Silberman’s only regret is that she wishes she had done it at 30

“This new generation doesn’t feel pressure to get everything done in their twenties,” said Lindsay Silberman, 34, a beauty and travel influencer who froze her eggs this past spring.

Silberman, who has written candidly about her conflicted feelings over having kids with her husband, said the decision to freeze her eggs during a less hectic period in her life afforded her the opportunity to confront a “harsh reality.” She explained: “You have your eye on the prize career-wise and then, all of the sudden, you have a fertility assessment and things aren’t looking like they did when you were 27.” During lockdown, Silberman also launched a luxury home brand called Hotel Lobby Candle. (Their first batch of candles sold out in 24 minutes.)

“You have your eye on the prize career-wise and then. you have a fertility assessment and things aren’t looking like they did when you were 27.”

“I’m glad I [froze my eggs] when I did because it’s only going to get more difficult,” Silberman added. “I’ve seen the heartbreak of IVF and I just wanted to hedge my bets.” The whole process of freezing embryos cost her $17,000 from start to finish, a process she documented on Instagram.

What emerges from talking to 30-something women about the last year is that children-whether to have them, when to have them, and how to care for them-was a defining feature of this period.

Becoming a New Parent

In April, Dr. Ruchi Murthy, an infectious disease de across a study in the Lancet Psychiatry, a top-tier scientific journal, that found a higher proportion of mothers had clinically significant depression and anxiety symptoms than pre-pandemic.

Dr. Murthy, who is 35, gave birth to her first child, Serena, in . “I didn’t have an opportunity to pass over my daughter to a friend so I could take a shower or be on my phone for 10 minutes,” Murthy recounted. “Support was almost non-existent. The fact that we’re all still standing a year later is a win for all mothers.”

“Support was almost non-existent. The fact that we’re all still standing a year later is a win for all mothers.”

Maternity leave was not at all what Murthy had envisioned when she thought about spending time with her newborn. Instead, those months were spent doomscrolling on Twitter and scouring The New England Journal of Medicine trying to learn everything there is to know about COVID, all while trying to figure out how to pump and breastfeed. The latter pursuit did not translate so well virtually. “My husband would hold the laptop at an angle so the lactation consultant could show how to get the baby to latch,” Murthy said. That was the moment she decided it was all too much.

If Murthy had any doubt about the trajectory of her career pre-COVID-she wondered how a baby would change her feelings toward work-the pandemic has made her want to lean in more intensely, bucking the overall trend of women who have exited the workforce during COVID. “I feel more urgency now as an infectious disease doctor,” she said. “The pandemic has changed my life in a very empowering way.”

Raising a Toddler Alone

Before the pandemic, Christine, 33, already knew 2020 was going to be a tough year. Her husband, a member of the Navy, was deploying, and she had a two and a half-year-old son. She was staring down at a long stretch-10 months-of being a single parent to a very active toddler. “I thought deployment was going to be the worst part of 2020,” Christine, who asked to use only her first name, said. But it was a global pandemic, and the accompanying challenges and limitations made 2020 one of the hardest-and most illuminating-times of her life.

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