The great debate

I have much admiration for the Allsopp. She can pull off a bit of casual chinz with impractical heels, she has a lovely house with blue windows, her cousin is Cath Kidston so invariably she gets a discount, and, well, she works with Phil Spencer.

But yesterday this interview with Ms A was published, and my fan-ship felt rather in turmoil.

I have long resisted a temptation to enter into the great debate on parenthood – i.e. when it should be entered into and under what circumstances, but for what it is worth, here’s my ten pence worth.

It is proven that fertility does start to pack its bags after a lady’s 35th birthday. I believe this is because the price of Oil of Olay begins to render the expenses associated with child raising untenable. I do however also believe that it is impossible to put an age bracket on when its considered ‘the right time’ to produce offspring.

I had my daughter at age 31. This was due to a number of another including finding the right person to have her with, being in a place both physically and financially that we felt we could give her the best start in life, and because sometimes shit happens. Eight months before I became pregnant with Kate, I had a miscarriage and emergency surgery. Not caused by age, just misfortune.

Regardless of all of the above, I would not have wished to have had my daughter any sooner. Indeed, I felt that to be the best sort of Mum I wanted to be, I needed to grow up first. So I spent my formative years getting things wrong, and getting things right. I was in relationships that didn’t work out for one reason or another, but I learnt from them. I got myself an education, a career, I traveled quite a bit. I saw, I thought, I tested myself, I listened and I formed opinions. I did all the things you are meant to do when you are young and silly, and it doesn’t matter.

Because now it does.

If I had been a Mum in my twenties I could not have afforded to stay at home and raise our daughter as I had wanted. I wouldn’t have had the emotional maturity to deal with the relentless responsibility you face as the parent of a small child, and I certainly wouldn’t have had the life experience to answer the questions no doubt my daughter will have for me in later life.

So I feel very lucky really that everything came together at the right time for me, and I was able to have a baby without the need for medical intervention. But this also goes for ladies both older and younger than me. And there are women of all ages too who do require help for one reason or another to have their children. It’s a bit of a lottery as to whether our bodies are up to the job, and yes we can maybe increase our chances in when we buy a ticket, but that doesn’t always guarantee a win. And don’t I know.

To conclude finally (and apologies for the metaphorical stream in this post) I think that whereas our baby bearing potential is set against a clock, I don’t think it is ever practical to set an alarm. In my opinion, children deserve us at our best, and not just be at our convenience.

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