The Middle Ages: 35

"Later, during a time when there was no room in her thoughts for anything but remorseless obsessive recollection, a perverse desire to debase the tenderness she had felt for him led her to insist to herself that it had all been a kind of fatigued middle-aged prurience. "
–Sophie Bentwood in Desperate Characters, the mysterious book that showed up at my door and made me question my sanity, on an affair at age 35, i.e. "too old for romance."

People did die younger in the late '60s so there's that. You also did everything–marry, have children…I guess that's everything–earlier too. Now millennials (who are up to age 34, by the way) are all jobless and single and living at home or with a gazillion roommates, right? We're all stunted, but youthful.
If I were to believe everything I read in magazines, I would think that every woman over 30 was paying $15,000 a pop to jump start their shriveling ovaries. The pathetic state of fertility even when drug-enhanced:  "In a single cycle of IVF, about 64 percent of 30-year-old women wound up with a child. At 35, 47 percent were successful; at 40, only 28 percent; at 43, only 13 percent; and at 44 and over, it’s 2

And yet at 39 and a half, I am being told I should stop taking birth control (I do not disagree–despite studies saying there's nothing unsafe about taking the pill for decades, it just doesn't seem like messing with hormones for that long can possibly be good for you) because my blood pressure has been uncontrollable since I've lived in NYC (and likely in Portland too–I just didn't go to the doctor) no matter how many medicines I've tried (I started what's probably the tenth different one today and am being referred to a renal specialist) and was recommended to consider an IUD since I have at least ten fertile years left. How can that be? So, are  women over 35 barren and impregnable or they should be implanting interuterine devices because of the abundance of eager eggs?  It can't be both.

If I were more reckless (apparently, most women get pregnant this way–ambivalently and without thought) I would experiment with going birth control free at 40 and see what happens. Maybe I would get knocked up and I could troll infertility message boards about how easy it was. You know, I just relaxed and stopped stressing over conceiving and it happened naturally.  You just have to want it enough. Kind of like how any online discussion of fat discrimination will attract commenters who believe that skinny women have it just as hard, that vanity sizing has made size 2 too big for them so they can't find clothes either, and how hurtful, "eat a sandwich"  remarks are.

13 thoughts on “The Middle Ages: 35

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