Friday, April 29, 2005

Are you too old to have a baby?

So you think you have it all. You have a fulfilling career, a nice house, a great man in your life. But then you wake up one day, somewhere in your mid to late 30's, and you realize that-- whoops-- somewhere along the line you forgot to have a baby.

These days, many women are choosing to postpone motherhood until later in life. While previous generations of women often had several children well before they turned 30, the career-oriented women of today are opting to wait. If you are approaching 35--or maybe even 40--do you feel that you are getting too old to have a baby?

It's a fact that as you get older, it's harder to conceive. Your menstrual cycle may not be as regular as it once was and, because your eggs aren't as young as they used to be, you also have an increased chance of miscarriage once you do conceive. This is not meant to discourage you-- I have three children, two of them born when I was in my late thirties. I am a firm believer that a woman's biological clock does indeed tick-- I heard mine ticking loud and clear.

If you truly want to have a baby, you shouldn't let your age stop you from trying. Try to prepare yourself for a setback in case it happens, but don't obsess over it. Plan ahead by taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid for several months before you start trying to conceive.

Once you do get pregnant (and don't worry, most women do) you may face a bigger problem: are you too old to handle a baby? That is, you're older, maybe a bit more set in your ways, and you probably have a scheduled routine, a way of doing things. Well, a baby will certainly change that! As we get older, we get a little more (dare I say it?) selfish. Suddenly, your time isn't just yours anymore. A little person needs you, relies on you. For everything. It's quite a change.

You need to look at your life and ask yourself why you want a baby. Is it something you've always wanted? Are you still waiting for the right man to come along? Would you be comfortable doing it on your own if things with the father didn't work out? Or, are you doing it just because you think it's what you're supposed to do? Every woman has a different answer. You need to search your soul to figure out what the best answer for you is.

Having a baby is a wonderful experience, an experience that I wish upon anyone who wants it to happen. If you find that it is something you are longing to do, go for it! You may just find that having it all has a whole new meaning.

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