A late bloomer, Reisa Pollard took her time deciding on her chosen career, travelling around the world and discovering a passion to pursue interior design, aged 32. The idea of having kids was part of a distant future. However, as soon as she married, aged 40, she was bitten by the baby bug.
Talking about late motherhood, the US-based designer tells the audience in this TedX Talk that 40s may be touted as the new 30s today, but in reality, eggs age as in one’s great-grandmother’s time. She gives the example of a gumball machine, where the supply gets low and stale as the years wear on. “The chances of turning one of those gumballs into a baby even with in vitro fertilisation are less than two per cent,” she remarks, a fact that can come as a shock to healthy older women.
She shares her journey, since “for the first time, 30-something women are having more babies than 20-somethings. If you’re under 40, and thinking of having a family in the future, freeze your eggs. Put your gumballs on ice till you’re ready to have kids.”
While her first pregnancy, months after her marriage, ended in a miscarriage, she soon had her first child. And the minute she held her baby, she wanted another. That’s when the struggle truly began, at age 42. As Pollard tells us, “Six years, seven pregnancies, five miscarriages, a round of in vitro and two donor eggs…and a couple of lucky rolls of the dice to win the baby lottery.”
She talks about experiencing a deep sense of failure through it all, feeling mentally and physically exhausted. Pollard has a message for other women, “We need to start sharing our stories. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a journey and you’re not alone.”