believer in the mind-body connection. I'm continuing to visualise my dreams, the way I want them to unfold.
- I'm changing my terminology! I hate words like "infertility" and "advanced maternal age". They are so negative. They prompt you to own a perception about yourself that is not constructive to what you want to achieve/even believe about yourself deep down inside. I'm refusing to take on those labels.
Yes I can't totally ignore the statistics, and a few years down the path of trying with some challenges to overcome I'd be foolish to think getting older is something I can be totally blasé about...
At the same time, I strongly feel that if I don't believe I can get there, or fixate on the issues/statistics/future-possible-worries, rather than being positive and balanced its only going to make it harder!
How do you feel about fertility in your later 30s?? I'd love to hear your perspectives and stories - and successes!