Jenny Coyle goes through all the possible options for when you should have your kids…
There’s been a lot of fuss about when the optimum age to reproduce might be. Luckily, I’m here to help. That’s because I’m an expert in these things, or at least have vague opinions about them, and surely that qualifies me to wag my finger at half the population and lecture them on reproduction.
So ladies, the choice is either get educated, get a job, and ideally a nice partner and house by the age of 25 at the latest, or do things in your own sweet time and cross your fingers you’re not shrivelled up, eggwise, by the time you hit your 30s. Or roll the dice, settle down in a glorious mansion after enjoying 20 years of career success, get a bit of discreet Botox and pray you can squeeze out a little miracle in your 40s. See? It’s a simple 3-way choice, without the possibility of deviation. What could possibly go wrong?
What about Himself? (Or Herself, with the turkey baster in hand). Ah now. Sure there’s no doubt that men are barely more than boys until they’re in their late 20s at least. Would you really want to be taking that on, let alone expecting him to do a share of the childcare? It’s obvious that it takes the male of the species a good decade longer to make the shift from living with the mammy to renting a single room in an apartment block somewhere off the Naas road. More power to him! Don’t crowd him girl. Tick tock? Away with your tick tock, can’t a man watch the telly in his jocks in peace without you coming in with the latest from Mucus Watch?
What’s that, you might not be interested in having them at all? Well, let me tell you, you’ll regret it. Yes you will. That’s a fact. Oho, certain is it? I hope certain will keep you company when you’re in your dotage. Cruises and cocktails and toyboys and a whole lovely wodge of money all for your own? That’s selfish, is all. Would you not sponsor a little African child at least? A village. Mother to a village, wouldn’t that look lovely on your headstone?
Stop, you’ve heard it all before? Of course you have. In between the diet advice and ‘news’ that having the same waist size as a 6-year old girl is a desirable state of affairs, there’s a non-stop deluge of advice about the ‘right’ age to have children. Could it be that all this hot air is simply masking a couple of obvious truths: there’s never going to be a perfect alignment of the career/partner/money planets that spell out the optimum time to reproduce?
Secondly, duh. How many 35-plus women are really tra-la-laing about their diminishing chances of mammydom as they add ‘Have a Baby’ to their To Do list? Harder to get pregnant as you get older? That’s news to no-one.
So what’s my advice? I don’t have any. You know the score. Have a baby, don’t have a baby, hang around and take your chances, or celebrate your 21st with your firstborn in your arms. But seeing as how you’re not a baby yourself anymore, just don’t let anyone else tell you what’s right for you.
Jenny Coyle @missmitford