The Essential Attribute

I recently met with a couple who had some troubling experiences with their past fertility doctors. She was 46 and he was 48. Her reproductive organs were clear, her hormones were within normal limits and he had an adequate sperm count with average motility and morphology. Yet, because of age, the feeling of frantic desperation was closing in on them. While I was evaluating the wife, the husband asked me a very interesting question: “In your experience, what is the crucial factor is in women who are successful in conceiving over 45? Is it hormonal, physical, emotional, mental?” I had to think for a moment, as I hadn’t ever been asked this question before. I paused, looked back on the “miracles” who conceived in later reproductive life, and it was clear what that essential attribute was. Strange as it sounded, I responded, “It is without a doubt this: the courage to follow the wisdom of one’s heart.”

Certainly, as a woman ages, there are changes to her reproductive system. At age 25, a woman as 80% more blood flow going to the reproductive organs than a 45 year old woman. Her hormones are more stable. Her uterus is more receptive. She responds better to hormones. Negative life conditioning hasn’t had a chance to take hold. It isn’t as if we need to recondition all these negative life responses, either. We don’t have time for that.

The Chinese philosophy of reproductive aging could be boiled down to this: At age 25, one is governed primarily by the physical world. At age 45, one must follow a different directive: the wisdom of the heart, known as xin. Heart wisdom is that deep inner sense of knowing we each have when our lives are in alignment. It is a felt sense of power and rightness that is more difficult to tap into when we are governed by the physical world of the senses.

One woman was 48 when she came into the power of the courage of her own heart wisdom. She sat across from her doctor as he sat behind his desk, patronizing her with comments such as, “Don’t you realize how old you are?” and “Furthermore, you aren’t even married.” Having had enough of believing other people’s comments of what she was capable of, she stood up with nothing other than the courage of her own heart to guide her, Thoughts arose such as, what if this was the last doctor who would treat someone of her age and reproductive status? It didn’t matter anymore. The only thing that mattered was that she finally stand up for herself. She said, “Who are you to tell me what I am capable of?” and she walked out of his office, determined never again to let anyone rob her of her potential. She found her husband later the same year. They conceived naturally. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

It is rare to find someone who is finally ready to take charge of their own life to such an extent that they encounter a level of courage that demands fidelity of a higher order to ones own heart. But when it comes, it is a formidable force. I have never seen it fail.