Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thoughts on thoughts about TTC over 40

A while back, a totally well-intentioned soul directed me to a noninteractive blog touting the joys of TTC over 40. (I don't wish to link to it.) Said sweet soul thought perhaps I'd given up TTC too soon.

The blog-in-question's author sells a treatise on how she overcame infertility in her 40s. She maintains that "almost everyone" over 40 can succeed. Humph. A couple of quick clicks around the site reminded me that I'd come across this blog author's stuff YEARS ago (the info used to be inclusive of the 30s AND 40s), at which time I'd deemed it incompatible with my own personal criteria for resources I needed and/or trusted.

As you might infer, I have not read the blog-in-question's author's advertised book (self-published, in case that matters to you). Of course I'd be surprised if it didn't contain solid information about sensible diet, sex, fitness, and mind-body-connection practices. And I see not one thing wrong with individuals (like the blogger) sharing personal success stories in any form, blog/book/whatever.

What bothers me is when a blog's sole purpose is promotional — and when the information it presents just isn't up to snuff. Maybe it's just me, but I am put off by things like a lighthearted (and we're talking downright bubbly here) post in which the author finds herself unexpectedly pregnant at 49 (!), assumes the pregnancy won't make it, holds this up as evidence that you can't go buying into any type of infertility at this age, and wraps up by saying a version of "Nope, it didn't stick, but I'm not that sad. It proves my body works — and you should buy my book!"

For a moment after getting the recommendation to visit that blog, I thought maybe I should immediately explain, at length, why I'm not presently TTC. But cripes, that would take lots of time — no thanks, too lazy! Why, I've not even explicitly detailed the big Why in this, my own blog. I also thought about quickly replying to mention how any credible RE or medical resource will flat-out tell you that "44" really is a different ballgame than "over 40." (A real thing, that.) But again — didn't feel like it then.

Now, before I continue, I want to stress that I appreciated the helpful, hopeful spirit in which that blog link was gifted to me. Seriously. Yet, because the information was presented to me as a "counter" to my opinion on fertility at age 44 (MY fertility, to be precise), I simply felt that I needed to respond to that in post form. At some point down the road. And now seems like an okay point in time to do so.

Also: As my regular blog readers know, TTC is off the table for me. Did, dad, dud. That phase of my life is over, and the decision to end it wasn't blithely made. So receiving advice to check out other resources before I make a decision I've actually already made with great care could have felt . . . a bit . . . slappy. But what I knew then and now is that the person reaching out to me needed hope for herself.

Let me clearly state that I do not knock — or mock — the presence of hope for anyone TTC at or around (and preferably younger than) my age. I don't. I held on to hope the whole damn time I was trying, as should anyone. And I of course know a STUNNING collection of wonderful women who've conceived and birthed at 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, and maybe even at 44+. Success can/does happen, and I do not presume to know which plan of attack suits anyone else. But if I'm going to speak to "over 40" in the general fertility realm or just right here on my blog, I feel a responsibility to start by urging AMA women to pursue a credible and definitive medical diagnosis as EARLY as possible. My urging is to do this before you try, for example, a 6-month course of herbs that you've prescribed for yourself . . . or a 3-year wait-and-see-what sex-gets-you plan . . . or an approach that includes floating on the promise, by some blogger-for-profit, that you will succeed because "almost everyone" can.

To make safe, realistic choices, I believe you need to know what the medical experts think about your individual situation (remember: your partner's fertility profile is equally important). Only then can you make decisions about whether to go with medical assistance (if you can get/afford it; I know about the very real obstacles to this), your own self-directed plan, or a combination of both.

And if you're serious about this, you do need a plan that you will EXECUTE. What I'm saying is that you've got to murder that sucker. If you drive a stake through the vampire's heart — say, by following the SMEP or using C.lomid with timed intercourse to name 2 options — and that vampire gets back up again (translation: AF arrives), you need to drive that stake again, and again, until she ain't gettin' up no more.

I know it's tough to hear, but time is a-wastin' over 40. Hope is only enough for you if it turns out to be enough for you. And you will never get back ANY of the time you might spend coasting on hope alone.


Anonymous said...


I am one of your old FF buddies...and I can't tell you how much your opinion is TRUE...and real. I happened to be very lucky, with a LOT of intervention.

But wishing and waiting will NEVER MAKE something happen. Being proactive can absolutely MAKE something happen, when it might NOT have happened, otherwise.


Lisa said...

Hi Face:)!!! So glad you dropped by. I would LOVE to hear about your LOs if you want to drop me an email sometime. (I put an address in the blog's sidebar.) Hope you all are well!

Lisa said...

Oh, and to comment on your comment: I can't tell you how hard it used to be for me to watch some of the dear hearts in the 40s community suffer devastation month after month — hard to see everyone go through it, but particularly difficult to see those who just knew it would happen if it was "right," or who prayed for it but rarely did even the minimum of DTD close to a fertile window, or thought taking wheatgrass/royal jelly/B6/flax/fill-in-the-blank alone was an answer to a problem they really hadn't identified.

As I hope I said, I do know that not everyone has access to medical intervention or even a medical opinion. But whatever anyone's circumstances, I just want women to educate themselves, to the best of their abilities, on where they stand, on how age can/does affect TTC.

Information is power to help you make it happen. Information is power to help you deal with the struggle. Information is power to help you put your success (knock wood) in perspective. Information is power to help you if you don't find success.

loribeth said...

Very well said.

I recently wrote in a similiar vein as I approached my (gulp) 49th birthday.

I can't believe that blogger/author: "Nope, it didn't stick, but I'm not that sad. It proves my body works — and you should buy my book!" Getting pregnant is not the point -- bringing home a living & preferabl healthy baby is. Duh.

Tara said...

AMEN. Over, under anywhere in between..."alomst" anyone can get pregnant.

Lost in Space said...

Wow, it really goes to show how much we should not trust "crap" on the Internet.

I'm sorry someone knowing the difficult decision you made thought it was important to send you the link. It's hard enough making this one the way it is.

Thanks for putting out all the good information...

Bionic Baby Mama said...

"— and you should buy my book!" ????

i think i just threw up in my mouth a little.

Lorraine said...

Even in my late thirties I needed this advice more than what I usually got - the "hang in there, your "turn" is coming" - kind of baby-dust encouragement that the message boards specialize in.

Looks like my vampire is finally actually out of my life, but it took a lot of specialized protocol to make it happen. The idea of herbs doing anything to help me just makes me laugh...

Dani said...

Wow, thanks for the discouragement! Even though I agree there are a lot of fakes on the internet, your negativity is just as bad! Thanks a Lot! I am sorry you have decided to stop but please keep your cynicism to your self! Are you a doctor posing as a mom?

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