By: Ali Rosen
"When I was pregnant with my son, I didn’t announce anything. I let photos of my growing bump speak for themselves. With twins on the way now, I’ve given a lot of thought to how to share the news because this pregnancy is completely different. Even people who have seen me in person would never even know, because my children will be born through a surrogate.More and more, children are born through assisted reproductive technology. But where in vitro fertilization has become more commonplace, there remains an air of mystery, suspicion and misunderstanding around surrogacy. I certainly didn’t understand it until it became my only biological option to have more children.
My decision started with a medical mystery that yielded a diagnosis seemingly more fitting for a sci-fi novel. After numerous miscarriages and multiple failed rounds of IVF, I learned I am a genetic carrier of HY-restricting HLA class II alleles, which means that my son’s Y chromosome lingers and attacks all subsequent pregnancies. In essence, if you have this small genetic component and you have a boy, your odds of successfully carrying another child are slim to none. My husband and I could create an embryo, but my body could not carry it. So I started down the rabbit hole of surrogacy."
Women's Mental Health At Key Stages In Life
Photo: Katherine Streeter for NPR
Menopause Can Start Younger Than You Think: Here's What You Need To Know
By Emily Vaughn & Rhitu Chatterjee
"Would you recognize the signs that your body is going through the big hormonal changes that lead to menopause? Here's what to look for-and what you can do about it."
"Sarah Edrie says she was about 33 when she started to occasionally get a sudden, hot, prickly feeling that radiated into her neck and face, leaving her flushed and breathless. "Sometimes I would sweat. And my heart would race," she says. The sensations subsided in a few moments and seemed to meet the criteria for a panic attack. But Edrie, who has no personal or family history of anxiety, was baffled.
She told her doctor and her gynecologist about the episodes, along with a few other health concerns she was starting to notice: Her menstrual cycle was becoming irregular, she had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and she was getting night sweats. Their response: a shrug.
It wasn't until Edrie went to a fertility clinic at age 39 because she and her partner were having trouble conceiving that she got answers. "They were like, 'Oh, those are hot flashes. It's because you're in perimenopause,' " she says.
If you haven't heard the term "perimenopause," you're not alone. Often when women talk about going through menopause, what they're really talking about is perimenopause, a transitional stage during which the body is preparing to stop ovulating, says Dr. Jennifer Payne, who directs the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins University."
HOW PUBERTY, PREGNANCY AND PERIMENOPAUSE AFFECT MENTAL HEALTH
Listen to the four podcasts below:
"January 14, 2020 • NPR's Morning Edition explores the key reproductive shifts in women's lives — puberty, pregnancy and perimenopause — and how the changes during those times could impact mental and emotional health."
"January 16, 2020 • Women with a history of depression and anxiety are at a higher risk of having a flare-up during the time leading up to menopause. And getting doctors to take the issue seriously can be challenging."
"January 15, 2020 • Nearly 1 in 7 women suffers from depression during pregnancy or postpartum. But very few get treatment. Doctors in Massachusetts have a new way to get them help."
"January 17, 2020 • NPR's Rachel Martin talks to menopause expert Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, division director of the Midlife Health Center at the University of Virginia, who answers listeners' questions."
Photo: via Sarah DiGregorio
"My daughter’s health needs changed the way I think about food, control and pleasure."
By Sarah DiGregorio
"If eating is about pleasure, at least for me, cooking is about control. Knowing how to make onions sizzle gently in oil and start to go limp, then transparent, then light brown, then sweet and dark. It’s a transformation that’s entirely predictable, a product of muscle and sense memory. If I pay attention in the kitchen, if I am careful, nothing goes wrong.
When I was pregnant, I worked at Food & Wine magazine. Editing recipes, the biggest part of my job at the time, is a meticulous and satisfying exercise in imagining all the mistakes that could be made in a kitchen and then trying to prevent them.
It was 90 degrees out as my stomach started to swell, but in the office we were cooking and tasting crunchy escarole salads, potato gratin, roasts and gravy, butter cookies and layer cakes. Summer at a monthly cooking magazine is about Thanksgiving, and then the holidays.
I liked to think of my daughter growing plump and happy and smart on everything I ate. Though I’d cut out alcohol, raw fish and cured meats, I ate everything else the test kitchen produced, imagining that this was the embryonic beginning of giving her a healthy, pleasurable relationship with food and her body. “Eating for two” is an irritating phrase, but I saw it as the first benefit of being alive that I could share with her.
Despite my well-laid plans, it turned out the placenta was failing.
My daughter was not, actually, living the fetal high life. My body was keeping all that good food for itself — the snow-white slice of coconut layer cake, the bitter sautéed winter greens. First she fell off her growth curve and then, a fetus slowly starving, her body ground to a halt. She was not safe inside me, so the doctors took her out nearly 12 weeks early, an emaciated, shivery bundle, a 1-pound 13-ounce creature of skin and bones."
By Angela Ceberano
"What if there was a way to systematically fight every single fear you have?
Angela has worked in public relations for over a decade, gaining invaluable experience and contacts throughout the industry. In the last ten years, Angela has represented some of the biggest international celebrities and brands. At 28 she saw an opportunity to create a new-school PR agency that was obsessed and addicted to results. Angela began Australian based Flourish PR in February 2010 and the business has grown from a home office into a busy dynamic agency. Angela runs a dedicated team of publicists and creatives who are new school thinkers in the world of PR."
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx