My mother regularly told myself and my sisters that we should wait until we were 30 to get married. (Ignoring the fact that she married our father in her mid-20s and remains married to him to this day.) But marital bliss contradictions aside: Her thought process made sense. If we delayed having families until our 30s we’d be done with college, well into our careers and “ideally” more financially stable than we were directly after college.
And for a lot of upwardly mobile men and women, this also makes sense. Last year for the first time in America the number of unmarried was almost equal to the number of people married, according the U.S. Census. While the news caused histrionics in some traditionalists, it’s a mark of our modern lives that most men and women don’t feel ready for marriage or families in their 20s. Most people, growing up in the age of divorce, out-of-wedlock births, financial insecurity and other issues delay marriage.
Not “never marry.” But delay marriage. Even the much obsessed over unmarried black woman eventually gets married. Adjusted for age, among black women 35 and older, the number of never-married drops to 25 percent, meaning 75 percent of black women (and in turn, typically a bunch of unmarried black men) eventually get hitched.
But this does mean some of us will spend our prime “baby making” years single.
And while waiting for your family makes sense as women who start their families in their late 30s/early 40s tend to be more educated, more financially stable, happier with themselves and in healthier relationships, there’s on little hitch. A woman’s fertility rate still drops dramatically during your mid-30s.
While you’re a modern woman, your uterus may as well still be fitted in a loin cloth, living in the Stone Age.
If you’re serious about being a first-time mother you need to learn the truth about fertility. While science has improved and our world is striving towards equality, your womb is still on the same biological schedule as it was back when people got married as teenagers. Don’t let the female celebrities over 40 baby boom fool you. Complications, fertility drugs, debates over surrogacy are all the reality for many who delay having children – including the uteri of the rich and famous. But it’s not just your womb you have to worry about. The man of your dreams might be shooting blanks thanks to stress, the modern Western diet, radiation from his cell phone, radiation from his laptop, not getting regular check-ups with a doctor and his lack of exercise.
Many women who find trouble getting pregnant are often encouraged to get their husbands tested for infertility first, as a low or non-existent sperm count is a lot easier and quicker to diagnose than the myriad of problems that could make it hard for a woman to get pregnant.
The result is that for every Fertile Myrtle there, pushing out kids in defiance of a looming menopause, there are a lot of folks weighing fertility treatments versus surrogacy versus adoption.
And if you can afford those options, the more power to you. But none of them are typically covered by your insurance.