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Too Young, Too Old, or Just Right?

a blog by Madison Rae, October 10, 2013

More and more lately, this is a topic I am seeing broached in a lot of different forums and everyone seems to have varying opinions as to when is the “appropriate age” to bear children. And more often than not, I have found myself finishing articles or reading comments and shaking my head in disgust.

If you are capable of taking care of a child, loving the child and placing it in a loving and responsible home…what exactly is the difference between 22 and 45? Obviously, yes, there are a multitude of differentials, but none that I really see mattering based solely on the year you were born.

Growing up I had always assumed I would get married and have babies relatively young, perhaps around 24-25. Then I married myself a Yankee boy (haha) and my plans somehow changed. I think that perhaps I was somewhat naïve to the culture differences between our areas, but not really paying much attention to them affecting me…until they did.

I was ready to start trying about a year after we were married, I was 24 and he was 25. He was one of the first of his friends and I was one of the last. He wanted to purchase a house, he chose to attend graduate school at Duke and I was ready long before he was. But I have taken the time to enjoy simply being a wife, traveling and living and ready for the time when parenthood is finally the card we pull from the stack.

When my first surgery for endometriosis happened, my doctor warned to start trying or we may face problems. Nine years later, those words still echo in my mind. And as I was watching a CBS special this past Mother’s Day, they were discussing something referenced as “geriatric pregnancies” I assumed they would be referring to women past the age of 40, but nope, 35 it was. I was 34 and flabbergasted.

I had always wanted to be a ‘young mother’ but that was never believing that 35 was necessarily ‘old’. I wanted to pout and cry hearing this. I felt the urge to shout “not me, I don’t count. I wanted kids 10 years ago. I still look 25” (cough, cough) but the perception is there nonetheless about my personal circumstance or feelings.

Then I came across a story that I found to be thought provoking, it was written by a 26 year old single girl who felt the push from others to get married and have babies. I felt tinges of sympathy towards her because that is not an enviable position to be placed in. She was enjoying her life in the moment and was undeserving of the pressure. And then I made the mistake of reading the comments. I still wish I hadn’t.

People were blaming the fact that she is from the South, claiming that people who get married at 25 and have children are “too young” and missing out on life. That then annoyed me because they failed to ascertain the irony of their own position: they were chastising people for pressuring her for not being married, yet jumping on others who chose to wed when they were happy with it.

Suffering from infertility has brought these feelings to the surface somewhat frequently for me recently. Why can’t we just accept the fact that people deserve the right to get married and have babies when it is best suited for them, not based on anyone else’s perception as to when they should be ready?

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