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Misconceptions

FYI: I don't assume I'll be able to get pregnant. In fact, I'm really nervous that I'll have trouble conceiving or keeping a pregnancy. It's not that I have a family history of infertility (although I do have friends and extended family who've had fertility problems, and it's been incredibly trying, to say the very least). It's just that I can't escape all the talk of infertility around me and it's clouding my ability to think rationally.

Infertility is the buzz word of women in their 30s and 40s. (I have to admit that I've even written articles on boosting fertility.) And it feels like every time I watch anything on TV about women and kids (The Today Show particularly!), or read anything about women and family in magazines, or even talk with women, I hear about how getting pregnant is so hard or how miscarriages are so common.

So, I found myself getting very anxious when at my book group meeting and at a bachelorette party recently the topic that dominated both evenings was pregnancy and fertility. I know I said that pregnancy is practically my favorite topic, but there's something about talking about it with lots of women — with everyone's opinions, misconceptions (no pun intended), stories of infertility, etc. — that makes me incredibly uneasy.

"It took me all of my 20s and four IVF attempts to have my son," said Sarah at the bachelorette dinner while sipping her champagne.

"You should take this brand of prenatal vitamin," said Lisa (who happens to be an obgyn) when she was asked, and wrote down the exact name of the vitamin on my friend's business card.

"Which fertility monitor do you think works best?" asked a friend of mine over her salad.

Arg! Enough! Yes, part of me is bursting with excitement to talk about this and to finally feel ready to enter this club of moms who've been through this right of passage of pregnancy and childbirth. But another part of me is scared that it's not going to happen for me, so all this talk and all these opinions stress me out.

One thing that brings my nerves down a notch: According to Resolve: The National Infertility Association, infertility (which is the inability to get pregnant after one year of trying, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term), affects about 12 percent of couples of reproductive age. This means that 88 percent of people (most of us) should be able to conceive within a year of trying and eventually give birth. Resolve also states that after three months of trying, 60 percent of couples will conceive without medical help.

Yes, rates of infertility go up the older we get, but I'm going to hold onto those statistics. And every time I start to get nervous, I'm going to whip those stats out of my mental file cabinet to calm myself down.

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