Written by: Etain Case
For professional City women, motherhood is often placed on pause while career remains a priority. Working one’s way up the corporate career ladder into management or directorship typically requires ten to fifteen years of hard work. Women lucky enough to have a family during this time are usually only able to do so with considerable support.
But for many women, career takes precedence until their late 30s as they forge ahead in a male-dominated workplace, with their biological clocks ticking away. Plans for motherhood get shelved for several reasons: a preference to save a significant nest egg before becoming a parent; the inability to find the ideal partner, or perhaps satisfaction with working life. It’s not uncommon nowadays for career-driven women to place motherhood further down the list of life’s priorities.
But the idea that one is young forever can cause a sudden, late and panicked awakening. This occurs because the unconscious mind remains at 30 while the physical body edges closer to 40. In other words, the mind wants to remain at the age most conducive to fulfilling career objectives, despite the body’s natural draw towards middle age. When this happens at the peak of her career, a woman will realise she’s running out of time to conceive and might panic as she feels time slip away and her fertility begins to wane. But who to confide in?
A LISTENING EAR
The fear of stigma could prevent a woman confiding in her colleagues, while the fear of burdening a friend or relative could prevent discussion closer to home. Confiding across generational gaps present their own challenges, as different generations bring their own pressures to bear. Women wanting to conceive might find constructive and objective advice hard to come by unless seeking out professional help.
ADDRESSING THE SUBCONSCIOUS
Despite the myriad treatments available to address the physical aspects of infertility, there remains a need to address one’s mental health. Decisions to delay motherhood can stem from multiple unconscious reasons or conscious professional decisions, but the outcome remains the same. Midlife conception may be on the increase, but for some there are only insurmountable challenges and heartbreak. Discreet and compassionate conversations provide the agency to unpick the subconscious, offering a psychotherapeutic lens through which to find solutions and better understand these experiences without pressure for a particular decision or outcome.