Feel'n Fertile?

 

I would like to discuss fertility in relation to being female, but of course you may join in the discussion not matter what your reproductive organs.

 

I am a 25 year old female artist, and lately I have felt very aware of my fertility. I think often about the process of growing a human being inside me, and am drawn to creating jewellery art based on these ponderings. My pieces 'Egglace' and 'Bird Cage' are about the menstrual cycle and feeling like my body is a container for babies. Please view them under attachments below, and feel free to comment on them in this discussion in relation to the questions:

 

How do you feel about your own fertility? Do you sometimes wonder if you can have children at all? Do you feel like the menstrual cycle is a bother and don't connect it to child raising? Or do you believe it is a blessing as it reminds you that you can have children? Do you want to have children, but are scared of the pregnancy? If you have been pregnant, what did it feel like? Have you ever felt the idea of growing something inside you strange and alien? Do you think movies like 'Alien' stem from a fear of pregnancy and child birth? If you are male or a couple who has used or thought of having a surrogate mother, how did it feel to have your child growing inside someone else's body? Do you wish you could carry the child yourself?

 

Thanks so much to all those who participate. I really appreciate your involvement, and assistance in my research.

 

Rickson

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Wow...great topic! Since I was young, I've not wanted to have children. There were a few years in my early 20's where I did, though, but now I'm back to not wanting to have children. Mostly because I am a nanny so I see first hand just how much effort, time, energy, and expense it takes to raise a child. I would make a good mother, but I just see that as my life's path. If it happens, it happens, but I'm not going to be making any extra effort to encourage it. Having said that, I would probably love being pregnant.

On another note, I believe that we as women are taught from the beginning that we are all fertile and we can all get pregnant at any time. It's not until the people around you start getting pregnant or trying that you start to realize that not everyone is created equal in the fertility department and many many women struggle to become pregnant to start with. I've often wondered in past years if I would be able to become pregnant if I were to try. I have seen friends try and fail, or lose babies, and it's absolutely awful and soul crushing. I do think it's important for women to learn about this at an earlier age. Not as an excuse to not use protection, but just as an educational point.

As far as the menstrual cycle is concerned, I am lucky in that mine has always been regular and I've rarely had issues with it. It has gone through many patterns of it's own and I've always enjoyed listening to my body and connecting with it in a way that I know what is going on at the slightest twinge. As much as I hate the cramps and exhaustion (and pms!) that come with it, I also appreciate that it is a natural cycle. I cringe whenever I see birth control ads that encourage "no periods" or "4 periods a year!"...yeah, they're an inconvenience sometimes, but they're also a representation of just how amazing our bodies are and how strong women are. I mean, how COOL is it that we can carry another being inside of ourselves? How amazing is it that my body can create this whole new being starting with just a few cells? That's what I find amazing about pregnancy.

I think there should be far more ritual when girls come of age. Far more celebration. They shouldn't feel ashamed or negative about their bodies' cycles. I know it can be embarrassing and strange at first, and I remember how relieving it was when there were sisters and friends around to alleviate my fears with their knowledge.

There is a permanent exhibition at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) here in Portland that documents a fetus' growth through all 9 months...there are fetuses in cases in this large circular room that go all the way around, and as weird and creepy as it may seem to an adult (knowing that those fetuses are from real bodies and were once alive), the kids I've nannied have always loved it, and I love that they are fascinated by it and can learn about babies and pregnancy through that exhibition.

Great topic...I look forward to seeing more discussion!
Oh so many wonderful thoughts! That exhibition sounds amazing! I went to see the Body Worlds exhibit and was actually REALLY bothered by the pregnant woman. I just couldn't stop thinking about how she died while she was pregnant and now her and her baby are on view now! Usually I LOVE anatomical studies and really enjoy reading about the insides of our bodies, but something about seeing the real thing, rather than a picture, really effected me.

I love your views on the menstrual cycle and the way young girls, and really both genders are taught about it. In school I remember everyone was very careful to create a neutral environment in sex ed, but in commercials, like you mentioned, and social taboos, women's periods are definitely tip toed around and treated as a nuisance. I remember being livid when my boyfriend would attribute my mood to PMS, but then i came to the realization that he only said it when it was my 'time of the month' and it was me who had to accept my own mood swings. Maybe the shame comes from lack of knowledge. Like you mentioned we all assume we are fertile. I think fertility should be part of a medical check up, but I mentioned this to someone and they said you can't know how fertile a woman is...I must research this further. :)

It's so interesting that your career is child care, but you don't want to raise children in your private life. The older I get, the more my views shift. Child raising becomes less idealistic in my mind, and I feel like the ways I would want to explain life would be too obtuse to a child. Or like I would teach my children things that aren't the 'broadly accepted theories on life' and they would be outcasts because what they are taught as true isn't what other kids parents teach them. I remember my childhood being difficult because my mom taught me things other kids didn't learn, and they all called me a liar and weird etc. haha I guess everyone is ridiculed for something, no point in trying to avoid it.

I know it's cliche to compare men to women. But male fertility is celebrated, whereas a woman's period is a sign of her fertility, so why is it demonized.? Also why PMS? Why would a woman become hormonoly imbalanced when (if I am correct on this) she is her most fertile? If women experience PMS right before their period, that means the egg is ready for implantation. Is this some sort of primal way to get a mates attention? I can't quite figure out how PMS and mentruation fit into the natural order of things.

Maybe if our society embrassed a woman's period, PMS would express itself in emotional expressions of joy, rather than frustration.

Something to think about, if any more educated individuals are reading this screaming answers at me, please let me know! :)

THanks sooo much for your thoughts. You've got the ball rolling nicely, I really appreciate your thoughts,

Rickson
I definitely think that there should be more ritual around a woman's coming of age, but also for men, too. Boys don't really have a coming of age ritual...other than their voice changing, I guess. It's like something we've lost in society. I guess the 16th birthday could be kind of like a coming of age ritual. I have a friend in Australia whose parents sent him to Uluru (Ayer's Rock) on his 18th birthday--they sent him with a cape and a helmet and a letter. He was to climb Uluru and take photos or something and that was his coming of age ritual. It was pretty funny to see the photos!

Back to periods and PMS, a girlfriend and I were discussing how women, if they have a regular 28-day cycle, are usually in some state of change. We have ovulation, then a week or two later, PMS, then the period, then the downtime after the period, and then it starts over. We were both saying "so what is 'normal'?" What is a normal state for women on a natural cycle? I think once we accept that we are ever-changing, that would help with the frustration of PMS. I've gotten to a point where I recognize my signs, which are personal to each woman. When my ears get really sensitive to noise, and I start having extremely strong cravings for orange juice, I know I'm PMS'ing. And of course wanting to cry for a few days over everything. But I have made it a point to get to know my body and it's signals well, and that helps me prepare myself for what is happening within me--which is also a very important thing for young women to know. To get to know their bodies, listen to their rhythms, watch what happens as a cycle.
I received a message from a member who wants to comment anonymously. She has some very interesting things to say:

"Being a mother is something that I've always looked forward to. Ever since I started having my period it's been extremely irregular, to the point where I would get it at most 4 times a year. Sometimes it's up to 6 times a year. This didn't worry me when I was younger, since I found having my period was really aggravating in the first place, and I kind of felt lucky that I didn't have to deal with the cramps and pain as much as my friends did. Someone asked me later why I wasn't worried, that maybe something was wrong.

Then I started worrying, a lot. I got a lot of tests done to figure out the irregularity, but nothing really came out of it. My doctor said that some women are just like me, and that I shouldn't worry. But I still worried, I had heard of women who didn't do anything about their problems and had become sterile, and I didn't want that to happen to me.

I wanted to take the pill to regulate my period although my doctor felt this was unnecessary.

Now, I'm kind of just hoping that I'll be able to have a kid when I plan to have one. I still worry sometimes though..."
How do you feel about your own fertility?
I sometimes wonder about how much time I have left to have a 2nd child, since I recently turned 40.
Do you sometimes wonder if you can have children at all? from a pragmatic angle, yes. they are expensive. from a biological standpoint, no. cycle is like clockwork.
Do you feel like the menstrual cycle is a bother and don't connect it to child raising? I think I felt like it was a bother when I was in my teens and 20's and the idea of being pregnant was horrifying. .
Or do you believe it is a blessing as it reminds you that you can have children? It reminds me that I am still young and verile! Yay.
Do you want to have children, but are scared of the pregnancy? Have one, its the greatest.
If you have been pregnant, what did it feel like? I loved it. Ifelt like my body was functioning perfectly, and it is the most natural thing on earth, really. Every event and change had its purpose. I looked and felt great, and had tons of energy. I don't mind sayin'. And that 'nesting thing' really happens.
Have you ever felt the idea of growing something inside you strange and alien? Yes, but it had nothing to do with pregnancy. A scare of a different nature...
Do you think movies like 'Alien' stem from a fear of pregnancy and child birth? No.

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