Thursday, March 18, 2010

“…it is the woman’s part.”—Cymbaline

Today is both “Goddess of Fertility” and “Supreme Sacrifice” Day.

Strange pairing, I know, but it got me thinking—always scary… I made the supreme sacrifice of losing my fertility about 4 years ago [i.e. menopause]. I know that probably sounds odd. I mean it’s not like I wanted any more children—at 52 especially—it was just nice to know I still could. It’s just bittersweet to come to terms with the loss of that most womanly capability. The desire had popped up off and on when my 2 were in grade school—you know: “I know what I’m doing now God—give me another shot at this…..” I even used to have the occasional dream about having another child…. Is that common?

We were 27 and 21 when our daughter was born—and 13 months later our son joined the clan. Fertility was not a problem. In fact, my doctor threatened to send my husband to a monastery for the spring if I got pregnant so soon again. By our 10th anniversary, we’d decided that two healthy kids were enough—and my husband got a vasectomy. So another child was not an option.

Not long after I separated from my husband and moved into my own apartment, I had my then-9 year old grandson over for a visit. Out of the blue, he asked me if I was going to have any more babies:
“Oh, I don’t think so buddy.”
“But, I want you to.”
“Why? So you can burp your aunt or uncle?”

Well, THAT cracked him up—and diverted him onto another subject. I relayed this conversation to my daughter the next day. She told me he desperately wanted to be a big brother.
“He’s not having any luck with me, so I guess he thought he’d go to the next known breeder in the family.”
“Oh good God, he’ll be onto Nanny next.”

Well, he never has gotten to be a big brother and now my daughter has had an ovary removed due to a malignant cyst, as well as cancer cells on her cervix. She has bravely accepted the fact that her son may well be her one and only. But I feel bad for her—she never got to experience the fun of being a pregnant couple. She was only 16 and Mr. Sperm Donor was clueless. He’s been pretty much out of my grandson’s life since he was one. So she never got to plan a nursery, have a baby shower, have the daddy fuss over her and listen to the baby’s heartbeat.

Now she’s like many women in her age range—reproductively challenged. I wonder why that is? Why so many 30-something women—and men—are facing a myriad of issues with fertility. Is it the additives that have been in our food supply over the past 3 decades? Is it the birth control pills that my generation took before having them—and that they started taking at young ages?

I ache for all of these couples who would make amazing parents yet cannot conceive. I wish I knew the answer…..

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
A footnote:
As devote Catholics, my parents followed Church approved birth control methods—my mother used to point to the four of us and say “This is my rhythm section.” When she was pregnant with number 4 in 7 years, she looked at my father and said “You know, the pope isn’t paying to raise these kids….” My dad got a vasectomy right after my younger brother was born.


  1. I just turned 60 and can't imagine having the energy for more kids.....but it's probably a mixed feeling many women have during and after menopause.

  2. When my second (and youngest) reached middle school, I was possessed by the desire for another baby. fortunately, my neighbor across the street had a baby and I could go over there and hold the wee one. Get my baby fix as it were. Just as well because I could not have conceived another because my husband also had a vasectomy after our second was born. we had decided early on that all we wanted was two and were lucky enough to get one of each. I went through an early menopause too...mid-40s. My sister, mother and both my maternal aunts all had hysterectomies so I had no idea what to expect or when. I didn't mind not being at the mercy of estrogen but I did miss that loin lust. Sex didn't end but it changed tone.

    I think the rising infertility problems are due to several causes..the pollution of our food supply (all those hormones, chemicals and additives are not food!), the delaying of pregnancy til later in life (all the really good viable eggs are already gone) and perhaps birth control pills. I only took them for a few years as I did not tolerate them well. got an IUD instead which caused severe cramps that I had never suffered from before. We used condoms in between our two kids. took me three months to get pregnant the first time (at 26) and the very first chance the second time (at 28).