Tick, tick, tick. If you, like me, are a woman in her childbearing years, you may recognize that sound as your biological clock.

The noise isn’t so bad in your mid-to-late 20s, a faint hum, maybe. But once you turn 30, the volume gradually turns up, and if you’re anywhere around the age of 35, the ticking has likely turned into a booming echo that drowns out a lot of other stuff.

It’s a still-common belief for many women that they need to have their reproductive life figured out before the big 3-5, out of fear that their ability to get pregnant and stay pregnant will take a massive hit and only get grimmer from there. And that age has been referred to as the “fertility cliff,” by medical experts, articles, you name it. Anyone who is 35-plus is considered to be of “advanced maternal age” and experiences a “geriatric pregnancy” in (quite harsh) medical terms. Women structure their lives around that dreaded number…which is not old at all in the grand scheme of things!

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