Women In Their 30s Now Having More Babies Than Women in Their 20s

For the first time in over three decades in the US, women in their 30s are having more babies than women in their 20s.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released data last Wednesday that the birth rate among women aged 30 to 34 last year was slightly higher than that of women aged 25 to 29. Also according to the data, women are having their first child at age 28 on average. Consider that in 2014, the average age for women having their first child was 26.3 according to the CDC. That seems like a pretty high jump in age to me, considering it’s been only 3 years since 2014!

Experts say that the change is partially due to a reduction in teen pregnancy rates. But that’s only part of the story. A lot of women, including myself, feel it’s okay to have children later. I’m 35, and I want children and haven’t had them yet. I don’t feel societal pressure to have children, only biological. And even that biological pressure is somewhat tempered by knowing many women who have had babies over 40, and the fertility options that new technology brings. I’ve definitely calmed down a bit more in the past year or so, because I know I’m just not ready yet and that it’s better to feel that I have the right partner and financial situation to raise a child than to ‘just do it.’

But, for my own peace of mind, I’ll be making an appointment for fertility diagnostic testing at USC.

Will Male Birth Control Become a Thing In Your Thirties?

Let’s face it- the thirties are a time when we think about babies. If you haven’t had babies yet and want some, you might be thinking, ‘hmm, how old is too old to have babies?’ or ‘when can we get started?’ or ‘when will I find someone to get started with me?’ If you don’t want babies, you may be thinking, ‘wow, all my friends are having babies- how do I hide everyone I know on Facebook?’ or ‘what would happen if I accidentally had a baby? Would it ruin me financially?’ or ‘what’s the best way to stop from ever possibly having a baby? (Besides abstinence, duh).’

Whether you’re female or male, and whether you want kids or not, babies seem to pop up all around you during your thirties. I bet you have at least one friend who recently had a baby and at least 5 Facebook friends who are posting pictures of their little ones right now (I probably have at least 30 proud new parent Facebook friends…and no, I don’t mind. If any of you are reading this, I like it, seriously, post away).

If you’re female and don’t want to have kids- at least at the moment, there are many types of birth control options, including a pill that you annoyingly have to remember to take at the same time every day. This pill, a popular form of birth control, puts the responsibility of avoiding pregnancy squarely on the woman. The same can be said of BC options such as IUDs and Nuvarings, and patches and the like. But soon there might be another option.

I was reading an article just yesterday about a male birth control study done with human males (as opposed to mice males in the past), that used a new form of male birth control in the form of an injection. The injection was given to the males at set 8 week intervals for a certain amount of time, and after a few months, couples relied solely on the injections for birth control. The subjects were followed for about a year, and in that time about 2 in 100 women got pregnant. With regular, correct and careful use of condoms, about 3-5 out of 100 women will get pregnant, so the male birth control injections in this study have proven to be more effective birth control than condoms.

The problems the researchers are still dealing with are the side effects of the injections- some males complained of acne and mild depression…although female birth control methods like the pill can also have side effects- including crazy mood swings and weight gain- and those are out on the market anyway! 75% of the males in the study said they’d continue to use the method despite the side effects, so that’s promising, at least. And it’s nice to know the guys are into it.

As of now, there are bound to be many more studies before this form of male birth control will actually be out and useable. So maybe we won’t all still be in our thirties by then. But technology moves fast and I’m optimistic- so who knows?

If you’re a male reading this, would you take male birth control? Why or why not? If you’re female, do you feel like the burden of birth control rests too squarely on the woman? Or are you perfectly happy to be in charge of birth control?

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How Would You Answer This Question?

What would you say if someone asked you if you agreed with the below statement?

“I’m confident that eventually I will get what I want out of life.”

I would say yes. But I happen to be a pretty optimistic person generally (if, anxious).

In a study at Clark University completed by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, 655 thirtysomethings were asked the same question – if they agreed with the above statement.

And guess what percentage said yes? 87%. Not only that, but more than three quarters said they still feel like “anything is possible.”  That’s pretty impressive, especially considering how many thitysomethings feel like they aren’t where they want to be career-wise or personally (That’s my informal, completely un-researched opinion after talking to my friends).

Arnett, the researcher, was surprised by these results, and while he said they are admirable, he also felt they were unrealistic. That’s because he also asked these thirtysomethings if they have gotten as far in their careers as they’d hoped to be by now. And 56% of respondents (born between 1975 and 1984) said they haven’t gotten as far in their careers as they’d have hoped to by now. And 17% said they are not in a relationship now but would like to be.

Maybe it’s because we may not feel like we’re at the ‘destination’ of where we want to be, but we’re enjoying the ‘journey’ a heck of a lot. Personally, I do love the fact that I have more time and freedom right now than people with children or very demanding jobs. That time has allowed me to explore screenwriting and TV writing as a career.

We also might not be settling for less. We’re realizing that it may take a longer time to get exactly what we want, but it’s way better than settling for a mediocre career or relationship situation that society tells us is what we should have in our 30s.

When Self-Care Doesn’t Work

Last week for about the whole week, I had really, really bad anxiety. Like ‘a bubble bath and bottle of wine’ isn’t gonna help this kind of anxiety. It was strong and I didn’t feel like myself – this icky feeling possessed my brain (not Exorcist style in my body though, thank God!) in what felt like an unshakeable way. I’m not sure exactly what sparked it, but probably lots of little things that kind of exploded into a ball of overwhelm.

I tried everything. Watching my shows on Netflix, eating ridiculous amounts of pizza, drinking wine, reading cheesy magazines and books, taking walks – but nothing worked. My brain kept circling the same thoughts over and over again. Why didn’t I have more plans on Labor Day weekend? Am I going to live in this tiny studio apartment my whole life? Will I get get married and have kids? 

Those thoughts just kept repeating and repeating in my head, and I couldn’t shut them down.

I started getting angry at the idea of ‘self-care’ because it sure didn’t seem to be working for me.

So what do you do in these situations? Obviously, there’s medication, which I believe can be very helpful if you need it. But aside from that, what’s the biggest way to deal with moments like this? Now that I’m a little out of the anxiety fugue state, there’s one thing I know that works.

Riding it out. Accept that your (anxiety/loneliness/depression/fear/anger) may be PART of your life experience, but it’s not ALL of your life experience. It will pass.

feelings

Happy Mothers Day!

First off, I want to say Happy Mothers Day to my amazing, beautiful mother! I love you so much!

Second of all, I want to acknowledge and give a shout out to all the mothers out there who are working hard to raise healthy, happy children. I know it’s a lot of work and can be more than a full time job.

In my thirties, I see more of my friends than ever becoming mothers. My Facebook page is in baby boom mode- it’s as if suddenly at least half of everyone I know is pregnant or raising a baby right now. Luckily, I’ve felt my tolerance towards and even love of baby photos on Facebook increase ten-fold from when I was in my twenties, so it’s good timing.

I’m just coming from visiting a friend of mine in North Carolina, where I was staying with her and her two and a half year old. I knew her way before she got pregnant and followed her journey through that and have watched her baby grow into an adorable, amazing toddler. I know how much her life has changed as a result of having a child. So many things have changed from the simple…
-We have to make sure restaurants are kid friendly if we take her child with us (booster seats, other parents who understand, easy to eat food.)
-Pushing a stroller can be an uphill battle (literally).
-Car seats take up lots of space
– Nap time in the house is quiet time for all of us (or else)
-Early bed times
-Early wake up times
-Way less alcohol

And then the complex:
-I asked her if she was going to visit New York this summer and it just made no sense and was to hard to visit with a two year old- even though she loves New York and used to always visit.
-She wants a house with a back yard and lots of space for her child- city living doesn’t work for her anymore.
-Her entire daytime routine is extremely structured in order to give her toddler specific structure (early wake up, grandma comes over, nap time, play time, early bedtime, etc).
-Kids need to be watched at almost all times. It can be a 24 hour job.

I give mothers everywhere extreme kudos for all the work they do and totally understand that being a mother is a full-time job that’s a lot of hard work with no pay (not in dollars, anyway). You lovely ladies deserve lots of love and kudos!

One last side note for all the amazing ladies reading this who’ve chosen not to have kids- your choice is so absolutely valid and I completely support that too! I have many friends who’ve made this choice and I fully support them. Not everyone wants kids, and that’s beyond okay! Have a great day anyway 🙂

I love you!

I love you!

Baby Fever in Your Thirties

Baby Fever in Your Thirties

I’ve always been a fan of cute things.

I love little animals, especially baby animals, and can watch cute cat videos for quite awhile- sometimes over and over again. When people talk to me about their dog or cat or any cuddly pet really, I always want to see a picture. Or two. Or three.

And I think I’ve always kinda loved really cute babies too. Cute human ones, I mean. But although I’ve always found some human babies cute, I’m quite particular, and I never really liked kids, even when I was one myself.

Lately though, I’ve noticed my love of cute little things increasing even more. I’ve always loved cute animals, but now I’m absolutely obsessed with them. I squee out loud when I see an adorable puppy in a sweater, and photos of baby pigs and pandas can bring happy tears to my eyes.

Today at work I saw an adorable baby with tufts of crazy hair sticking out everywhere. He/she made me really happy. I pointed him/her out to my coworker, a male in his late thirties, and he said ‘awww, so cute’ and then asked, ‘Do you have baby fever?’

I immediately said no, and felt embarrassed and even ashamed, weirded out by that question, especially from a guy. Baby fever seems like such a cliche in your thirties. But then he informed me that he thought HE was having baby fever- not only noticing cute kids way more, but getting obsessed with his nieces and nephews like never before.

So that was shocking. Maybe baby fever isn’t just a cliche woman thing, but can happen to guys too. He’s in his late thirties, so perhaps it happens to guys a bit later? Is baby fever even a real thing? Does being in your thirties cause this for some people?

I don’t know if I have baby fever, really. At least, I won’t admit it just yet. But I love cute things, for sure.

And so I conclude with a video of a cat building an igloo in the snow. And just in time for easter: some of my favorite very cute bunnies. And all of their friends. 🙂

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On Wanting Children

Yesterday, I was walking through the mall on a ‘self-care’ mission. I was hoping to treat myself to a new outfit to wear to my birthday drinks that night.

As I was walked by the Build-a-Bear workshop, I saw a little blonde girl clutching her mother’s hand. She looked like a mini me – light blonde hair, blue eyes – and there was something in her demeanor that reminded me of myself. Now to preface, I see children out and about all the time, but this time felt different. I didn’t see her and think “Oh, so cute!” or give her a goofy wave like I sometimes do with adorable kids. This time, I felt a pang in my gut. I wanted to be clutching my daughter’s hand. I wanted that relationship.

This fear/sadness raced through my body as I walked passed the small girl and her mom. I worried that it wouldn’t happen for me, that this experience – such a huge, life changing one – would never be mine.

Maybe it’s having just turned 34, when my own mother had me. Or knowing that the clock is officially ticking…and much louder than it was at 29 or 31.

People tell me that I’m in control of this – that I can have kids on my own. Just this week someone asked me if I had a “male best friend” who I could ask to have a  child with. (I don’t.) And while I know I could go it alone, that’s not a realistic option for me. I don’t have much money, and truthfully, I still feel like a kid myself.

The hopeful side of me thinks it’s inevitable that I’ll have children. That’s how I’ve always looked at it anyway – that it’s somehow just going to happen. But as the time ticks by, I wonder – “is there more I could be doing?” “have I made the wrong choices in my life to lead me to this point?”

I do feel like I still have a solid 3-5 years to have a child, but I’m nervous. It seems like so much would have to change in my life for me to become a mother. I’d have to meet someone, have a stable career with a solid income, and my mental mindset would have to change so much.

But that’s how life is, I suppose. You’re changing in small ways every day but you don’t realize it, until years later, you look back and see how different you’ve become. Those small changes add up in a huge way.

Leaving the mall yesterday, I walked out into the atypical LA rain storm and tried to let the feelings wash away. I soothed myself with the gentle reminder that the universe has a way of aligning things for us.

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