Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Oh Lordy, I'm nearly 40!

Eeeek. I'm getting old. I'm nearly 40.

Well, OK, not really. I'm going to be 38 later this year, so I've got 2 more years to go. But today is my brother's 40th birthday (happy birthday, bro'!), and I remember freaking out on his 30th birthday because that meant I was going to be 30 soon. Yes, in my head, his birthday is all about me, not him! Haha, sorry bro'. I'm a bit more mellow this time around, but it still makes me stop and think, because unfortunately wherever he goes with the age thing I eventually have to follow.

40 kind of strikes fear into me because I've always wanted 2 kids, and if it's taking me this long to have #1, how on earth am I going to manage to get #2 if I'm going to be that much closer to 40 by then (assuming I ever manage to have #1, that is). If I don't have twins from the IVF, or several frozen embryos, it's going to be seriously stressing me out. I know, I could adopt #2 (or #1 and #2), and maybe I will, but as I'm not a US citizen, international adoption is out for me, and domestic adoption seems so risky. And it's so freakin' expensive! But it gets so much harder to conceive, and to avoid miscarriage, the older you get. It's at times like this I really wish I'd started trying to conceive at a much younger age, but then again, I kept thinking that my husband would turn up somehow and I didn't want to give up on that thought. I was also naive, and thought I could get pregnant at will so that I could have #1 at 36, and then #2 at 38 and be done well before 40. Now, even if I get pregnant next cycle, I'll be having #1 at 38 and who knows what happens after that? It may even take a couple more years to have #1, you never know. And I know it's possible to have children after 40, but even for previously fertile women it takes a lot longer, and I don't want to have to start trying to conceive when #1 is only 3 months old.

Then there's the worry about genetic birth defects and other problems that come along. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Can I handle a special needs or disabled child? Obviously you do what you have to, and if my child was born disabled or became disabled, I would step up to the plate and deal with it. But I don't know, I dwell on this these days. The incidence of autism spectrum diagnoses is skyrocketing and nobody knows why - is it from pollution, the vaccines (supposedly disproven but you never know), or from something else? Not being able to know what to do to protect our children against some of these illnesses is scary. And the rising incidence of Down's syndrome (or is it Down syndrome?) and other trisomies with age scares me too. I used to think I'd have an amnio and abort if something was wrong, but now I know what a miracle it is to even get pregnant, I don't know if I can do that. Then again I don't know if I can handle looking after a disabled 40 year-old when I'm 80. Sometimes I wonder if I'm brave enough at all to go through with this. But then I think about not trying to have children and that scares me even more, so I just keep plodding on. At least for now. There may well come a time when I give up, and sometimes that day is clearer in my thoughts than at other times, but I'm not there just yet.

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