Thanksgiving marks the celebration of harvest, festive abundance and a swelling of family. It’s a time for tradition and home coming but could it also be the the time to revisit talks about the birds and the bees? Knowing how to bring up topics about family planning with adult children in their 20’s and 30’s isn’t easy, but talking with them and not at them can help you avoid familial riffs caused by unintended parental pressures. Even if you are thinking about grandchildren now, your kids might not be prepared to answers questions about their future roles as potential parents. It’s up to you to continue to lovingly guide and nurture them as they build a plan for the next phase of their lives.
Know When to Talk to Your Daughter
Be sure to approach the subject when you and your daughter have a comfortable level of privacy. Just because your house is full of family and friends this holiday season, doesn’t mean that she will be comfortable with opening the topic to public opinion. Ease into the subject of fertility in the context of excitement around positive life goals and achievements like upcoming college graduation or new job opportunities. Never piggyback on comments about failures, shortcomings or disappointments in her romantic life or the enviable successes of siblings and friends. No one likes to feel criticized and compared.
Know What You Want to Say
Remember that being informed is not the same as being opinionated so before you start quoting harrowing facts and figures or wailing about your own mortality, talk to her calmly about your personal connections and concerns. This topic should include the role of genetics in determining fertility factors. Certain hurdles, like premature aging of the ovaries, or early menopause, can be inherited traits. While women who conceive later in life are more likely to produce children with impaired reproductive functions, even healthy young mothers can have daughters with lowered ovarian reserves. Getting screened for specific genetic coding that indicates a reduction in her reproductive timeline can be as simple as submitting blood samples. Talking about screening as a first step isn’t the same as talking about blame or aging, it’s about being smart in a modern world where you can take control by investing in options for the future.
Now matter how old your children grow, you will always be their foundation. Even if they don’t need your helping getting dressed anymore, they can still find comfort in your contributions to their independence. Pregnancy can be a dauntingly expensive undertaking, especially if it includes the decision to freeze eggs while she’s younger to increase her odds when she’s more ready to start a family later on. If you are in a situation that allows you to assist with all or part of this cost, offering the gift of opportunity can seriously impact your daughter’s choice to manage long term plans that can incorporate career and family development, without needing to panic about finding “Mr Right”, right away. Be clear that moral support comes free and clear, regardless of financial involvement, and encourage her to evaluate the full scope of her options before making decisions. Don’t feel like money is expected or necessary from you as the potential grandparent, sometimes just listening and letting them know how thankful you are to have them at the table is a big piece of the pie.