We published the man’s-eye view, now over to the women: the debate sparked by the controversial Keep Britain Fertile campaign continues…
I knew my fertility was in decline but we decided to wait
I don’t believe most women do think seriously about their fertility until they realise it is in jeopardy. Who thinks about getting old? Everyone I know still thinks they’re 18 inside.
I definitely put off having children as a conscious choice. And I was with my long-term partner now husband for 14 years before we had them. Of course I knew my fertility was in decline but we decided to wait. Why? 1) we weren’t sure we were ready to give up our lifestyle 2) we weren’t 100% sure we wanted kids 3) my career was important and I wanted to reach a certain status before having them 4) we just couldn’t afford to bring them up the way we wanted.
Everyone is different but I believe this was a responsible choice. It was most definitely a positive choice rather than something that happened to me beyond my control.
I did find it hard to get pregnant the first time (but only after I started trying) and I lost two babies between first and second. But I don’t regret the choice. I am a far better mother now than I would have been in my 20s because I know myself, I have enough money to live comfortably and I value my children’s existence because it wasn’t easily brought about. Vicki
I was a mum at 19, 28 and 38
At 18 I was not maternal at all and had not planned to have a child any time soon, yet at 19 years and one month I had my first baby girl. I wore horrendous maternity dresses to make myself look older and felt very self-conscious. I was clueless and inept to begin with but we had tremendous help from two sets of grandparents. We later got married and had another little girl nine years on when I was a bit more prepared. I worked nearby in a nursery so I could take baby to work with me and was always the one responsible for school runs, sick days, doctors appointments etc so “a career” didn’t play a part in any decisions to have kids. I thought that was it on the family front, but aged 35 I found myself single. Then I started a new relationship with a man who didn’t have kids. We spoke (non-commitedly) about having a baby, then I had an appendix op (which at the time doctors thought it could be cysts or worse) which did make me think about my fertility and then I lost my lovely mum. I realised life is short and to stop pontificating. We then had our lovely little girl.
It’s only just dawning on me though as I plan to go back to work when my daughter starts school in September that I won’t have my mum as my emergency call when I need her at the drop of a hat.
As usual I’m multi-tasking (writing this whilst cooking dinner and playing super-heroes) but I’m certainly better at it than I was at 19. Lizzie
It was a good age to end up a single parent
I had my son at 25, which I think is the perfect time. It was fortuitous because I would never have found the “right” time – there is no right time.
There were downsides, which seem ridiculous from my vantage point now, fifteen years on. 25 was young for my demographic (although obviously not young generally) and I did a good job of providing mental prophylaxis for my friends who all saw how tired I was and how little I could go out, and who pretty much all held off having kids until their early 30s.
Mid-late 20s seems young, but you’re mentally, physically and emotionally in a good place to weather the storm of babies and toddlerhood, ready to emerge in your 30s with time to do stuff like work.
It was definitely made harder by being in a very unstable relationship, and there were no more children. But it was, retrospectively at least, a good age to have one child and to end up a single parent. Marianne
Older mums put themselves under pressure to be perfect
I think I was a relatively young mum – 27 when I had my first daughter, 29 when I had my second. Advantages are: tons of energy, feels “natural” and relaxed (older mums always seem to put themselves under so much pressure to be perfect). But there are disadvantages too – for example, my career hadn’t really got to the point where I could go back in a well paid but part time role. Caroline
I should have just womanned up and got stuck in sooner
I am coming to the realisation that I could have and possibly should have started on things earlier… and while I obviously would not have my adorable amazing son if I’d not had him at precisely *this* time, I am kicking myself a bit for not having cracked on even 2-3 years sooner. I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy this, plus how much crap it would throw up that I could have got done and dusted at a sprightlier age. The main thing I have realised is that all the things I was fearful of about motherhood, while true and worth fearing, were to be outweighed by the brilliance of it and I should have just womanned up and and got stuck in sooner. Rachel Crookes, blogger at When the Baby Sleeps http://whenthebabysleeps.tumblr.com/
She enjoyed 11 years of married life before starting a family
My mum’s 83 and alive and awesome. She gave birth to me in the 1970s when she was 42, and my youngest brother at 47. She enjoyed 11 years of married life before starting a family. Probably kinda unusual back then. I’ve got three awesome, healthy siblings and amazingly supportive parents. Becca