Most women who want children hear the tick-tock of a biological clock. So much so that many of our decisions about our life are made according to a made-up timeline that factors in when we need to get married, settle down and get pregnant before we are “too old.” As much as we attempt to live in the beautiful feminine quality of surrender and Divine timing, the reality of our biology can be challenging to ignore. By thirty the tick-tock gets louder and by our mid-thirties the alarm starts to go off because we have been told that our fertility is declining.
But what if life isn’t going according to our timeline or plan? What if we have the heart-felt dream to be a mother but we haven’t met the person we want to father our children? What if our focus has been on building our career and being of service in the world? What if, despite our age, we do not feel ready to step into the incredibly important role of motherhood?
Panic. Worry. Pressure. Freak out.
When this hits, women often rush into relationships that are “good enough” or have children with a current partner who may not be the most suitable lifetime partner. Women get sidetracked from their calling and careers because they feel like they are running out of time. Often the desire to have children, combined with the belief system that there is an expiration date on our ability to have them, is one of the biggest challenges that mother-minded women face today. And, from my point of view, one of the biggest advantages men have in our current culture is that the expiration date on their fertility is a lot later than ours.
So what do we do?
We can’t change our biology, but we can change how we are experiencing it. We can move out of fear and into what I call proactive surrender by remembering that we have choices. We can look at all the blessings currently in our lives and all the ways in which we already mother (read my blog about this). And thanks to modern day medicine we have the option of hitting “snooze” on our biological clock by freezing our eggs, which is an empowering choice I recently made.
After my divorce at 32, panic, worry, pressure and freak out set in about my fertility so I had considered freezing my eggs then. I opted not to because making a choice motivated by fear NEVER feels good to me (and usually does not create great results either!). It felt like too much to deal with during a time when completing my marriage and stepping into a loving relationship with myself and building my career was my number one priority and spiritual assignment. I spent the past two years doing exactly that and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Like a lot of women living full and busy lives, my age snuck up on me. All of a sudden I was in my for my annual exam and my doctor was warning me about how my “prime” years would soon be behind me.
When she brought up the option to freeze my eggs, my first response was no. There were the practical reasons like the large expense, the physical and emotional discomfort and the risks involved. And there were the more mystical reasons that had to do with my belief that if The Universe wants me to have a child, it’s really up to It. But honestly, that felt more like a cop-out rather than true surrender. If I were truly surrendered, then I wouldn’t have consistently found myself spending mental energy thinking (okay worrying) about my fertility.
I decided to pray, journal and meditate about it. I asked The Universe for guidance and within the next week, three synchronistic things happened. First, I had a lunch with a new friend and within the first 15 minutes somehow the conversation led to her choice to freeze her eggs and how liberating it was for her. Second, I hopped on the elliptical at the gym, turned on the TV (which I usually don’t watch but I forgot my iPod) and a news story on the recent advances of egg freezing just happened to be airing. Third, I was sitting at a restaurant and overheard the conversation of the two women at the table next to me. One of the women was sharing about her fertility challenges and said, “I just wish I had frozen my eggs when I was younger.”
I felt like The Universe was indeed directing me toward this choice, yet I still wasn’t calling to set up the first appointment. Hesitation was present . . . and just like I want to feel clear and aligned inside if and when I do prepare for pregnancy, my intention was to be in a place of clarity and peace before making this choice. After a lot of inner reflection I realized a few things. First, I was still throwing a bit of a pity party that I even had to consider freezing my eggs. Giving myself shots and paying to store eggs in a Beverly Hills freezer was not exactly how I envisioned motherhood when playing house as a little girl. And then there was the fact that I am fulfilled in my life. My career feels like a calling and even if I were in a partnership, I would not want children right now. I could not ignore the rather surprising question I was asking myself, “Do I even 100% want children and is this whole thing worth it?”
What I ultimately came to is this: I’d like the choice to have children someday AND I’d like to avoid beating myself up at a later date for not doing everything within my power today as an investment in my future desires. Although not a guarantee, freezing my eggs felt like the one thing within my power that best supported the possibility of having children and would liberate me from the mental energy I was wasting by worrying about it.
After I reached a point where I felt clear in the choice without an ounce of panic, fear or attachment present, I made my first appointment with a fertility specialist. I met with a lot of doctors until I found one who was positive, encouraging, and did not throw scary statistics and worst-case scenarios in my direction. The sharing of my experience to follow will offer a very condensed and personal description of how the egg freezing process works – please feel free to ask me ANY additional questions in the comments below and also check out this resource for more details: http://www.eggsurance.com/
The process began with lab work and an ultrasound to access my hormone levels and number of follicles. Then I went on the birth control pill for a short time for the purpose of synchronizing my cycle and selecting the most optimal date to start the injections of massive amounts of hormones that would stimulate my ovaries to pump the follicles. The first night that I had to give myself the shots was the hardest. It was 9:30pm on a Monday night and there I was with four syringes (three of which had very intimidating needles) lined up in front of me. I felt scared, sad and alone – but only for a moment. I took a deep breath and reminded myself WHY I was doing this. These shots weren’t to treat some terrible disease. I was making this choice because having the choice to have children later in my life is something I deeply value. I recognized my own courage and willingness to honor a heart-felt desire.
The physical side effects were uncomfortable, but temporary. I experienced extreme fatigue, headaches, bloating and a roller coaster of emotions. It was frustrating to not be able to work out and feel like I had no control over my body. When the hormones really kicked in, (imagine PMS times 100!), I kept coming back to the WHY and knew the only thing I could control during this process was how I went through it. Every three to four days, I went in for an ultrasound to count and measure the follicles. It was important at this stage not to obsess about levels and numbers. I found myself comparing myself to other women and their statistics, which was not supportive at all. Instead, I spoke lovingly and gently to my body; I visualized my follicles growing. I consistently redirected my thoughts back to the present moment, into gratitude for the choice and chose faith over fear (over and over and over again).
And it was challenging. In fact it was one of the most physically, mentally, emotionally and financially challenging thing I have ever done. Most women require about 8-10 days of injections but I required 14, which added to the physical and financial strain. And if you are wondering, egg freezing costs anywhere from $5,000 to $18,000 depending on the doctor, clinic, storage and medication pricing. Yes, this is a hefty financial investment and here is what I knew to be true: my earning potential is infinite yet my fertility was finite. I also have worked with my belief systems and judgments such that money is never a reason for doing or not doing something. I trust in the abundance of The Universe and my peace of mind was the best investment I could make.
The night before I went in for my extraction, which is an outpatient surgical procedure that requires anesthesia, I had my five best girlfriends over for a celebration. It felt wonderful to ask for support and receive the special brand of TLC that women bless each other with. One girlfriend spent the night and awoke with me at 5:30am to drive me to the clinic. By 7:30am the procedure was done. The pain was minimal and I was relieved the process was over. For about two weeks, there was still some physical discomfort and healing. Eventually all the hormones were out of my system, my body felt like my own again, and I felt like a HUGE weight was lifted off my shoulders.
And I learned something extremely valuable about surrender…
Surrender does not mean just letting go of something entirely (which can be a form of resignation), but rather being open and unattached to how something will happen. Moving forward with freezing my eggs felt both like an aligned action and a way to surrender to the “what is” of my life. And I’m happy to report that I now have a total of eleven viable eggs in the freezer. It’s been an incredible gift to myself, my work and service and my future partner.
If you are considering freezing your eggs, I acknowledge you for your courage! It is not an easy process yet it is incredibly rewarding in terms of the lessons that are available to learn and the liberation that is possible to experience. I strongly encourage you not to make this choice from a place of panic, worry, pressure or freak out. This is an empowering decision. Plus fear and feeling sorry for yourself is bad for your fertility! Use your own inner discernment as to whether or not freezing your eggs is an appropriate choice for you instead of statistics or the opinions of others. Do your due diligence to find a doctor who is right for you. If money is a concern, research payment plans and financing options to make it feasible . . . and remember that your earning potential is infinite!
How fortunate we are to live in a time when we have this choice that helps silence that fear-inducing alarm of our biological clock. Egg freezing is just one way, certainly not the only way, to affirm what we really want in life. I’m not advocating for egg freezing, it was just something that was the most supportive choice for me. What I AM advocating is letting go of the stress that so many women endure when it comes to age and fertility. It’s time to practice proactive surrender: doing everything within our power and handing the rest over to The Universe. It’s time to remove judgment of ourselves for where we are (or aren’t) in life. It’s time to wait for the spiritual partnership we long for. It’s time to honor our calling and the work we are currently giving birth to in the world.
AND having biological children is just one of the ways in which we can mother, express our gifts and love. Remember, there is our plan and then there is the plan The Universe has in store for us, which is always for our Highest Good. In the meantime, stop the panic, worry, pressure and freak out. It does not serve you and it robs you of your mental energy. Focus on what you are giving birth to right now.
I am here to support you and answer your questions. Again, post any comments or questions below and if you want to send me a personal message just find me on Facebook.
Featured image via Jepoirrier on Flickr