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Too Young to be Infertile? What You Need to Know

*Link to original post here

Pressing snooze on your biological clock could not only cost you financially, but emotionally as well.

More than half of university-aged young adults believe that fertility begins to decline at a later age than it really does, according to a recent U.K study.

The Globe and Mail reported results from the journal, Human Reproduction, citing  that 67 per cent of women and 81 per cent of men think that female fertility greatly declines after age 40; when in reality there is a marked decrease from age 35.

A 2010 Canadian study showed that women on the other side of the pond believed the same thing.

Many from the U.K study believed that the drop zone is later still, with 31 per cent of women and 52 per cent of men thinking that the chances of natural conception don’t decrease until after age 44.

The study also reveals that success rates for assisted-reproductive technologies are being vastly overestimated – with reproductive specialists being expected to perform miracles.

While researchers can’t put their finger on the reason for this misinformation, experts speculate that it’s because doctors aren’t being proactive by discussing their patient’s fertility until it becomes a concern.

In addition, it is believed that celebrity stories, such as that of Kelly Preston, who gave birth to her son when she was 48, are skewing the perception that healthy fertility is the norm at any age.

I was only in my 20s when I was diagnosed with secondary infertility. After many rounds of Clomid (medication used to induce ovulation) and a miscarriage, two years later I was finally pregnant. And although I am happy to have a healthy second child, I don’t forget everything my family went through in the process. Had I been prepared for this possibility, I might have handled it a lot better.

Similarly, those without accurate information about their fertility face the possibility of a long, expensive and emotional journey on the road to having children – that is if they even want them.

It’s not fair to assume every woman wishes to bear offspring. And some still may wish to invest in their independence and focus on their career before focusing on having children. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. Let’s address a woman’s right to choose. After all, part of what the feminist movement was about was taking control of our fertility. Thank you birth control pill!

But to truly take control we must have full knowledge of our body’s capabilities and limitations. Information about the realities of female fertility needs to be readily, and widely, available. It should be discussed in sex-education classes and brought up by family physicians in young adulthood. The question needs to be raised early. “Might you ever want to have children?” If the answer is yes, then “Here are the things you need to know.”

However, should the fear that an aging woman’s ovaries might shrivel up, leaving her barren, pressure her to start considering having children she may never want?

It’s the archaic notion that a woman isn’t living up to her God-given purpose if she isn’t procreating that causes so much stress. Should she have to compromise her current desires in order to live up to society’s expectations further down the road?

These are the things a woman must deal with simply because she was born with a uterus. Pressure is coming in from all sides – “Have a baby in your twenties or risk not having them at all,” and “You better hold off on having a baby until you establish a career because old women in the workplace aren’t desirable.” Then you have the pressure to remain childless because you might use too many sick days thanks to your little snot-nosed, germ factories. You risk demotion, and possibly termination, leaving you with the financial hardship you were trying to avoid to begin with. It’s so often about the money, but that isn’t the only cost.

Putting the price of fertility treatments aside, (for example, just one round of IVF can cost as much as $15,000) the true price a woman pays comes in the form of emotional turmoil. While family doctors have some psychological training, it doesn’t replace a good old fashioned therapist. Yes, women should be offered a fertility consultation by their doctors to discuss their biology once they reach the prime age of fertility.  But the most important service they should be offered is a referral to a therapist who specializes in working with women who are considering when, and if, to have children.


Study: Social Skills, Not Good Grades, Linked with Lifelong Happiness

*Link to original post  here (Yahoo Shine)

Don’t fret if your kids didn’t make the honour roll – their future well-being doesn’t depend on it.

According to the Journal of Happiness Studiesacademic achievement has less impact on adult well-being than we might think. The study followed just more than 800 children over a 32-year period, exploring the role of academic achievement and social development on future adult well-being. For the purpose of this study, well-being is defined as a combination of a sense of coherence, positive coping strategies, social engagement and self-perceived strengths.

The results showed a strong link between social connectedness and overall adult happiness. The findings suggest that parents should focus their attention on helping their children develop social skills. Parent can do this by encouraging their children to participate in social activities such as youth groups and sporting clubs.

But isn’t it important that our children do well in school? Apparently, academic achievement has little effect on adult well-being, according to the authors of the study, associate professor Craig Olsson from Deakin University and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia, and his colleagues.

I admittedly was never overly stressed about my kids getting straight A’s. Of course I expected them to do their best, but I also encouraged them to forge strong bonds with classmates. As a shy kid myself, I had a hard time making friends. I did have a few, but I never really “fit in” so I didn’t want my children to go through that same painful experience.

When we held our little bundles of joy in our arms for the first time we made a multitude of wishes on their behalf:  We wished for their health and future success, but most of all we wished for their happiness. We promised to do our part to help them succeed in life. We would attend all their ball games and sit through all their school performances; we’d read to them, limit their screen time and help them with their homework.

I started out with good intentions when my girls were wee ones. They were signed up for every activity imaginable (with great aspirations of becoming Olympic gymnasts and figure skaters). They went to singing lessons and piano lessons; the list goes on. But life got in the way, as it sometimes does, and sacrifices needed to be made to preserve my sanity family harmony. And most of all, they missed their friends.

So we spent less time driving to practices, and a little more time just hanging out together. They did remain in organized activities, but not as many, and not so much that it took time away from their friends. They’d have them over to “study” but most times they’d just be chatting, as they often did during class –as evidenced by their average marks– and that was OK with me. As long as they were happy (and not failing), I was happy for them.

For now, my 11-year-old’s organized activities are limited to soccer and karate, and she has no ambitions to be a star goalie, or ninja, quite yet. I hazard a guess that it’s okay at this age to not have her life mapped out. And my 17-year-old, who has double aspirations of being a starving special effects artist and musician, spends equal time talking to friends and honing her craft (AKA jamming with friends and creating videos to share on YouTube).

While my kids aren’t the highest performing students in their class, (not for their lack of ability) they do have a healthy set of social skills. And this may be more important to their future happiness than being scholars.

10 Things Every Mom Says

*Link to original post here

There are some things every mom says.

Put on a hat or you’ll catch a cold


Your face will freeze that way

How many times have you rolled your eyes when you heard some of the things your mom said to you as a child?

And admit it, you catch yourself saying the same things to your child today. I know I do. It’s almost automatic. Every time I do it I hear my mother’s voice and cringe. Especially when I fall back on everyone’s favourite, “You’ll understand when you have kids one day.” My only retort was, “Well I’m not having any kids!”

Lies. I now have two. And I’m sure they are doubly annoyed by my broken record of momisms.
Well now kids are taking to Twitter to commiserate with their peers about the annoying things their moms seem to have on repeat.

We’ve rounded up the 10 most common tweets using the hashtag: #thingseverymomsays. Some things never change.

1. Me: Mom I’m bored. Mom: Go clean your room. – @missshadyxx

2. As long as you live under my roof, you’ll live by my rules. – @its_austinnn

3. I brought you into this world & I can take you out. – @mixdgrlproblems

4. When you have kids, you’ll realize what I’m talking about. – @RealBryanGarcia

5. Don’t talk to me like that, I’m not one of your little friends. – @ItsRyanParker

6. I’ll Give You Something to Cry About. – @CarltonnBanks

7. Because I said so. – @iKeepItTooReal

8. If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you? – @CarltonnBanks

9. You eat what I cook or don’t eat at all. – @TonyTRoberts

10. If you go out there and break your leg don’t come running to me. @rmurray92

Target Backlash: Moms Speak Out Against Tween Fashion

*Link to original post here or  here

I have a bone to pick with children’s clothing manufacturers. Walk past the window displays of any children’s clothier and you may catch a glimpse of mini-mannequins, sporting über short dresses, and super low-cut tops. And if it wasn’t for their size, you might expect these fashions to have come straight from the runway.

Last week a disgruntled mother posted a comment on Target Australia’s Facebook page. Ana Laura Amini expressed her disappointment with the store’s clothing offerings for girls between the ages of seven and 14, stating that because their designs lacked modesty, she would no longer be shopping at their stores. Her post received more than 70,000 “likes” and nearly 4,000 responses – many expressing shared sentiments.

Target has since responded, explaining their product design selection process, and assuring Facebookers that they are indeed reading customer feedback. However, this does not directly solve the dilemma many parents have when shopping for age-appropriate clothing: Where can average parents (meaning us non-celeb mommies) get affordable, quality, modest clothing?

Target isn’t the only store to offer questionable kid’s garment designs. And it’s a source of frustration for many parents who seek to dress their children in more modest fashions. As a mother of a tween and teen, it’s become more than just a frustration. I spend far too much time going from shop-to-shop, sorting through racks, for clothes that don’t make my 11-year-old look like her 17-year-old sister.

I have always allowed my children to embrace their uniqueness, and this includes their style. I didn’t bat an eye when my eldest went from wearing nothing but camouflage in Grade 6 to wanting blue hair in Grade 8 (much to the dismay of her principal). And it doesn’t faze me one bit that my youngest refuses to wear dresses, or the colour pink. But whether their style goes against the gender-grain, or is more flamboyant than the norm, they both have one thing in common – their desire for modesty. My girls like to stay covered up. And so the struggle continues.

So who’s to blame? It’s not the manufacturer’s responsibility to guide public taste. They make their money from the demands of their consumers. And since many parents these days want little replicas of themselves, the selection of kids clothing we are left with is just a shrunken down version of adult clothing.

So tell retailers what you want to see in their stores. Nay, demand it! Write letters, sign petitions, employ social media as Ana did. But you mustn’t stop there. What we need the most is to accept that our children are children and not living dolls. Teach them it’s OK to love themselves as they are. Let’s build strong children who don’t bend to the pressure of media images.

We get it. There will always be moms who think it’s cute to have a miniature clone of themselves. And there will always be kids who want to grow up too quickly. But we must be responsible and draw the line and encourage our own children’s age-appropriate modesty. The change starts at home.

Easy Meal Prep for the Time-Starved Mom

*Link to original post here

I come from a long line of women who take great pride in spending hours each day making meals for their families. They ask for nothing in return but satisfied smiles. No dish was simple. Many required hours of marinating and slow cooking. Dinner was always three or four courses. And there was not a morsel leftover at the end of the meal.

As a single, working mom, that is no longer realistic for me. When I get home at the end of the work day the last thing I want to do is spend an hour, or longer, in the kitchen playing Julia Child. Yet it’s important that my children’s nutrition not suffer because of my lack of energy and organization. I had to find a simple solution that made sense for us. So for the last few years I have been attending a bi-weekly meal prep session at SupperWorks where I spend an hour making 12 entrees.  It’s such an easy process. I go on their website, make my selections from the monthly menu and book my session. When I arrive I am greeted by friendly staff who take my purse and hand me a glass of wine.

The first thing I do is wash up and put on a crisp, white apron. Then I move from station to station, following the printed directions they have laid out for me.  All the vegetables are pre-chopped, and all the meat is portioned out. All I need to do is to measure out a few seasonings, toss everything in a freezer bag, stick on a label with cooking instructions and place it in the holding fridge. The best part is that I don’t have to clean anything up.

While you are given two hours to put together your meals, sometimes I am finished in less than an hour. All that is left to do is put everything in my cooler and transfer the contents to my freezer at home. For the really time-starved, they have a pickup option which means you don’t lift a finger!

I love how everything from the shopping, prep work to clean up is all done for me. In addition to convenience they offer gluten-free and vegetarian dishes for those with food restrictions.  And on Saturdays they allow you to bring your little ones in to give a helping hand! Dinnertime is now stress-free and nutritious. We no longer have chicken Tuesdays in our home. We get to enjoy recipes from all over the world. Sometimes it’s Greek stew, other times it’s Spanish fish bake. Tonight it’s crock pot chicken curry. What are you having for dinner tonight?

Why Working Late in Your Pregnancy May be as Harmful as Smoking

*Link to original post here

We’re often told that healthy women with low risk pregnancies are able to work up until delivery.

But should they, really?

A new study from the University of Essex shows that working past the eight month mark may be as harmful to our babies as smoking since they grow more slowly in the womb.

The research tells us that women who continued working until the end of the third trimester were more likely to have lower birth weight babies. We know from previous studies that babies with lower birth weights are more prone to developmental delays and poor health. In addition, they are less likely to be scholastically successful, which could mean lower wages and higher mortality.

The study does point out that pregnant women over the age of 24 were at more risk. And those with less education are at most risk since they are more likely to have physically demanding jobs.

Samples were taken from three major surveys, over the last few decades, dating as far back as the 70s and as recently as 2005, among populations both in the UK and US.

One of the outcomes of the study was the recommendation that women who feel the need, should take a break from work before birth, rather than just after.

These new recommendations are a far cry from what pregnant women have been told in recent years. Women have been encouraged to stay active throughout their pregnancy to prevent gaining excess weight, which can contribute to gestational diabetes. Even light jogging is considered a safe way to keep fit and possibly make labour easier.

Sure, maybe with six support bras cradling your swollen, tender breasts. There’s nothing like carrying around the extra weight of baby, placenta, amniotic fluid and the increased blood mass to motivate you through your last mile. *eye roll*

I remember how cumbersome I felt at six months pregnant with my second child. Every joint ached, and it took all I had in me just to waddle to the kitchen to address baby’s chicken craving. I couldn’t imagine having to sit at an office desk for eight hours or playing Frogger through downtown traffic to make it to an industry event on time, let alone go jogging.

This new information finally offers some rest for the weary. It’s bad enough that women are expected to do it all, but to do it all while nine months pregnant? And we place these expectations on ourselves. We compete with each other the most.

Ladies, it’s OK to put your feet up and modify your daily routine. Yes, women have bore children for millennia, but it doesn’t make the feat any less miraculous, and dare I say, brave.

So take your last month, or three, off work and start nesting. And don’t allow the big belly mamas-to-be doing the downward dog in the park to make you feel inadequate. Better them than you.


The Baby Bikini Onesie That is Horrifying Everyone

*Link to original post here (iVillage) or here (Yahoo! Shine)

A recent article in the Huffington Post  about the introduction of the baby bikini onesie in a Southaven, MS Gordmans has sparked fury among locals. Cries of indecency, and worries over pedophiles being enticed by wee ones donning the garment, have exploded all over the World Wide Web.

Is it tacky? Yes. Is it distasteful? Absolutely. Will it draw child predators out of the woodwork? Doubtful. At least not any more than a baby in a bathing suit would. After all, it’s innocence that these sickos prey upon. Not the sight of a fully mature woman’s body in a bikini.

However, I’m a big believer in letting kids be kids. Beauty pageants for toddlers rub me the wrong way. A toddler trained to be cheeky and coy in order to win a beauty competition is sending the message that being sexually desirable is how girls should behave to be accepted. What makes it any different from putting an 18-month-old baby girl in that onesie? A baby doesn’t understand what they are wearing.

At what point does a piece of clothing or mannerism become too much? There doesn’t seem to be a definitive line that when crossed is considered inappropriate. Maybe that’s the real problem. We need clear boundaries.

The baby bikini onesie is probably harmless. I’m neither indifferent nor appalled at the idea of this garment. It just leaves me shaking my head. The crotchless panties mentioned in the article, on the other hand, that’s a whole other kettle of fish.