The ignorance of — Don’t rush, you have time.
Janet Jackson is pregnant at 50.
A woman gave birth to twins at 59.
These posts are being shared on social media as benchmarks for women in their 30’s and applauded by the ‘aunties’ with the message: Don’t rush you have time!
Hearing people say ‘don’t rush you have time’ makes me cringe…
This is something I’ve heard for years whether talking about marriage or having children. I’ve noticed ‘don’t rush you have time’ is often said by women that are married with children (I call them the aunties) or older siblings/cousins who don’t want you to have pre-marital sex. Shucks, I believed them and probably told some innocent 20-something the same thing.
I think this advice gives you insight into the state of their relationships vs. their ability to predict the future.
I am not advocating rushing into motherhood (or marriage), but I am telling you sexual health is not the same as reproductive health and in both instances you should know your status.
In 2008 I was heading to b-school and single so I went to a reproductive specialist to see about having my eggs frozen.
He told me that the technology for thawing eggs was not reliable and only a small percentage of eggs would survive the thaw.
[Fortuneatly, the freezing and thawing technology has improved and the thawing rate is about 75% by some studies, but everything varies by egg quality and quantity and your age.]
This f^#r also said, ‘don’t worry you’re still young, you might meet someone’. (Ugh, my skin is crawling right now like fingernails on a blackboard).
Reproductive health is not the same as sexual health.
Oh and let me state this up front…this doesn’t all fall on a woman’s shoulders. Men, if you think you want your own biological kids someday, your swimmers need to be tested for mobility and quantity as well! Don’t get it twisted your stuff ages as well!
But this is for the ladies and the people that love them.
Your GYN is good for sexual health. But I highly recommend going to see a Reproductive Endocrine Speciality (RE). These people specialize in reproduction.
Since 1999 I have practiced yoga nearly every day, I do a dietary cleanse quarterly, and live a pretty healthy, drug-free lifestyle. I get STD and STI tests annually so I know my sexual health status.
But when I started trying to get preggers at 38 I found out my fallopian tubes didn’t work!
Yup, you read that right!
My fallopian tubes, which I have had all my life at some point became clogged with a fluid that is not supposed to be there. It’s called a hydrosalpinx.
So, aunty & em. ‘Exactly when did my time run out to get pregnant the traditional way?’ Since you are giving this sage advice to unsuspecting youngins.
I mourned. Seriously, I cried a lot.
I felt like my body had betrayed me. Like life had betrayed me. The media, my advisors, had betrayed me.
You see I was a good girl. I had done everything ‘right’.
‘They’ said don’t be a teenage mother. So I didn’t.
‘They’ said it was just puppy love, so I let it go.
‘They’ said go to school and get a good education. So I did. Even when it got tough, even when depression and loneliness made me leave school and retreat to the home I knew, I pulled myself out of bed and tried and tried again.
‘They’ said get a good job and have fun! So I did. I’ve worked at some of the biggest name companies and traveled to places I didn’t know existed.
‘They’ said I had time, at 35. So I believed. But just 3 years later I learned something different.
No GYN appointment ever told me that I had issues with my tubes.
So this meant I couldn’t just go bet pregnant like my GYN suggested. Oh, and the fact that I wasn’t married, didn’t have a steady partner, and had no access sperm (at least none that I wanted).
Here’s what I have learned through my journey.
There are two noninvasive blood tests which you can take to know the status of you egg health (quantity and quality).
Ironically there was one friend that told me in 2004 to go and get the FSH blood test as she was struggling to get pregnant but I didn’t listen… will you hear me?
If the AMH is too high it could be an indication of PCOS or polyps on your ovaries.
Your first round of test can give you a baseline and an indication of how much ‘time’ you have. Then you can test every year to see how the stats are changing over time to determine you how much time you have.
There are internal test to check the quality of your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
The test for the fallopian tubes Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)/(the dye test) is slightly uncomfortable. Like a really, really bad period cramping day. But take about 1600mg of ibuprofen 1 hour before the test and it might help depending on your pain threshold.
The dye test is an outpatient procedure where the doctor injects a blue dye into your vagina, uterus.and fallopian tubes while they watch/record the flow of the dye via x-ray. The dye should flow out of the fallopian tubes into your body cavity. The dye also shows the shape, path, and size of your fallopian tubes. If the dye doesn’t flow out of the fallopian tubes… then Houston We Have A Problem, a blockage perhaps. This is what happen to me.
So if your tubes are blocked all is not lost. There are some holistic remedies like reproductive massage and restorative yoga which some women that I personally have stated helped them clear up blocks in one or both tubes. There is also a surgery to resolve the issue.
So all of this is just to diagnose your reproductive health.
From here you and your doctor can determine if you need to utilize an assisted reproductive technology (ART):
ICI – Intracervical Insemination – place sperm near the entrance of the cervix
IUI – Intrauterine Insemination – place sperm into the uterus
IVF – Invitro Fertilization – retrieve eggs and sperm, and combine the two outside of the body, then insert fertilized embryos into the uterus
ICI and IUI require the fallopian tubes to be working to allow the egg to travel from the ovaries to the uterus.
So if you’ve read to this point and can put two + two together, you realize that I had to do IVF.
I thought I was healthy. I thought I had time. Learning that I wouldn’t be able to simply purchase some sperm and have it inserted required more mourning.
Lot’s of tears!
Lots of regretting Plan A (finding a nice guy, getting married, traveling, and having kids) not coming to pass.
Lot’s of tears!
So my dear, my advice to you is, know your status.
Is it life or death type know your status situation? That’s up to you… what brings you life?
I say know your stats if you think you might want to be pregnant some day. If you just want a kid yes, adoption is an option, but if you want to experience pregnancy… knowing your reproductive status is key!!!
More about my journey coming soon.