I love children. I always wanted to be a mother. My only child turns 26 next month. Of course she is no longer a baby, though she looks very young for her age, (a blessing in disguise for I too suffered from this “malady.”)
Sometimes I see babies and I crave to have another. However, at 45 that would be an unwise decision.
When the kid reaches 18 I would be 63 and my husband 68. Not fair to the kid and to us. It would have been nice to be able to have a child with my husband. My first pregnancy was most difficult and I handled it alone. Raised my kid in a single parent household and never knew the joys of having a “complete” family. However, the experience made me stronger and I’ll never regret my prolife choice. My daughter gave me that singular opportunity to be a mother and I was able to create wonderful memories with her and my family.
Perhaps as I reach the later stages of life and I know I will experience a sense of loss once “the change” is complete, I can come to terms with not having another child. I heard many women experience what I am currently going through. It’s a emotional roller coaster ride. However, am quite lucky that I have a man whose right there beside me through this change.
The following study was conducted on a group of Chinese women experiencing menopause. It seems my genetic and lifestyle predictors indicate my “time” will be later in life:
Evidence suggests that women who have never had children will experience menopause earlier than those who have.10 The timing of babies also influences the age at menopause. In studies of Chinese21 and British19 women, those who had their first baby at a younger age and those who had their last baby at an older age, experienced menopause later in life than women with other childbearing patterns. Duration of breastfeeding was also found to influence age at menopause in these women; those who breastfed for longer experienced menopause slightly later than other women.19,21
Age of first menstrual period also influences the age of menopause. Amongst the Chinese women studied, those who began menstruating when they were 16 years or older experienced menopause later than those who began menstruating before they turned 16 years old.21 Women who experienced short menstrual cycles during adolescence also experience menopause, one average, earlier than those who don’t.18
Use of contraceptives (including oral contraceptive, an intrauterine device or tubal ligation) slightly increased the age of menopause amongst Chinese women.21 A study amongst women from the United States also reported that oral contraceptive use was associated with an older age at menopause.23
A higher level of education appears to protect against the early onset of menopause,23 as does being married (compared to widowed, single or divorced) and employed (as opposed to unemployed).23 However, it is not clear whether these relationships are direct or are affected by other factors. For example, the relationship between education and menopause timing may occur simply because better educated women are less likely to smoke.10 Being widowed in associated with almost twice the likelihood of early menopause compared to being married, as is poorer general health.10