You know the drill. You’ve just been asked out by someone that you don’t really know; and frankly, you’re not interested. So, what do you say? Dare you say, “no”? Disclaimer: I realize that not everyone adheres to the trends that I’ll discuss in this […]
By: Elizabeth Hansen
Whether you are single, married and not ready for kids, don’t want children, struggling with infertility, or more, you can still be a parent—mother or father—in many ways.
There are many relationships we have in our lives where we can step into the role of a parent figure. Maybe you have nieces, nephews, young cousins, close friends with kids, a church position working with kids, and more. We have opportunities in these places and more to be a parent to others. A lot, if not everything, a parent does boils down to love. Because we love someone, we give them good advice. Because we love someone, we set appropriate boundaries. Because we love someone, we learn their fears, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses. Because we love someone, we check up on them. Because we love someone, . . .
We can do all the above and more for those who may not be our own flesh and blood, but that we love all the same. Kids need a lot of great role models, not just their mom and dad. Mom and dad cannot be with their kids 24/7. Kids go to school, sports events, church, clubs, Uncles Joe’s house for the week, etc. All it takes is a change of perspective to see that we can all be parents in various places. We just have to keep our actions rooted in love and treat these kids how we would our own children.
There are even ways to reach out to children in a less direct manner. If you don’t have a lot of natural interaction with kids, you can always volunteer to work with kids. There are many after school programs like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Volunteer with Children, local day cares, day care for children with special needs, and more. We can be more than a babysitter in all of these capacities. We can make a difference and be a parent to those around us.
Of course, I am not saying that we need to be these children’s parents. They have parents. It’s not our place to argue or teach against their family values or something their parents have taught them. But, when they are in our temporary care, we can lead and guide them in the right ways and let them know they are loved.
As college students, newly weds, young parents, or even veterans in the marriage arena, your home can be a place of refuge that you can call your own and also personalize to your own tastes and desires. However, it can sometimes be tricky to know […]
“Are you registered to vote?” “Do you know who you’re going to vote for?” “You’re going to vote, right?” “You’d better do your public duty and vote!” “Have you voted yet?” There’s a theme here: “You’d best go and vote, or you’ve failed in your duties […]
When I worked as the front desk medical assistant a few years ago at a primary care physicians office, I was able to observe many different questions, concerns, and discussions between the physician (Dr. F) and her patients. One afternoon Dr. F came out of an exam room looking amused and let all of the staff know that there would be an office meeting at lunch. During this meeting Dr. F applauded everyone for taking every patient concern seriously and scheduling appointments for every patient. However, we were scheduling one type of appointment far too often. This type of meeting concerned infertility in couples trying to get pregnant. We were taught that patients should be comforted and advised to not be concerned if they were not pregnant after one or two months of trying to conceive. In fact, we were told that an appointment should only be necessary after a couple had been trying to conceive consistently for six months to even a year! We were asked to continue to be respectful of patients’ concerns, but to advise couples to not request an appointment for infertility until they had been trying to conceive for longer than six months.
So why do so many couples get so nervous if they cannot get pregnant after a few months of trying to conceive? The answer is simple: culture. Dr. F said it best when she said, “when we teach our kids about sex during high school we push this idea that women will get pregnant if they even look in the general direction of a mans genitalia!” And while she was hyperbolizing, the statement has a point. Sex education in America is pretty hit-and-miss depending on what state you reside, with one study stating that sexual education programs often lose in competitions for school funding. But even when someone has received a satisfactory sexual education, there are several cultural factors that often affect couples’ thinking.
Have you ever heard that a woman has to have her babies before she turns thirty-five or her chances of having a baby will drop drastically? How about that once she is forty, her chances of having birth defects are doubled? I would be surprised if someone in their twenties hadn’t heard these statements. We hear comments such as these all the time from concerned friends, mothers, and other close individuals. Every year during the holidays, many young couples are accosted by inquisitive family members about when they are planning on starting because, their “biological clocks are ticking!” Commonly held beliefs such as these come from caring individuals but are simply not true. First off, the “thirty-five year cut off” came from a French census record from the 1600’s. More modern studies from populations of modern women see a drastic increase in the child bearing years of women. In fact, in one study it was shown that women at near forty still had an 87% of getting pregnant within a year. And the doubling of birth defects? That is a quote from a study that completely missed the point of the study itself. While it is true that women over forty have a doubled chance of experiencing birth defects, the study from which these statics originate found that the percentage of women experiencing birth defects after the age of 35 only “climbed” from .5 to 1%. So, while it is technically true that the rate of birth defects doubled, this “doubling” was in an extremely small number! When we separate out the cultural boogey-man stories of infertility and the ever ticking clock of a woman’s body, we realize that couples have way more time than they thought to start their families.
But what about “right now” for all of those couples that I saw at the front desk, and all of the other couples that are trying to get pregnant in their twenties? It is fine that they have more time than commonly believed, but they still aren’t pregnant after three months of trying? Multiple failed attempts at pregnancy can in fact be very stressful, but everyone—young couples and their friends and family alike—need to understand that getting pregnant is hard. In a study done by the journal of human reproduction, when couples timed intercourse with ovulation there still was only a 37% of getting pregnant in one month. Creating a human body is incredibly intricate, there is a reason that many call it the miracle of birth. More often than not, something goes wrong during the first couple weeks of pregnancy, resulting in a failure to truly conceive a child. When someone is trying to get pregnant, it more common to experience failure rather than success in the first month. However, if they keep trying throughout the year, it is probable that they will conceive before the year is up!
So what is the take away? Women have way more time than they often think to conceive a child, it can be hard to conceive the very first time that a couple tries. Finally, if a couple keep trying, success is right around the corner. When it comes to starting a family, there are a lot of things to get stressed out about, but whether or not a couple will be able to conceive should not be one of them. Take a deep breath and enjoy the process.