Age 42–and No More Worries about My Biological Clock

Today is my birthday, I’m 42, and I’m not even depressed.

For me, this level of contentment is significant, for I’ve spent more than half of my life monitoring my biological clock, making varying decisions as it ticked, tocked, blared, then declared war on anyone in its way.

At age 18, I entered Miami University as a Psychology major. However, upon taking an introductory Psychology course during the first semester of my freshman year, I learned I’d have to go to school for five years after college to earn a Psy.D., as opposed to a Ph.D., in Psychology, so I changed my major. Considering that my primary goal was to be a mom, spending so many years in school—starting my counseling career upon earning a Psy.D. at age 27—seemed a waste.

I never dated for fun: From my first date at age 15 until meeting my husband at the tail end of 35, I evaluated each and every man based on whether or not he’d be a good husband and father. I remember being at a grab-a-date event my sophomore year at Miami University, with my date, a recent love, blowing me off by telling me that it was obvious I “was looking for something,” and he “wasn’t it.”

I was 30 for the year that I lived and worked in London, England, as start-up manager and acting director of the British Film Institute’s (BFI’s) London IMAX® Cinema, a period in which I worked countless hours. When the BFI approached me about extending my contract, the concept of being in London past the launch of the IMAX 3D Cinema, having a normal life in one of the world’s most spectacular cities, was appealing—except that I was turning 31. I knew I didn’t want to stay in London for the long-term, so staying seemed useless, for I didn’t want to fall in love, get married and have children in a city in which I had never felt at home myself.

My desire to find “The One,” then to beat my biological clock, was the primary determinant in my decision-making regarding career and associated city, country, continent. And although I did partake in many experiences, I gave up opportunities as I aged, for they didn’t mesh with my goal of being a regular mom.

At age 35, I started trying to get pregnant on my own, using donor sperm, only to be foiled by DES (diethylstilbestrol)-related infertility. However, I did have success on my seventh cycle of intrauterine insemination.

After having my son Patrick at age 36, I am a mom, however I never let go of my desire to have a second biological child. So as I turned 37, 38 and 39, I felt increasingly tense. As I neared 40, I felt downright panic. And as I turned 41 one year ago, with one unsuccessful in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle under my belt, with the egg retrieval of my second IVF cycle only days away, I felt as if every day that I aged reduced my chances. Because every day did.

Today I am 42, and I have a second biological child, my son Luke, who is 3½ months old. I finally feel as if my family is complete, so today is the first birthday in probably 12 years in which I am not obsessed with my DES-induced infertility and/or my biological clock. I am truly content.

So today I spent my day snuggling with my boys, first curled up in bed this morning, where Patrick, age 5, suggested that because it’s my birthday, we should buy some vanilla ice cream, which happens to be his favorite food. Then this afternoon, my husband came home from work early, and we watched a movie, with my motivated husband working out, while I, not so motivated, lounged in a recliner with Patrick and Luke lying on top of me.

I’m a thinker, so I reveled in these hours, appreciating all I have been blessed with and loving that my birthday is no longer cause for biological-clock concern.

Happy Birthday to me. Happy Birthday to me.

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