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When I look at my life, there are some things I wish I’d done earlier.
I’m now in grad school, so I can teach full time to complement my filmmaking career. But it would’ve been a helluva lot easier doing it without kids.
On the other hand I wish I had gotten a film into Sundance later. I was 32 and, despite my sales rep wanting me to lie that I was 28, I wasn’t ready for the intense pressure of dealing with producers and agents.
But having my twin daughters at 42 was perfect timing. It wasn’t just that I was able to devote my thirties to my career; but that emotionally I had the time to distance myself from a complex childhood. I felt really ready to devote myself to another human being.
But, as many of us know, good timing is not what you hear when you walk into a fertility clinic at close to 41. Instead it’s, “What the hell were you thinking waiting so long? You’re chances have dwindled to nothing!”
As chronicled in my film, Sperm Donor X (http://www NULL.spermdonorx NULL.com/)—despite the fact that I had no actual fertility issues—I was treated as a fertility problem and put onto Clomid. After only three tries I was put onto 2 cycles of injectibles then IVF.
My story ends amazingly well. On the sixth try I got pregnant with healthy twin girls. But, in retrospect, I wonder if part of that success had to do with the calm that came with deciding that would be my last try. If I didn’t get pregnant that time I would adopt.
What I felt was this really powerful feeling that I would be a mother no matter what. Stress has been proven to reduce chances of pregnancy. So, I think it’s key to try to de-stress a super stressful situation.
For me, it helped to think about my options. How long could I do this emotionally and financially? Would I do donor egg? Would I adopt?
Most of the time I was trying, I was dwelling on how crazy I was to have waited so long, fixated on having a fully biological child in a world that was telling me my chances were lessening – which made me feel totally out of control.
Feeling like I would parent, no matter what, put me back in the driver’s seat of my own destiny. We all know that our percentage chances of getting pregnant in our 40’s are less than in our 20’s or 30’s. That does not mean we should all be having kids in our 20’s or 30’s. There are really valid reasons for waiting and it isn’t impossible!
I had my girls at 42, my friend Nina her son at 43, my friend Michele her son at 44. Not every woman in her 40’s will get pregnant. Not every woman—regardless of age—will get pregnant, period. Some will move to donor egg, some will not.
However, feeling good about our choice to have kids later in life—no matter what anyone else says—is the first step, followed by thinking through our options, trying to remain calm and in the moment. After initially stressing, that was my strategy and it worked.
Notes for this blog:
Deirdre Fishel is an independent filmmaker of both dramatic and documentary films. Her documentary, SPERM DONOR X chronicles her and three other diverse women’s journeys to become single mothers via donor sperm.
To learn more about her and her work go to www.spermdonorx.com or www.mindseyeproductions.com.
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