The headlines of history are written by wars and men, but the seismic shifts are often to be found in the small print. Official statistics quietly revealed this week that, for the first time, more babies are being born to women aged 35 and over than to women under 25.
The trend towards motherhood in middle age is not hard to explain. I did it myself. More women are being educated to a higher level, we want to establish ourselves in a career and have a home of our own before starting a family.
Good luck with the last one, girls. With a rabbit hutch in Neasden now costing ten times the average salary, we must brace ourselves for first-time mums in their mid-fifties paying an unemployed 20-year-old to act as surrogate to an egg and a sperm to which the “mother” has no biological relationship. No, I’m not joking. Where Hollywood leads, the rest follow.
“Economic and societal pressures force women to postpone motherhood for as long as they can. Then, when the time is finally “right”, a female frequently finds her body won’t co-operate”
I am all for women having as much choice as possible; the trouble is that choice doesn’t really come into it. Economic and societal pressures force women to postpone motherhood for as long as they can. Then, when the time is finally “right”, a female frequently finds her body won’t co-operate.
I cut it very fine, having my babies at 35 and 38 respectively, but I was among the lucky ones.
The only people who think this set-up is ideal are the booming IVF clinics.
So, there you are, in your mid-forties, desperately tired with two young children when, suddenly, you realise why Mother Nature designed the female body to pop out babies from the age of 16.
You have bags of energy and you don’t mind sitting up half the night doing the broken jigsaw of sleep in your head, and one piece is Always Missing. Too late!
Plus, just as your kids are entering their teens, your parents will be embarking on their second childhood, so you will get no time off in between for good behaviour or ever go on that Viking River Cruise.
And, by the time your children get around to having children of their own, you will be dead, thus grandparents will have been abolished from the face of the Earth, which is a bit of a loss, all things considered.
Could be time for a rethink, ladies?