Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Little Diddy in HuffPost

I'm so grateful to be included in the Huffington Post article below.  Plus, it's a nice follow up to my documentary, Chill.
Ji Sub Jeong 

‘I Felt Liberated’: How Freezing Their Eggs Changed These Women’s Dating Lives For The Better
by Amanda Duberman

Jennifer Frappier froze her eggs when she was 36. A few years later, she was still single and thinking seriously about using them to become a single parent. She prepared to buy a house with an unused wedding fund and started browsing sperm donors. She figured she wouldn’t have time for dating as a single mom, so she joined Tinder just for fun.

“I thought, I’m going to go on basically my last few dates and get to know people and have fun,” she said. “Maybe if I date with no pressure or expectations, I won’t be so disappointed. It was very freeing.”

And then something completely unexpected happened: She met someone almost immediately.

Frappier’s experience isn’t unique. She’s one of several women who told HuffPost that freezing their eggs changed their dating lives for the better. One dated people who enriched her life but who she never would have considered had she not already secured her access to motherhood. Another felt a weight lift from her existing relationship that she hadn’t even realized was there. All of the women HuffPost spoke to reported feeling a new sense of boldness and levity in their dating lives after freezing their eggs, unburdened of the pressure to settle down and fast. Read on for their stories.

‘We Talked About It On The First Date’

Jenni and Ari married in 2018.  (Michael Segal)
Frappier, 41, documented her egg freezing journey in her 2016 documentary “Chill.” While dating around casually, she often wrestled with how to approach the topic with the men she was meeting.

“It’s not like you want to hide it, but you also don’t want to suggest you have baby fever,” she said. She also discovered a “fine line between educating someone about egg freezing and the date becoming a biology lesson.”

After a new relationship suddenly ended when a guy read about Frappier’s documentary online, she resolved to be open with new partners from the start. So it went with her now-husband, Ari Schneider.

“We talked about it on the first date. He wasn’t taken aback by it. He told me he’d recently been thinking he wanted to be a parent but just wasn’t sure it was going to happen for him,” she said.

Frappier and Schneider married in March 2018. They’re expecting their first child, which they conceived naturally, next March. She said they didn’t just connect over a shared desire to become parents, but also because of their mutual willingness to be so vulnerable on a first date.

“We’re both pretty open and vulnerable. I think easier for women to talk about stuff like children, so I was actually surprised he shared that story,” she said. “That vulnerability is one of the top things I’m attracted to in him.”

‘I Felt Liberated From The Oppression Of The Ticking Time Bomb’

MeiMei Fox met her husband six months after freezing her eggs. They married six months after that. Now, they have 3-year-old twin boys. But before she froze her eggs, Fox says she was “single and desperate to have kids of my own,” which made for an unsuccessful and even more unfulfilling dating life.

“I was one of those ladies who asked guys on the first date if they wanted to have kids and if they didn’t seem certain, I ended it right away,” she told HuffPost. “That kind of pressure and intensity don’t play well in the dating world, nor was that approach healthy for me.”

Fox says she was “keenly aware” of how her desire to have children with a partner ― and soon ― was impacting her romantic life. But she was nonetheless “surprised at how dramatic and instantaneous the change was” after she’d frozen her eggs.

“The moment I froze my eggs, I felt liberated from the oppression of the ticking time bomb that is fertility,” she said.

“It was as though I reverted at once to a younger, freewheeling, happier version of myself. I relaxed. I could actually enjoy dating,” she added. “I ended up meeting lots of people ... and six months later, I connected with the love of my life.”

Fox lost all 18 of her frozen eggs when they were being shipped from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where her husband lived. The couple went through three rounds of in vitro fertilization before she became pregnant with their twins. But she still credits the steps she took to ensure she could have biological children with or without a partner with putting her in the mindset to meet the right person.

“Egg freezing isn’t a perfect technology and certainly no guarantee,” Fox said. “But I do still feel it was worthwhile for me for the psychological benefits I gained.”

‘I No Longer Cared About What Men Thought About Me’

In her attempts to date casually before freezing her eggs, Molly Hawkey suspected she’d “subconsciously pressured men about fatherhood” without even realizing it.

 Actor and comedian Molly Hawkey froze her eggs at 37. Now 40, she’s begun the process of using the eggs to become a parent on her own. She documents the experience on her podcast “Spermcast,” where she interviews potential sperm donors and navigates the emotional terrain of choosing to become a single parent.

Prior to freezing her eggs, Hawkey said she’d “been on the hunt for a package deal” and found herself looking for qualities she wanted in the father of her future children during every first date.

“I had no interest in wasting time with a mediocre fella. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out too well,” she said. “If we made it to the two-month mark and weren’t madly in love yet? I’d kick ’em to the curb.”

But after she’d frozen her eggs, something “magically unexpected happened.” The pressure to find a suitable co-parent lifted away, and Hawkey found herself embracing a surprisingly carefree approach to casual dating.

“I was able to chill out, have fun and be my authentic self for the first time in my life,” she said. “I no longer cared what men thought about me, and it was liberating.”

She felt “magnetic,” more present and more open to possibility in her dating life in general. In her attempts to date casually before freezing her eggs, she suspected she’d “subconsciously pressured men about fatherhood” without even realizing it.

“After, I could get to know a guy for who he really was without wondering what kind of dad he would be or if our kids would be cute,” she said. “I even grew to deeply care about someone I never would have stuck with had I not frozen my eggs. Things didn’t end up working out for us, but the experience I had with him was worth it.”

‘I’m Cutting Through The Weeds, And I’m Not Scared To Say What I Want’

Valerie Landis has no intention of using her frozen eggs without a partner. She first froze them when she was 33 after ending a four-year relationship. Armed with the assurance that she no longer had to rush to settle in order to have a family. She experienced a new wave of confidence in her dating life.

“You have this aura or something you’re giving off,” she told HuffPost. “Or you’re just more desirable because you’re on this high. I met somebody and it was a whirlwind fairy tale.”

Landis specifically froze her eggs to buy her time to find a partner, not as an insurance policy in case she doesn’t. Back in the dating scene, she is upfront about her desire for marriage and family when going on dates, which she says intimidates the men she meets.

“Freezing my eggs has made me not afraid to ask the really tough questions. I’m cutting through the weeds, and I’m not scared to say what I want,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pivot to someone else after those conversations.”

Landis documents her egg freezing journey online, and many of her dates are acquainted with her eagerness to be a mother before they even meet her.

“I’ve gone on dates and in the first five minutes they’re like, are you a raging feminist? You have all this egg freezing stuff online,” she said.

Increasingly discouraged by the modern dating environment, Landis anticipates her singlehood will outlast her fertility ― she decided to freeze her eggs again in 2017. She points to the nature of modern courtship ― specifically how long it can take for a relationship to move from one step to another ― as the strongest evidence she will likely need to use them.

“I want to do it with a partner, I don’t want to do this alone,” she said. “My poor grandma, she’s always like, ‘Why are you such a spinster? Why don’t you find a nice guy and settle down?’ Oh, Grandma, if you only knew. I wish I could.”

‘I Feel Like I’m In My 20s Again’ 

Dr. Lisa Ashe, 38, froze her eggs two years ago. A busy doctor with her own practice in Washington, D.C., she wanted to buy some time so she could get through her lengthy bucket list before having children. She wasn’t seeing anyone at the time, and began to consider the possibility that she might not find a partner when she eventually was ready to become a mother.

“I froze my eggs because I want to have a child, and my desire to be a mother has outweighed my desire to be a wife,” she told HuffPost.

Since freezing her eggs, she said that overall she feels “more positive and less pressured” about dating. That relief has allowed her to enjoy her dating life without expectations.

“I kind of feel like I’m in my 20s again. I’m like, if it works out, it works out ― if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” she said. “There’s less pressure, so when I do go out with someone, it’s just a relaxed time.”

Her mother’s death last year illuminated just how much she wanted to accomplish before she commits herself to anyone for a lifetime, whether it be a child or a partner.

“I feel like I don’t have to settle or just pick someone now. I can actually travel the world before worrying about pairing up with someone,” she said. “It takes that anxiousness away.”

‘The Pressure Is Off’ 

Angella Nguyen, 38, froze her eggs in February when she finally had the time to devote to the process. A startup founder between jobs, she knew how rigorous her workload could become. She was already in a serious relationship and was less concerned about finding a partner to parent with than with giving herself the option to delay motherhood while she pursues her career goals.

“I wasn’t tapping my foot like, ‘When are you going to impregnate me?’ It was more that neither of us are at that point in our lives careerwise or personally,” she said. “I didn’t make the decision because of him, but he was definitely a supportive factor for me.”

Nguyen didn’t freeze her eggs to give her more time to find the right person, but she said doing so has improved her relationship in ways she didn’t expect.

“To be perfectly honest, the pressure is off,” she said. “My passive-aggressiveness even in my relationship has lessened. It would always be this question, ‘When, when, when?’ And I don’t have it so much anymore.”

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