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Completely unscientific poll for over 30s TTC

(69 Posts)
longwee Tue 11-Aug-09 10:04:16

Over on the mid 30s TTC thread we have been gnashing our collective teeth at the swathe of recent reports saying how couples have delayed trying for a baby till their 30s and then come up against problems due to age. A lot of such reports identify 'career women' as the reason for delaying TTC. While this is no doubt true in a lot of cases, we have noticed that none of us have ever seen an article that says men might want to stop acting like overgrown teenagers, man up, and darn well make sure they commit to a woman before the age of 30 - but our collective experience indicates that it is sometimes our menfolk who are less keen to get down to business of committing to a woman or to starting a family.

Now I’m not starting a man-bashing thread, but I am interested in people’s reasons for delaying TTC past 30. Was it wanting to see the world, focusing on your career, finding the right man, getting him to commit, or not being sure yourselves?

I’ll start... in my case I have never been in a rush to have babies as I’ve taken a long time to be convinced about the idea, so it was pretty much my own choice. Plus there was the issue of finding the right fella, who didn’t turn up till I was 32 (although admittedly I wasn’t looking very hard...)

Anyone else?

Joolsiam Tue 11-Aug-09 10:18:51

The right guy turned up when I was 30 - he didn't want children at the time but knew I did at some point in the future. I wasn't aware of the fertility clock ticking.

A year later, he was made redundant, ended up with chronic depression and out of work for a long time, so I didn't push the issue because we had a crippling mortgage and no spare money at all.

I then got made redundant and the new job I found was less well paid - we were close to losing the house, so couldn't contemplate parenthood - life was just too hard and depressing and we came close to splitting up a couple of times

Fast forward to me at age 38 - relationship is rock solid, I've got a better, local job, he is working and things are looking up. Broodiness reaches heights I just can't ignore. We start not being careful. Conceived just over a year ago - early MC, conceived 2 months later, MC at 12 weeks. Conceived 4 months later - MC at 6 weeks. Still trying, but staring 40 in the face. Worried it will never happen and wishing I'd ignored the money worries and started earlier.

skihorse Tue 11-Aug-09 10:24:41

I didn't meet anyone prepared to commit to me and children until I was 34.

I disagree with the careers myth. I'd like to know exactly how many posters on MN are CEOs or do something so exceptional that we all swoon. I think most of us are just doing "jobs" to pay the bills.

Bettymum Tue 11-Aug-09 10:29:09

Didn't have a boyfriend at 30 grin.
Met the right man when I was almost 31, got married at nearly 35, had DD at 36. Have had one MC at age 37 and now pregnant again.
I don't think you can plan your life around the right biological age to have babies. In my 20's I was getting my degree, studying for professional exams and working abroad. If I'd met the right man then, maybe I'd have got married and had babies sooner. But I didn't. Having said that, if I'd discovered that I had left it too late when I did start TTC, I'd have been devastated.

shesadiamond Tue 11-Aug-09 11:31:01

I wasted my best child bearing years with not one but two wasters who either strung me along with the pretense of wanting kids then when it came down to it, ran for the hills like a big cry baby because he just wasn't ready, and one who just kept saying "maybe next year, lets have a holiday, lets get a new car, lets move house, lets have a dog"... however, I have now met my soul mate at the grand old age of 36 and we are both seriously TTC and committed. I'm at a time in my life now, when I wonder "have i left it too late?". I have two friends who had babies at 40, 44 and 45 (one with IVF) and thought I had years left ... its only when you become obsessed and google everything and the Daily Mail push it down your throat that you realise you're old and shrivelled... sad However, I WILL prove them wrong!!!

spongebrainmaternitypants Tue 11-Aug-09 11:58:08

I was 20, dh 21 when we met. Graduated and then pursued careers, got married at 27. I was ready to start then, dh wasn't. Eventually started when I was 30. Found out I had blocked tubes, so needed IVF. Had three cycles, first two ended in m/c, eventually had our 1st child at 36. Conceived our second naturally and am due October at the age of 37.

Would like four but probably not enough time now.

Caitni Tue 11-Aug-09 12:13:22

I totally agree that men as a factor aren't discussed in the trend towards later motherhood. Although I did notice that the Observer tried to bring it into its article on Sunday (I was shock at the statistic that about a quarter of men 18-30 still live at home!).

I would never have bred with any man I slept with in my 20s (I had atrocious taste blush - if he was a prick then I was into him grin), bar the man I married who I got together with at 26. We married at 29 and he wanted kids straight away and will be a great dad. Unfortunately we had to resort to IVF because of male factor issues but, very fortunately, got pregnant on our first round (I'll be 32 when the baby is born and he'll be 33). My husband gets very annoyed with male friends (usually the male half of a hetero couple) who are (in his opinion) dicking their girlfriends around with regards to "settling down" and having kids. He thinks it's totally unfair that the media generally castigate women for being "selfish" and not having kids until their 30s when, at least in our peer group of 30-36 year olds, pretty much all the women are broody and none of the men are (bar my husband thank god!).

To answer why we waited until our 30s to start really trying then I'd say a combination of getting financially sorted (mostly getting out of debts we'd run up before we got together), making sure our relationship was strong enough, and just wanting to spend time living as just a couple. Once we're parents we're parents forever, which is what we want, but I also think we'll be better parents for having had a good life as a couple first...

lizziemun Tue 11-Aug-09 12:35:18

Like a lot of us, didn't meet dh until i was 29, got married at 30 but did start ttc until 32.

Unfortunly it took us until i was 34 before i had dd1, then another 3yrs for dd2 but only once blush when dd2 was 6mths to fall for ds at 39.

I have an erratic cycle so i always new it would take a while but we weren't in a position before.

Scorpette Tue 11-Aug-09 13:10:06

Sorry, have composed an epic blush:

I'm a creative sort so have always actively dreaded the whole 'career' and 'proper job' thing. I've wanted kids my whole life - used to imagine being a mummy and what I'd do with my kids when I was a little kid myself! I think I would have a mental breakdown if I couldn't ever have kids - I don't really want to live without being a Mum. Not being melodramatic, it's just how strongly I feel about it.

However, developed health probs aged 21 and although advanced far in academia (Masters, etc.), the health issues have meant I've never had a proper job. Was with a total git from ages 26-33 who kept telling me how much he wanted kids but 'not yet'. During a massive row the day before my 33rd b-day he admitted he hated children and would 'never' become a father - when asked why he'd lied, he said it was cos he he knew no woman would stay with him if he told the truth and that discussing our future kids made me happy, so what was the harm? GRRRRR (Apologies to fellow BESHes at Gin Palace who've heard all this grin). angry Of course, I was outta there.

Am now 36, with gorgeous 27 yr old DP. We'd just turned 34 and 25 (same star sign) when we got together and he said that although he wanted kids before 30, he would like to wait until he turned 27 to try. I was okay with that - although he pushed the date back for TTC from Xmas last yr to this summer due to worries over potential redundancies at his work (recession fears). Luckily, there were none and this is our 2nd m of TTC. We are both fit and healthy and I hope that plus his youth help us get pg.

Every single one of my friends over 30 is desperate for a child and hasn't had them because of men lying to them, putting them off and stringing them along (I only have 2 friends with DC and both of them are married to men they met at uni and they made them wait for 10 yrs, so...). I feel that whilst Feminism revolutionised most women's lives, society put no onus on men to change correspondingly. Hence we see women working f-t and still doing all the housework and childcare. In the past, when women weren't expected to have a career and, instead, were expected to settle down young and have a family, at least there was the pressure and expectation on men to also settle down young (or younger than they do now) and get that family started too. Now, they expect to be big kids forever and society normalises this and even rewards it. Business is still basically run as though only young men work, and women are still expected to sacrifice promotion, etc., if they want a family too, whereas nothing much changes or has changed for men with families.

Thank Gawd, then, for younger men like my DP, who've been affected by Feminism positively and don't feel the need to be macho and overachieving, etc., and don't expect to be no. 1 all the time. But we need a massive seachange to get rid of the bullshit notion that women are somehow responsible for men's behaviour (ie, our more bolshy modern women personas are putting men off, wearing skimpy clothes is an invitation to rape, etc., etc.), whilst stopping letting them off for being, well, rubbish. I see in RL, and on here, women being almost pathetically grateful when their husband does a bit of hoovering or begrudgingly watches their kids whilst she has a haircut, and she does everything else, when the couple work the same hours! We need to expect and demand from them the same standards we would hold ourselves and other women to - if you thank a man for making an effort that you would find paltry and inadequate in a female friend or sister then you're patronising him, being your own worst enemy and setting a bad example for your DC.

Above all, though, we need as many - if not more - articles in the media about men bucking their ideas up and understanding just how heinous it is to string women along.. and how devastating the outcome for women could be. Pregnancy and Motherhood seem almost fetishised as exclusively female preoccupations in our society and as such, there is a need in the media and in our collective mindsets for getting men more involved, interested, reassured - and eager and willing in the whole baby and parenthood thing.

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 13:39:43

ok - I will join in...

I am 33.. I never wanted kids - ever... So focussed on work and social life. Then oddly aged 31 - having been with my now DH for 3 years, I completely changed my mind.. no idea why - he was fine with me not wanting any - but he was also happy that I changed my mind.

So - I started to worry about being too old.. so we started ttc. but then we stopped after a month or two as we got engaged and wanted to plan wedding (i didn't want to be pregnant in a wedding dress basically!). So Started again in September 08... and have now had one MC and am bloody miserable in general about the whole thing... we still ttc.. but feel like time is against me... sigh...

ClaireDeLoon Tue 11-Aug-09 13:45:20

Didn't meet the right guy until I was 32, had a few years together then thought about children, mc'd at 35 and been ttc since then and I'm now 37. Yes, have excellent career but have never strived for that it just happened and I wouldn't have put ttc on hold to get where I am if I had met lovely DP a few years earlier.

donttrythisathome Tue 11-Aug-09 13:54:06

I never wanted them myself, probably due to a dysfunctional family, as well as enjoying myn own company. A LOT.

I'm 36 now and pregnant for the first time.

But NONE of the wasters guys I went out with ever even mentioned kids - it was hard enough finding someone decent to commit to me.

I didn't meet a man I'd even consider children with until I was nearly 32. I was on the verge of leaving him before he agreed to TTC.

I'm 36 now and pregnant for the first time.

BTW I'm not a "careerwoman" whatever the feck that is - but I do have a job!

donttrythisathome Tue 11-Aug-09 13:55:53

Great thread BTW - ta grin

Poledra Tue 11-Aug-09 13:57:37

I think I'm bucking the trend here - met DH when he was 25 and I was 23. Didn't want kids - he did (though not quite then!). He said he would rather be with me childless than find someone else. Finished my higher education, then worked on my career. We were never big spenders, but did enjoy having lots of disposable income so if we did want something, we could have it.

I gradually changed my mind (influenced by the fact that I knew he wanted children) and had our DDs at age 33, 35 and 37. I am aware that I was very lucky - many of our friends have struggled to have their DCs. We recently discussed what we should have done, and agreed that perhaps we should have started TTC when I was about 28/29, as we were financially secure. The thing is, I'm not sure I would have been ready even then - it's hard to say because now I love my children so much that I cannot imagine not wanting them, but I didn't know then how much I would love them, IYSWIM.

fotheringhay Tue 11-Aug-09 14:08:35

I totally agree with everything Scorpette said re men and society.
In my case, dh (aged 30) and I (33) are only feeling brave enough to start trying now!

kittymch Tue 11-Aug-09 14:09:12

Had first child two weeks shy of my 42nd birthday after 8 months of ttc (and sadly one mc).

Agree with premise that it is not career focus but simply life circumstances. I didn't meet DP until I was 36 and we didn't discuss trying to have kids until four years down the line when I was 40.

I did (do) have a great job that I'm hoping to go back to early next year but it certainly wasn't that that made me leave it so long.

There is always a tendency in the press/media to stereotype women - bridget jones singleton/teenage mum/career women/ball breaker etc. Men seem to be immune to this and are not defined by their family circumstances.

Treil Tue 11-Aug-09 14:38:58

Loving this thread, proverbial nail has been hit on the head I feel!

I was 20 when I met DP and he was 30 much to parents dismay grin We have stuck together through thick and thin and always knew we wanted kids at some point. Every time I have brought up the subject of TTC, (at 23, 27, 28 & 29!) he has said that i'm not settled enough and don't know what I want (patronising git). I must admit that I've moved jobs a few times and even careers once but I think he was talking more about himself than me! Anyway, I hit 30 and said it was now or never because if it wasn't going to happen then I wanted to stop thinking about it and get on and do something else worthwhile with my life and he finally agreed!

A part of me is glad we've waited because we're financially secure, are sure we're meant to be together and are wiser than we were 10 years ago but if it had been my call we'd probably have 2 or 3 by now!

OmniDroid Tue 11-Aug-09 14:55:07

I had my children at 34 and 37 years old. DH is 3 years older than me. We've been together since I was 23, so no issues about not finding the right man for me.

Why wait?

DH wasn't ready to commit to anything (the relationship was very distant and rocky for years). We didn't live together until I was 28.

I was in a job I loved, which gave me the chance to study for a Masters and then a PhD, both on a salary. Not something to chuck away.

I just wasn't interested in pregnancy or children. It wasn't on my radar. No-one I knew had kids until they were into their 30's, there was no culture of it amongst my firends or family, it just wasn't an issue at all.

At 33, I was writing up my PhD and found I was terrifically broody. A real and sudden biological thing. I talked it over with DH, we agreed to try, I was pg at 34, had DS just before my 35th birthday. It didn't feel like I was leaving it late at all.

DS was wonderful, but also the baby from hell. He was impossible to settle, never slept, was colicky, clingy... I didn't know if I could ever face having another. DD arrived earlier this year after a long and nerve-wracking year of trying, with the obligitary fertility investigations.

I'm 38 now, and do feel to old for any more, though DH has just said 'if you ever want another ...' with a hopeful lookgrin

extremesitting Tue 11-Aug-09 15:28:49

OOhh Scorp NAIL ON HEAD!!!

I come from a family of high achievers/ business types so I had "career" rammed down my throat since I was still in terry toweling. Went to Uni, finished uni, fell in love with dear friend and fell pregnant by him within months of getting together. It wasn't until there was a BFP in my hand that I realised he wasn't in love with me and I would have to give up the career I was conditioned to think I should have and the years of hard work I had put in to getting it. I had a termination, he dumped me as soon as it was done and I had what can only be referred to as a serious breakdown in the middle of the best career opportunity of my lifetime.

I floundered for years with crap men and crap jobs and low self worth due to all I had lost. I finally found my OH and we gave up our city lives to make a fresh start elsewhere in new careers, on starter wages.

He is a horizontal man (read: not willing to grow up). It took him 6 years to propose, though started talking marriage when we were a mere 6 months into the relationship.

Aside from his slack arse ways, I have had to put off breeding to desperately hang on to career opportunities. (Compounded by our combined fear that his honorable career couldn't support three or more mouths). Working for small businesses and having a physical side to the job description meant that I would simply not be able to do my job if pregnant. Putting off what I had desperately wanted for the sake of a job was heart breaking, but I thought I was doing the right thing by my employers and by our financial stability. I figured if I waited "just one more year" I would be more stable in the job and the spec might alter to suit a solid worker such as myself.

I wish I hadn't bothered. I lost my job thanks to the recession and there is no doubt in my mind that I am a worry to any potential employer thanks to my age, being straight and married. I swing between wishing I was pregnant to hoping I'm not because I know no one will employ me if I am. Of course the financial stability I was trying to put in place has also been wiped out thanks to my redundancy.

OH and I are into 16 months into TTC. Its heartbreaking. Every woman I walk passed seems to be pregnant, all my friends have children and are in a special club, and every day the media are ramming it down our throats that we have missed the boat/ been irresponsible and that we deserve to be barren old hags. Its not just the Daily Maul... even the BBC breakfast news was at it yesterday!

zayja Tue 11-Aug-09 15:57:13

Great poll longwee, why can't the boys/men shoulder AT LEAST half the blame for putting off TTC?!

My story is, met dh at 19 yrs., fell in love, lived together through most of our 20's. Both had odd jobs, I returned to school, we were both having so much fun and living like kids really-no responsibilities, that marriage wasn't really in the picture. We'd talk about it but in a "sometime in the future" sort of way.

When we both finally got settled in careers at 30, that's when we married. Spent the first 2yrs of marriage convincing him we were ready to TTC. He wanted to travel, have lots of free time/money, and wasn't so sure about having kiddos.

Last year started TTC, got pg after 8mos., then had MMC at 12w. Now, just TTC again, but am worried about lots - especially did all those years of having fun take a toll physically? We'll see...

KayStar Tue 11-Aug-09 16:04:57

I agree with what you've said - it's what life has thrown at us that has meant that most of us have waited.

In our case, we got together when I was 29 and he was 32. I had previously been in a four-year relationship where I had been strung along for the last year of it , so I was anxious not to throw myself too much into something new too soon.

After a year together we moved to his home country (we had both been working abroad in another country when we met) and although we've been here 18 months it has taken me while to settle down and start picking up the language etc. Got married this May at ages 32 and 35

I love my job and had previously been concerned about taking so long off as there were a lot of opportunities for me at the new place (maternity leave here is very long - not complaining about the though of that now ) But gradually that matters less and less to me than starting a family with my DH. So, it's not that I am some incredibly ambitious career woman who has wasted my best years at work - what do the media want, us to have gone around having babies earlier with highly unsuitsble men? At least some of the ones that I dated... hmm

HoneyPetal Tue 11-Aug-09 16:30:12

Fantastic thread - Im not into bashing men for the sake of it but I feel there is a real issue here that has been playing on my mind for a few years.

My story - Ive been with my DH since we were teenagers and somehow never got around to talking about children. It almost became a taboo issue, given our long history together that was based on youth and freedom. After 10 happy years we got married. Then he decided, during a rainy Autumnal car journey, to mention that he may not ever want children as he didnt have a strong 'urge'. I mean, seriously, could he not have mentioned it earlier??? Wow, I'm still a bit pi**ed off, even as I write this. I know its partly my fault, as I didnt force a discussion but to be honest I wasnt 100% sure of my own feelings, a fact he used to full advantage in the crazy rows that followed. It was a very dark time for us, I felt (and still feel) that he is mentally stuck in those teenage years, that he feels no pressure at all and would be quite happy tootling along in our current lives forever. And who was I to force such a massive change onto him?

Fast forward a few years, we are still very much together. I completed a PhD, travelled a bit, slept-in a lot(!) but am in an uncertain line of work in terms of long term security. My career is a male-dominated one that is underhand but obvious in its sexism, and I know it would set me back to disppear for months on end. I'm 'early thirties' but feel very, very aware of the issue of leaving it too late, if I havent already. But Im sure many of you have experienced that feeling! Financially, childcare would cripple us but we could just about do it, for one child. I like my job, its interesting, demanding, frustrating and the pay isnt amazing but I've worked very hard to get here.

So, where are we now? After the passage of time he has changed his opinion to one of calm acceptance, I feel. He repeatedly claims that he would be happy to go for it while at the same time clearly feels he would also be happy to never bother! And apparently the decision is mine to make, as its my body. Im still undecided what to do for the best, Im broody but terrified.

Anyway, I really agree with the opinions expressed above, regarding how this issue is portrayed both in the media and in society in general. I believe woman are being offered the world with one hand whilst very little is changing to actually make our aspirations possible. Long hours cultures, pay differences, middle aged men in charge with stay-at-home wives/nannies/au-pairs, the list goes on. Of course, its not all bad but some days it feels that way!

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this!

Scorpette Tue 11-Aug-09 17:13:17

Another issue that people don't think about for women over 35 is that not only are we risking being able to have children at all, but it often means that we have to give up our hopes and dreams of having the amount of children we would like - TTC after this age generally means we'll have 2 at the most. Whilst there are plenty of excellent arguments about 2 maximum being best, this does not stop people wishing for a larger family. I personally would love to have 3 children at least (I wouldn't want to go higher than 5, mind). I'm v maternal and would love to devote myself to a big family, but at 36, I know that it's not realistic to expect more than 2 DC now (have I just jinxed myself into having sextuplets? wink).

Of course, 1 kiddwink is better than 0. I would be insanely overjoyed and grateful to have just one child. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

Another thing that really hurts - sometimes more than the seemingly endless stream of new articles about 'selfish 30+ careerbitches ruining their chances of childbearing' - is people presuming that because you've got to a certain age without having children then it must mean you don't want any. I've been pushed to tears after 'well-meaning' family and friends (or even strangers) talking to me/about me as though I'm childless through choice: just the other day, one of DP's relatives said to another relative '...well, of course, some women, like Scorpette, never want children'. When I put them right, they blurted out 'well you've left it too late now'! angry If that is already v hurtful, I can't imagine how agonising it must be for women/couples who have confirmed infertility or who have had MCs, etc. Why don't people think? Why do they seem unaware that nowadays, not having kids by the time you hit 30 does not mean you don't want them?! sad

Caitni Tue 11-Aug-09 17:59:45

Scorpette that's bloody horrible about people assuming you don't want kids - I had the same thing happen, from quite close relatives, just because no baby had arrived within 2 years of marriage...in my case my "sex and the city lifestyle" (er, what?) obviously means that we didn't want kids...it's totally hurtful behaviour and why can't people just keep such comments to themselves?

To be honest though I've enjoyed telling them I'm now pregnant after IVF, after years of trying before being told our chances of natural conception are close to nil - I think it's my duty to force them to realise they never know what others are going through and hopefully they'll feel guilty for all the "hilarious" comments about our childlessness up to this point.

duchesse Tue 11-Aug-09 18:09:17

Well, anecdotal evidence only: I popped out three babies in quick succession in my 20s, very, very easily.

Decided to go for a fourth at age 34. Went off contraception in June 2003. Am only just about to lay number four baby (August 2009), after over 6 years of unprotected intercourse and actively trying. Had one miscarriage in that time, and no other confirmed pregnancies.

I don't know if it this is due to age or some other factor, but can't help thinking it may well be age.

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