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Ah Yes! The New York Times Evens The Playing Field (A Little)

I’ve never really paid attention to age. My family is eternally young. At 82, my Dad still runs 3 to 4 miles a day and makes it to the gym three days a week.  So when it came to my biological clock, I was never one to think I needed to have kids by a certain age. I knew I’d like to have kids someday and it would happen when it happened. So, when I was 38-years-old and became pregnant with my first child, I didn’t think anything of it. I just figured, I’m pregnant and we are having a baby. I didn’t question anything and didn’t really have any concerns.  That was until I got to my doctor’s office.

It is a doctor’s job to let the patient know any concerns and all options the patient has.  Don’t eat this, don’t drink that, don’t clean with certain products, stay away from cats, chemicals, strenuous exercise, etc.  Those are some of the normal things pregnancy brings to the mother.  Add age into the mix and the list gets longer.

Over 35? Well, here’s a few more things to add to your plate:  At 11 to 13 weeks into pregnancy you can have Chronic Villus Sampling (CVS). At 15 to 20 weeks into pregnancy you can have Alpha-feto-protein (AFP) test. Weeks 16 to 19 you can have Amniocentesis done. 18 weeks on you can have Cordocentesis done as well as ultrasound testing.  All of this to determine if the age of the mother’s egg has caused there to be something “abnormal” with the baby.

Deciding to have the tests was confusing. Does it really matter?  It wouldn’t really change anything. Going through the tests was recommended. OK, so if there was some “abnormality” at least we would be prepared to deal with whatever it was by the time the baby arrived. So, I went through amniocentesis. Let me tell ya, that was NOT fun. In case you don’t know how this procedure is performed I’ll tell you: They collect fluid from the placenta by way of putting a needle through your stomach, SLOWLY. With Jonah, they tried to get the fluid either times and then asked me to come back in two weeks because the first attempts were unsuccessful. It was insanely painful and I almost didn’t return for the second attempt. Once the test was done, the waiting began. My test was done on a Thursday so I had to get through the weekend. Waiting for the results seemed like an eternity. The concerns I never thought I’d have became part of my daily thoughts:  What if something was wrong? Will my husband still love me if everything’s not perfect? Will he regret marrying me? (I’m older than he is.) Why did I wait so long to have kids? Ugh! All I wanted to be “concerned” about was, boy or girl?  What color walls should the nursery have?  What kind of cribs are best? Ya know, the under-35 pregnancy concerns.

Every stage of my pregnancy brought on new things to be concerned about, due to my age.  It was a bit stressful that so much was riding on my age.  Have you ever seen a man concerned about fathering a child because he is past a certain age? Heck! John Travolta just had a baby, and he is 58 (and beautiful). Could you image the grief a 58-year-old woman would get if she wanted to get pregnant?

I thought it seemed a bit unfair. The speculations and finger pointing at the “over 35 pregnancy.” Then I saw this: The New York Times printed an article, “Father’s Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia.”  YES!!! It’s about time the Dad was responsible for something besides determining the sex of the child. ;-)

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