My sister is turning 39 in a few months. She rang me the other day in a panic saying : I am the woman on the pop art postcard.
Many of you will remember this from the 1980s –
My sister will soon be 39 and has no children.
But it’s not that she has forgotten to have children. It is slightly outrageous to say that anyone could forget to have children. You don’t forget to have children the way you forget your keys or forget to buy cornflakes. Most of the time you have no choice in the matter.
It would be fair to say that my sister has had bad luck with men. Every man she has been with has been self-centred, arrogant and abusive. Sometimes she has been fortunate (if you can call it that) in that the abuse has only been verbal but as anyone who will tell you who has been on the receiving end of long-term verbal/emotional abuse – it’s no picnic and can end up changing your view of yourself. Definitively.
In addition to children not being on the agenda as a result of dysfunction in the marriage or relationship, recent tests have revealed that my sister looks like she will not be able to conceive naturally. She is very overweight, has pre-diabetes and polycystic ovaries. And she is nearly 40.
There is a decline in the fertility rate over age 35. There is only a 10% chance of falling pregnant. At age 40 or over there is only a 5% chance. One thing I didn’t know is that at age 40 or over up to 90% of a woman’s eggs are genetically abnormal. Even with IVF the success rate is only 10% per try.
[This is information my sister received from her doctor.]
My sister’s biological clock is ticking. She wants to give IVF a try. She will have to lose weight first and get her blood pressure down but if she manages that then there is no reason she couldn’t give it a go.
Except that her husband doesn’t want to.
He is an alcoholic. He is not drinking at the moment and is attending AA meetings but addiction is a slippery slope as we all know and sobriety is never a guarantee.
He has stated that the last thing he needs at the moment is the stress of trying to have a child. I am inclined to agree with him – the depths of his addiction have both horrified and scared me – but I also understand my sister’s need, want, wish to have a baby. I understand how relentless the ticking of that biological clock can be.
He will have his way and maybe that’s for the best but I feel despondent thinking about my sister. She has had so much sadness to deal with. So much.
I really wish things could be different.