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35-year-old woman: do I really want to have a child?

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We tell ourselves that we have our whole lives ahead of us. Then the approach of forty works on us. Time is running out. We doubt, we wonder… Close-up of the doubts of these “maybe” mothers.

For a long time, women got pregnant at a very young age. Today, having a child is no longer natural. Childbearing is now a carefully considered choice. A national study conducted in 2021 by Inserm even indicates that one in four women who become pregnant is over the age of 35.

Bringing a child into the world is an extraordinary experience, but there are other “maternities” possible for a woman, other creations just as exciting and human,” confirms psychoanalyst Catherine Bensaïd. Hence these hesitations, which culminate as they approach the age of forty. Some women even decide never to have children.

The biological clock creates urgency

Laurence, a talented stylist, is, at 38 years old, one of those women who flock to PMA’s offices ( medically assisted procreation): “I always told myself I had time! It was my gynecologist who brought me back to reality: ‘You’re almost 40 years old! What are you waiting for to have a child? Until it’s too late? This kind of reminder may seem abrupt, but the question of a child always ends up catching up with those who put off having one indefinitely.age of childbearing. This is what Charlotte Dudkiewicz-Sibony, a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist at the maternity ward of the Tenon Hospital in Paris, observes on a daily basis: “Thethe biological clock of women is an inescapable physiological reality that creates a particular urgency. Every woman knows that one day she will not be able to have a child. Then she wonders about the meaning of her life. We are all here because a man and a woman have met. It is the question of their origin, their death and their transmission that arises in this desire to give birth in middle age.

If Marion waited until the age of 35 to embark on the “great adventure” of motherhood, it was out of love for her freedom: “I have been working for twelve years between the United States and Europe. I never wanted to take on the responsibilities of a family. And the sad spectacle of my mommy friends who are stuck between their problems with daycare and chicken pox hasn’t helped…. A child is alienating, you carry it for life. It’s enough to put off the deadline. But one thing is certain, at 50 I don’t want to regret missing out on this happiness out of cowardice. I have survived several cyclones, I could survive childbirth! This is a phrase unimaginable a few decades ago.

Women are increasingly prioritizing their professional careers

It’s no secret that most women today are working and thriving professionally. They want to study, succeed in their careers, establish themselves, and enjoy life before having a baby. Ariane, creative director of a large design agency, illustrates this sociological evolution. At the age of 20, I wanted to prove to the whole world that I was the most talented. I had a hard time asserting myself; men are convinced that they have a monopoly on creativity. This challenge overshadowed my love life. Now I miss someone to share the fruits of my success with, and I finally feel ready to take on a child, financially, materially and emotionally. It’s late, I know, but that’s the way it is.

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Of course, the professional success requires availability. And freedom is important. But these rationalizations, these justifications, often conceal a unconscious fear of having a childCatherine Bensaïd notes, “One intuitively feels that this is an enormous responsibility, an upheaval that will transform one’s life. The desire for a child is very ambivalent by nature, there is no need to feel guilty about it. Ambivalence is even reassuring for the unborn child, it protects it from a too exclusive and invasive maternal love. Those who absolutely want a child to justify its life, without any ambivalence, give it too heavy a role.

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The desire to have a child often escapes our control

The unconscious can block fertility. And if some men are afraid to take the plunge, it is because of their father. Explanations with Monique Bydlowski, neuropsychiatrist and psychoanalyst.

The non-desire to have a child: unconscious blocks?

All desire has to do with the unconscious, not with the will,” explains psychoanalyst Catherine Mathelin. However, only a small part of desire emerges into consciousness. You can consciously want a child and unconsciously not want it, and vice versa. And vice versa. Sylvie, for example, was convinced that she did not want a baby Until the last few months: “I got pregnant when I was 20, it was an “accident” and I chose the abortion. I have never regretted this decision. Until, nineteen years later, I had a very intense dream in which I was pregnant because I had “forgotten to take the pill.” I felt happy, I was no longer afraid. When I woke up, I felt in my gut that this is what I wanted. I am 39 years old and I am going to do everything I can to have a child. Starting with finding him a father…” Is Catherine’s attitude paradoxical? Certainly, but isn’t paradox the spice of life?

Some women fear the possibility of their bodies becoming deformed. This aesthetic preoccupation, “has nothing to do with a pregnancy phobia “, explains Catherine Mathelin. “Some personalities feel deep down that they would be in psychic danger with a child. Childbirth would damage the integrity of their body image and they protect themselves. This is the case for Isabelle, a 40-year-old actress: “The animal side of pregnancy and breastfeeding repels me. Childbirth scares me, I imagine I won’t survive the pain of tearing! Episiotomy, stretch marks, distended vagina, soft abs, postpartum depression…. How do you want to remain desirable after such treatment? For others, the difficulty of For others, the difficulty of deciding whether or not to have a child. is linked to a difficult relationship with her own mother. Agathe began an analysis at the age of 34, because she felt unable to live, to build a lasting relationship with a man: “My psychoanalysis helped me to free myself from the maternal prohibition. My mother gave birth to me so that I would never be alone again. She sacrificed her ambition for her family with the idea that at least we would not abandon her. Unconsciously, I was to remain her eternal child. Today I accept the idea of placing myself in the generation of mothers, of making my mother a grandmother. Without the help of my psychiatrist, I would have missed the train!

Finding the right partner to have a baby

Many women reach their 40s without having met the man who could have been the father of their child. You can always tell yourself that you have time to to know true love but the child does not wait, and the fear of not finding a partner reinforces the anxiety linked to the passage of time. The four men who really counted for me were immature, selfish,” exclaims Pauline, 43. I raised them, I couldn’t see a father in them. Everything changed when I met Dimitri. He is solid, constructive, balanced and wants to make me happy. This feeling of being able to count on him made me want to have a child with him. For the first time, I have confidence. As Catherine Bensaïd points out, “having a child for oneself without worrying about the father was the big fad of the 1980s. Today, women have understood that therein lies the great difficulty: a child is made with someone else, in a a shared desire to have a child.

Pauline is fortunate to have met a man who was ready to be a father.. But in our society, fatherhood, like motherhood, is no longer a given. Caroline, for example, only loved men who did not want to have children: “The first one was married and already a father. The second one reproached me for seeing him as a potential “father”, like the “females” over 30 who are looking for a pregnancy. Thibault, 50, my current friend, is divorced and has a 15-year-old daughter. When I talk to him about my desire to have a child, he tells me that he is too old, that he does not see himself at 70 with a child of 20. I am 37 years old, I have never been so happy with a man. On the other hand, I know I will have missed out on my life as a woman if I don’t give birth. Should I leave Thibault? A heartbreaking dilemma. One has to question this systematic attraction to men who refuse fatherhood. Perhaps it is an unconscious way of making their “non-desire” to have a child speak and not to face their own ambivalence? What is certain is that men cannot bear to be forced to be fathers, to be instrumentalized, to be lied to,” confirms Catherine Mathelin. Those who stop the pill without consulting them, those who present them with a fait accompli thinking that they will adapt, seriously compromise the quality of the father’s relationship with his child.

Having a child tests the strength of the couple.

It is not to be assumed that those living in a One should not assume that those who live in a serene couple relationship are free from uncertainties. Motherhood and fatherhood require an inner journey and mark a change in the couple’s status. We were two, we became three. Hence the questions… Will we lose that desire that the other has for us? Will the child bring us closer or push us away? Who will assume the responsibilities? The later the child arrives, the more the couple’s independence is consolidated. When you live together, you can improvise. But a child is a long-term commitment that makes sense and calls into question the established bond. Elise, 35, and François, 37, preferred to test the solidity of theirs before imagining childbirth: “We traveled, partied and matured together. We traveled, partied and matured together. Our history has been going on for twelve years and it seems natural to us that a child would enrich our complicity. I talked about it first, on Valentine’s Day, and François confessed that he was thinking about it too. That’s what we call being in tune!

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“I feel good about myself as 38 year old woman with no childrenI’m the oldest, my little sisters are already mothers,” says Lydia, whose passion is breeding Anglo-Arabian foals. I’m the oldest, my little sisters are all mothers now. Every birthday they say to me ‘when are we going to be grandparents again?’ This maternity mandate The constant requirement to have children makes me feel very guilty, I feel that I am abnormal. I had nothing against the idea of having a family, but life made another choice for me. I have a full life, I have many friends, I love my nieces and nephews, I am active in saving the environment and preparing the future for all the children of the world. what’s the problem?”

“You have to differentiate between desire and envy.”

The psychiatrist’s opinion : Catherine Mathelin

Becoming pregnantIt’s very fashionable, our society values motherhood and the stars show off their round bellies in all the magazines,” explains Catherine Mathelin, a psychoanalyst. When they reach their forties, some women say to themselves: “Everyone else has one and I don’t. I have to have one. I have to have one. They want a baby just like they want a good job, a nice house, a perfect physique. We find ourselves then in a phallic problematic as described by Freud: the child is the symbolic equivalent of the missing penis, the last fashionable thing that an accomplished woman in her 40s must possess to satisfy her desire for omnipotence. We live in a society in which a single woman who is desperate to become a mother. can be inseminated. The fact that science has made this possible should not make us lose sight of this essential truth: a child is made by two people, embodies the desire of a man and a woman, and is first and foremost the fruit of a love story.”

“My infertility has made me less guilty.

Madeleine Chapsal’s testimony

Did you feel the desire to have a child?
Madeleine Chapsal : When I was very young, I didn’t want it. When I was about 30, I wanted to be like everybody else. I told myself that this man would not have left me if I had made him a baby. In the end, I didn’t have to choose, I am sterile. For a long time I felt a pain. The natural course of events is to give birth. Every month, the woman who has her period regrets something that has not been fulfilled. Being infertile made me feel less guilty. I finally came to terms with myself.

What are the positive aspects of being a childless woman?
Madeleine Chapsal: I felt much freer to work. I wouldn’t have written so much if I had, and besides, I think we censor ourselves when we do. Simone de Beauvoir, Camille Claudel, Simone Weil were not mothers. Was it to devote themselves to their work, or did their work compensate for their desire to have a child? Nobody knows.

In your opinion, can a woman who has no children be happy and fulfilled?
Madeleine Chapsal: It could be if society didn’t reflect badly on it. My family tried to disinherit me so that the estate would not pass into foreign hands. A childless woman is a dead end, not a link. In their day, they were buried in the children’s cemetery, they were “subwomen”. And those who are sterile are still disowned by their husbands. enough is enough! One can be a woman in her own right without giving birth.

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Family / Couple

Breath play or erotic suffocation, a dangerous sexual practice

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It is sexual behavior that is controversial. the breathing game which literally means “breath play”, is a form of erotic asphyxiation practiced during sexual intercourse. But its dangerousness is often overlooked.

What is the breathing game?

ends sexual arousal”, defines the English version of Wikipedia. In practice, “erotic asphyxia” consists ofchoking your partner in the middle of a sexual act. However, playing with your breath can be very dangerous, even deadly. “May result in accidental death by suffocation,” the definition says.

However, despite the risk of injury or fainting, this practice has many adherents. A study conducted in 2021 among 4,000 American students indicates that 26.5% of those surveyed had drowned during their last sexual encounter. Another study carried out the same year on other students reveals more worrying figures: 58% of them have already been suffocated by a partner.

L’suffocation erotic it is also very popular in BSDM circles. A french website dedicated to this type of sexual practices, explains that this restriction of breathing is “practiced in different ways: hanging, suffocation, placing the head in a plastic bag or strangulation,” reports an article in female earth.

A sexual practice that can be deadly

Very risky, the breathing game was popularized by the porn industry, making it an act in its own right, especially in sexual relations marked by domination. But in reality, the consequences of this sexual practice can be fatal. Too much pressure on the larynx can cause death.

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Although there are no official figures on the number of deaths caused by this practice, Grace Millane, a 22-year-old woman, died from it in 2018. Police found traces of strangulation that could correspond to a “four to five minute” suffocation. His partner, Jesse Kempton, was convicted of femicide and sentenced to life in prison. The defense had confided “that the young woman had accidentally died at the end of a sexual game that had gone wrong, a version that had been categorically rejected by the jury,” he recalls. paris party.

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Couple: what your position on the sofa says about your relationship

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the posture adopted by couples when they sit on a sofait’s a window into your relationship status. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Georgina Barnett, a British psychologist, on 2,000 cohabiting couples. “Tell me how you’re sitting, I’ll tell you if everything is fine in your relationship,” says the specialist in an interview with Stylish Maternity.

Sitting next to each other: a sign of imbalance?

While most couples tend to sit on the couch together, there are some pretty subtle signs that it can be signs of relationship problems. When the partners occupy only one corner of the bench and are too close together, this is synonymous with imbalance in your relationship. “The comfortable person in the corner takes up the space, is confident, and has power in the relationship. The other, on the other hand, seems less confident. He is looking for contact and reassurance, ”explains Georgina Barnett.

However, there is a nuance when they sit more in the center of the sofa, maintaining physical contact, such as a hand on the thigh or another. “Couples established in this way have trust your relationship and therefore can afford personal space. It is a mixture of intimacy and freedom”, analyzes the psychologist. But although in love, the latter no longer experience the passion of the first days, according to the expert.

When the position on the sofa heralds a crisis

According to the psychologist, time is serious in the event that the two partners are sitting at two different ends. “It’s even worse if her legs are crossed in opposite directions,” she says. This posture is generally a sign of a Tension in the couple. It can also be a sign that something was left unsaid or resentment, according to Georgina Barnett.

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And contrary to what one might think, if the partners are based on different bases, distanced from each other, it does not necessarily mean that they are in crisis. can only be couples comfortable enough with each other to have their own space. Although this study is based on a fairly large sample, its conclusions must be taken with caution.

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The Relationship Escalator: Are You Following This Conventional Love Pattern?

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Dating, formalizing your relationship, living together, getting married and having children. Many people perceive this life path map as the ultimate blueprint. This diagram has a name: the relationship escalator. The goal of those who take it is to peak by aging together, after checking a certain number of boxes.

What is a “relationship escalator”?

This expression designates a love pattern widespread, but increasingly questioned within society. The Urban DictionaryThe bible of slang and popular expressions defines the relationship ladder as “the societal expectation that a romantic relationship should automatically follow a set of stages and lead to marriage, parenthood, and home ownership.”

Amy Gahran, author of Off the Relationship Escalator, Uncommon Love and Life, was the first to mention this concept. She explains that this notion is “a standard by which most people assess whether an intimate relationship that develops is meaningful, serious, good, healthy, committed, or worth pursuing or maintaining.” In other words, the escalator of the relationship denotes ME’set of beliefs that perceive the most conventional pattern of love as the most rewarding and valued. This concept is made up of several steps that can vary depending on the culture. But they generally follow this timeline:

• Flirt for a few weeks/months

• Becoming sexually and emotionally exclusive

• Introduce your partner to loved ones

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• Live together

• Get married or settle down

• Acquire real estate

• Have children

• Get old together

A satisfactory relational schema if it is not imposed

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking this kind of path of love if it makes us happy. Instead, what can be problematic is imposing it on others as an absolute norm and the only valid model. Pointing fingers at this practice is also a way of denouncing the constant pressure on singles and couples who do not formalize their civil unions.

Gabrielle Smith, an author and poet who is very sensitive to issues related to sexuality and romantic relationships, analyzes this practice in an article by granist “The relationship escalator is designed for heterosexual relationships between singles and preferably for relationships within a two-income middle-class household. Many people are not part of this demographic, and those who are still feel the pressure it brings. »

If this mandate can affect all genders, it is particularly intense when it comes to heterosexual women. “Society makes you think it’s easy to get married, have children, or combine finances. But the reality for many is that it is neither possible nor smart”, concludes Gabrielle Smith.

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