By Marilyn C. Hilton
We hear the news. It
quickens our pulse, quivers our stomach, and makes us
feel that the world has fallen off its axis. Women who delay
having a child
until midlife (we hear), when their careers are cruising or
are rock-solid, may have already missed their opportunity to
As if we all
live textbook lives in which we marry at 23, have
our first, second, and
third (and maybe fourth or more) babies at peak fertility.
Our husband, if we have one, makes enough money to
support this burgeoning family so that we don¹t need (or
want) to work outside our home. Or we somehow manage
to build a thriving career and raise the children as
we¹d always envisioned. Then we can enjoy grandparenthood
at 50 and a vigorous retirement sometime after that.
It¹s a wonderful life, to be sure.
Like many boomer women
and men, I was a late bloomer. After years of
getting educated, traveling, moving, working, and loving
being single, I
didn¹t meet my dreamboat until I was 35. Because he was
six years younger and wasn¹t in any hurry to get married,
I was nearly 38 before we shared wedding cake. Although we
wanted to have three children, neither of us panicked about
waning fertility. Not until I had my first miscarriage six
When it happened, not
only did I feel the grief of losing a child (who¹d
existed as genuinely as if he or she had been in my arms),
shrouded my heart. The worry and anxiety of conceiving and
carrying a child
consumed me. The beginning of every month brought rising hope
be Baby Month."), but each resulting menstrual period
dragged me into the
abyss. After six months, however, we were mercifully pregnant
time cautiously, gratefully, and humbly pregnant with a daughter.
I was 39.
Our second child was
conceived after a month of taking Clomid (to stimulate
ovulation); although my husband and I had investigated adoption
completed California¹s foster-adoption program before
we discovered we were
pregnant. I was 41 when our second daughter was born.
After another miscarriage
while trying to conceive our third, we saw an
infertility specialist. After three months of injections, ultrasounds,
waiting and weeping -- and on the verge of moving to the next
step (in vitro
fertilization) -- we decided that enough was enough. (How did
do this for months on end, we wondered.) Our two healthy, lovely
would complete our family.
Then, months later,
I discovered in joyful shock that I was pregnant without
even trying. Our third child, a son, was born when I was 43
Contrary to recent news,
getting pregnant and having healthy babies happens
more regularly and naturally than we might hear. (My 41-year-old
just announced the impending arrival of her first, conceived
old-fashioned way after being told years ago by specialists
to stop hoping.)
We hope you find insight
and inspiration in two new articles on this site,"Over
45 and Pregnant -- What Will People Think?" and "Coping
Infertility: An Interview with Expert Ann Douglas",
which address the challenges of midlife pregnancy
and midlife infertility.
Don¹t forget to
write and tell us if these articles were helpful to you.
And remember to let us know what other topics you¹d like
to see on this
Marilyn Hilton, Section Editor