You dating anyone?
Is it serious?
Maybe you’ve just broken up with someone. And you were together for a long time.
Maybe you and your partner have been “trying” for ages. Maybe things aren’t working out for you.
Perhaps you’re 31 and straight and single and you haven’t met anyone you like lately but every time you do, you find yourself doing maths in your head: How many dates until I decide if this is serious? Two? Five? Ten? How many dates until I decide HE thinks it’s serious? Five? Ten? And then, how long should we be dating until it’s socially acceptable for us to move in together? Six months? A year? Two? Then, how long until maybe we get married? Another year? Then, it might not be smart to start trying straight away? So… another year? That would make me… 34?
And then, what if we break up and I’m 35 and I have to start all this again?
Men don’t do these kind of maths. They don’t have to.
Women are hyper-aware of their age when it comes to fertility. Or rather, the age of their eggs. The internal image we all have of those pesky eggs, just sitting inside us, quietly rotting.
That women have a “biological clock” is not news. It’s been part of the culture’s mainstream dialogue for at least 20 years. Remember Ally McBeal and her dancing baby?
Which is why it was remarkable that, this week, a high-profile woman saying that she was pregnant at 41 caused such an instant and incensed reaction.
Camilla Franks is a fashion designer who makes beautiful kaftans, beloved by Oprah. Last weekend, she told the world that she and her fiancé had been trying to have a baby for some time, had been exploring medical options, and had finally fallen pregnant naturally.
“I went to all these meetings and appointments all driven from complete fear that I couldn’t have a child.
“It was the wrong advice and it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t true and I was told I had to potentially go down the path of IVF and it was absolute BS,” she said. “So I think, take a lot of it with a grain of salt.”
Listen to the Mamamia Out Loud team disagreeing about fertility fear, below. Post continues after audio.
Franks’ “advice” was irresponsible, misleading and anti-science, said The People. The eminently sensible Lisa Wilkinson wrote and spoke beautifully about her own struggle to conceive a child after 40, and the series of miscarriages she suffered as a result.
People nodded, and wagged fingers.
Don’t tell women they can control their fertility, the message went out. It’s fake news. Over 40, only 5 per cent will be successful in falling pregnant naturally.