Professor Elizabeth Suter
Interview and Transcription
I interviewed the third interviewee through online channels; she is a parent who lets her daughter track the female biological clock. She also followed the female biological clock when she was young. The data from the interview will help view life from other people’s description and their way of thinking and how to encourage the observance of the female “biological” clock to balance between being a mother and having a career.
Interviewer: Hello, Interviewee 3. (laughs) How are you?
Interviewee 3: I’m good. (laughs) What about you? How was your study in the US? (laughs)
Interviewer: (erm) I’m good. It is midterm period, so busy. (coughs)
Interviewee 3: When are you planning to go back home? (laughs)
Interviewer: Actually, I don’t know. (erm) Maybe summer. (laughs)
Interviewee 3: Sounds great. (laughs)
Interviewer: Ok. Let’s get back on the right track. (pause) (laughs) The interview topic is the female biological clock. Please feel relaxed; if you feel uncomfortable with any questions, feel free to stop me anytime. (coughs)
Interviewee 3: I will. (laughs)
Interviewer: Could we start now? (laughs)
Interviewee 3: Sure. (laughs) Please go ahead.
Interviewer: The first question is: How has following the female biological clock impacted your life? (coughs)
Interviewee 3: (pause) I always encourage my daughter to follow the biological clock because it helps improve our health; we need to learn about and appreciate the processes by which our body operates. (laughs) (erm) While most women nowadays are delaying parenting for professional reasons, and some are afraid they lack the emotional maturity to start a family, this decision often has adverse consequences later in their lives. (coughs)
Interviewer: Got it. Could you share more thoughts on this question? (laughs)
Interviewee 3: Of course. (laughs) By keeping tabs on my biological clock, I could schedule my life so that my personal and professional goals would not clash with the window of opportunity for having my children as set by the biological clock. (erm)(pause) I am aware, too, that a woman’s fertility might start to diminish well before she is ready to start a family and that by the time she is prepared on all fronts. It can be profoundly discouraging and even depressing to find that she is past the best biological time to start a family. (pause) Thus, I am relieved that I can keep track of my biological clock and use that information to make wise decisions about my life and sidestep the health and emotional dangers of giving birth later in life. (coughs)
Interviewer: Great. (laughs) The next question is when someone describes the following biological clock as “primitive,” how does that make you feel?
Interviewee 3: (pause) I do not feel bad because I know many people do not understand this precisely. (laughs) I usually take my time to converse with them on the significance of following a biological clock and the risks of not adhering to it. (erm) Most believe that getting pregnant earlier in life is primitive and associated with lower income, (erm) lower educational levels, and economic difficulties. These individuals do not consider that education and finances can be achieved even after childbirth and enjoy life. (coughs) I always try to educate them that being a mother at a relatively young age is not an archaic practice; instead, it is more advantageous to the child’s health.
Interviewer: Thank you. (pause) Tell me about the understanding of a woman’s biological clock program and how it has impacted your life in the journey of your motherhood.
Interviewee 3: The key to success is thinking critically and acting on that thinking. (pause) (erm) Starting a family might go more smoothly if you know your reproductive physiology and plan appropriately. (erm) Women’s fertility fluctuates throughout their lifetimes. The “biological clock” program stresses the difficulty of conceiving later in life (the late thirties) due to the natural reduction in egg and sperm count and quality with age. (coughs) It also represents the emotional stress one may experience if they have not started a family by a specific period. (erm) This program encouraged me to plan my reproductive time well to avoid the challenges of delayed childbirth. (erm) Adherence to the program has also helped me strike a healthy balance between my professional and personal life, with fewer conflicts on either front. (laughs)
Interviewer: I understand it. (erm) So, when did you embrace the idea of following the female biological clock? (coughs)
Interviewee 3: (pause) (erm) One of my sisters had a tough time getting a child when she married at 36. (erm) It got me thinking about the importance of the biological clock. (pause) I weighed the challenges she had gone through, which included expensive fertility treatments, anxiety, depression, and possible divorce. (coughs) I did not want to go through the same difficulties and therefore decided to try my luck by embracing the biological clock. By then, I was in my early twenties. (erm) Since then, I can testify that the biological clock is excellent since it has helped me avoid those challenges, ensuring my health, both physically and mentally.
Interviewer: Excellent. (laughs) (pause) What would happen if, during your fertile years, you got engaged in many activities to enhance your career life? (erm) How would you do? (erm) Would you sacrifice your career to get children first?
Interviewee 3: (pause) This is a tricky question. (laughs)
Interviewer: (laughs) Take your time to think about it.
Interviewee 3: (erm) (coughs) I would first sacrifice my career and get back later. (pause) Though most women currently prefer to pursue their careers till early in life, this decision has negatively affected most of them as they face challenges trying to conceive in old age. (erm) The significant difficulties adversely affect their physical and mental health and finances, leaving some depressed. (erm) Delaying childbearing is a risky endeavor that necessitates careful consideration of potential adverse outcomes for fertility, the pregnancy itself, maternal and infant health, and women’s capacity to care for children and be “good” mothers. (pause) Some risks of defying the biological clock are premature births, miscarriages, infertility, and prolonged labor. The health of babies born in old age may also be at risk due to conditions such as Down syndrome due to declined reproductive potential. (coughs) Hence, it will mean I risk my baby’s life over a career. I would therefore forego my job and make the conscious decision to start a family while my reproductive potential is at its highest. (laughs)
Interviewer: Understood. (coughs) Is there a point when your decision to follow the biological clock to have a child early was misunderstood by your peers?
Interviewee 3: (laughs) People will always be adamant when they do not understand something. (erm) Most of my peers always thought and told me that starting a family early was a wrong choice with adverse repercussions on my future life, significantly since I had not yet stabilized my career and finances. (pause) They believed that a woman was supposed to build their career first and stabilize economically before deciding to have children. (laughs) However, I always took time to explain to them the importance of following the biological clock and that fertility declines over time while a career does not. (coughs)
Interviewer: Let’s have a 10-minute break! (laughs)
Interviewee 3: Ok. Thanks (laughs)
(Pause for 10 minutes)
Interviewer: Welcome back. (laughs) The next question is, how do you hope others will understand the importance of using the female biological clock? (coughs)
Interviewee 3: (erm) Parents should educate their children about the significance of this method. (pause) As a woman ages, her reproductive hormones decline, and her eggs become less viable, making it difficult to conceive. (pause) In addition, people should be aware of the possibility of developing diseases that make pregnancy more challenging as they age. (erm) Doing this will encourage people to embrace the biological clock, minimizing the risks of delayed childbirth.
Interviewer: (pause) Do you ever regret following the biological clock? (erm) Why?
Interviewee 3: I think it is the best for my daughter. (laughs) She is always happy with this decision. (laughs) I am also glad I followed it, as it has been excellent in helping me plan my reproductive time well. My daughter and I have had no pregnancy-related issues. Hence, we have no single regret for following the biological clock. (laughs)
Interviewer: Excellent. How do you feel about following a biological clock to give birth? (erm) Why did you choose to let your daughter follow it? (coughs)
Interviewee 3: (laughs) I allowed my daughter to follow this so that she can produce during her fertile period. I also encouraged her to embrace it since I knew the benefits that come with embracing it and the challenges of not adhering to it. (coughs) Keeping track of the biological clock helped me avoid these challenges, and I feel doing so will also benefit my daughter. (pause) I think following the biological clock is excellent for all women since it helps avoid childbirth-related risks. (laughs)
Interviewer: In conclusion, how do you advise other parents with daughters who have entered fertility? (coughs) Will you encourage them to let their daughters follow it to avoid delayed production?
Interviewee 3: (pause) The age of peak fertility varies from person to person, just as the age at which women begin and end menstruation. Therefore, parents should advise their children to produce when they are productive. (laughs) Parents should also encourage their children to follow the biological clock to minimize the anxiety caused by childbirth delays and risks.
Interviewer: (erm) Do you want to say something else? (laughs)
Interviewee 3: (laughs) No. (erm) I think I have finished all the things I want to say. (laughs)
Interviewer: Thank you so much for doing the interview; it was helpful for my research topic. (laughs) I hope you have a good day. (laughs)
Interviewee 3: Thank you, Interviewer. Remember to tell me when you come back to China. (laughs)
Interviewer: I will. (laughs)
I think my third interview was relatively successful. After the first two interviews, the third interview became relatively relaxed. The first two interviews were very tense and stiff. I only read the sentences I prepared. In the third interview, I was already very familiar with the interview questions, so the whole atmosphere was very harmonious.
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