There are ways of having children in the late 30s and 40s, but it may be more expensive and difficult because fertility treatments and In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) may not always be successful. Another important factor is that if you have a male partner, his age will also affect his fertility and that may determine whether you can have kids.
It is important to respect women’s privacy because some women may be trying to conceive without telling their family and friends, they may have suffered miscarriage or encountered unsuccessful IVF treatments. So telling them there is no right time, without even knowing what they have been through, would be cruel and hurtful. We can only plan and control so much about having a baby, the rest is up to chance.
Also, it is important that you and your partner are on the same page about having and raising a baby, so you must consider if they want to be a parent too. The help and support of family do affect a woman’s ability to raise a child because affluent families have more resources to raise kids compared to someone from a low socioeconomic background.
In Nepal, the pressure on women to have male children to continue to family lineage is just as great. Maya,32, is a successful working professional who has been married for five years. “I get pressure from my in-laws to have a child, preferably male. It makes me feel like everything I have done so far in life is inadequate. First it was the pressure to marry and now to have a child. Should I have a child for society if I have no desire to be a mother?” she questions.
Are you willing to give up your spontaneous life of socialising to wake up in the middle of the night for a baby? Are you willing to give up the joys of being a mother to have a successful and happy career? There are sacrifices and losses on both sides and understanding what they entail would help a woman decide.
If you did not want children for years and suddenly decide at 50 or 60 that you want to be a mother, you may be able to adopt a baby, but you must consider if it is in the best interest of the child. It is not enough to want to be a mother, but also important to be a good mother.
Every decision related to having a baby has consequences. Factors, such as your age and fertility, financial stability, support of a partner, job, family, ambitions and how much are you willing to give up for what you want should be taken into account. This major decision can cause confusion and anxiety, and clash with other expectations.
It is easy to allow society, parents, or your own biological clock to tell you that time is running out and feel guilt and shame for not wanting what a woman ‘should’ want. What other people say or what you read may influence your thoughts and views. But, you have to be honest with yourself, take the time to listen to your inner voice and do what you know is right for yourself.
Anjana Rajbhandary writes this fortnightly Nepali Times column Life Time about socio-cultural issues, mental health and physical health.