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What it feels like to be over 40 and trying to get pregnant

What it feels like to be over 40 and trying to get pregnant

It's no secret that trying to conceive (TTC) after 40 isn't easy. The odds aren't great to begin with, and your chances decrease each year. Of course it's possible – I’m proof of that. I gave birth to my first child at 41. Now I find myself six months shy of my 44th birthday and ready to try again; but it feels very different this time around.

For starters, I don't feel as supported. When I was trying for my first, my community of friends and family were incredibly encouraging. I needed that support, and it buoyed me when I felt like going under and giving up.

This time I'm hearing more reminders about my age and the potential dangers of a pregnancy. I’ve been asked if I’m "sure" I want to try for a second. It’s even been suggested outright that we should be happy with our family of three and call it a day.

I'd be lying if I said these aren’t the same concerns I've had racing through my mind. What I didn't expect was that the people closest to me would echo these thoughts. Without their encouragement and unwavering support, it's been challenging to stay positive.

This atmosphere of doubt has also made me seriously question if trying to get pregnant is the right thing to do. There are moments I wonder if we should give up. Not because I'm distraught or tired of trying (although that can and does happen when TTC), but rather because I worry about how those around me think we're making a big mistake.

In some ways, I feel desperate. Because I am. This is my last chance. I'm in my final season of reproductive health. After years of trying not to get pregnant, now I'm consumed by the opposite problem. I have and will try almost anything: acupuncture, vitamins, hypnosis, and a psychic, just for starters. My husband and I are constantly searching for ways to help boost our fertility and chances of conception.

Yes, I regret that I didn't start sooner. If I were in my 20s or even my 30s, I'd have a decade or two to work on it. Now I have, what, a year? Two, if I'm being optimistic?

"This is my fault," I tell myself. Friends from high school have children in high school. Some of their kids have even started college. Meanwhile, I’m still diapering my first and pleading with the universe for another chance.

I didn't meet my husband until I was close to 40 years old. I know it's pointless to wish I'd had children earlier in life, because that's not how my story unfolded. Some days, however, I can't let go of that regret, or stop wondering what if.

It feels selfish. There are many risks – for me and for my child. We already have one amazing son. Are we pushing our luck? If I want to grow our family and give my child a sibling, does that mean I'm not satisfied with the life I have?

It's hard to know whether to ignore these feelings and the fears and doubts swirling around in my mind, convincing myself they are without merit, or to truly reconsider the quest to conceive at my age. I know we have other avenues we can pursue: donor eggs, gestational surrogates, and adoption are all in the back of my mind.

But for now, I’m focusing on our plan A: trying to conceive.

We know this journey can’t be infinite, so we’ve had to set deadlines. If we don’t conceive by xx date we’ll have to try this. By xx date it will be that. If nothing bears fruit, we get to the end of the road: moving on and away from our hopes of conceiving at all.

For now, we're as optimistic as we can be. Some days that’s easier than others.

We’re not at the end of our timeline yet, so we’re doing our best to stay positive and keep trying.

I don’t know if being older makes my story different from anyone else who struggles to conceive. Whether you're 24 or 44 years old we all want the same thing: to successfully get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term. My alarm is just set to go off a little sooner.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.


Watch the video: 3 Reasons why you can be super fertile in your 40s Marc Sklar The Fertility Expert (January 2022).

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