Bore off Natasha Kaplinsky and Kate Garraway with your baby smugness - it isn't so easy for some
Another day, another celebrity is banging the drum for having babies before their late thirties.
Natasha Kaplinsky, 42, says she wishes she’d had her children – six-year-old son, Arlo, and daughter Angelica, four – earlier in life.
‘I met my husband [private equity boss Justin Bower] later on in life,’ Natasha says. ‘I feel very fortunate with my two, but I feel I would be pushing my luck if I tried again. I didn’t know what it would feel like to have children and it’s only since then that I wished I had started sooner.’
And Kimberley Walsh reckons it’s too late to have a big family at the grand old age of 32.
‘I would like a big family but I am realistic and I’m aware at 32 I have left it a little late,’ she said earlier this year. ‘So I’m realistic about how many I can have, but I would like to have more than one.’
Let’s not forget Kate Garraway – mum to Darcey, eight, and Billy, four – who backed a campaign encouraging women to think about having children at a younger age.
‘I had my second child at 42 and never questioned at the time that it might be too old,’ Kate, 47, said. ‘But I do look back now and realise that leaving pregnancy late can be a risky bet as diminishing fertility can stack the odds against you.
‘I want to alert women to start thinking about their fertility at a younger age than our generation did. They should get prepared and make informed choices early so there is no chance of sleepwalking into infertility.’
This makes no sense to me. My peers in their mid to late 30s are all aware that women’s fertility declines after the age of 35. That there’s only a 30 per cent chance of falling pregnant any month.
We know women – and men – are most fertile in their 20s.
According to the NHS, women in the UK delay motherhood longer than any other country in the world. The number of women having babies in their 40s has risen by more than 15 per cent in the last five years.
Whether you’re single, in a relationship or married there’s so much pressure on women to start a family ‘at the right time’.
‘Don’t leave it too late,’ has got to be one of the most frustrating statements to ever make to a woman.
Taking into account financial issues, fertility and marital status, quite frankly a woman’s family planning is her own damn business!
But I’d love to read some articles on why men are failing to impregnant their girlfriends or wives. Or why men are single and failing to produce any offspring.
Because this whole conversation seems to have a huge gapping man-size hole in it. Apparently it’s all the women’s fault. Nothing to do with men. You know, the people with sperm who get women pregnant.
Admittedly, many women I know who are approaching their 40s are in silent panic when it comes to their fertility. But unsurprisingly, we do not want to talk about our ovaries or read celebrities telling us when we should get a bun in the oven.
Are you in a relationship but not a mum?
A 36-year-old friend’s doctor basically asked her why her boyfriend wasn’t getting her pregnant and told her to get up the duff when all she wanted was contraception. Apparently, it didn’t matter if their relationship wasn’t for life because at least she’d have a child out of it. An actual doctor said this.
Are you single but want to settle down and have kids?
Some of us are not choosing to be single. We just haven’t met the right guy. You know, the one you’d want to spend the rest of your life with and father your children. Because – call me crazy – but I think it’s OK to be fussy about those kind of things. And meeting the right guy isn’t always that easy, believe me.
But those pitying looks (thanks), offers of sperm clinics (yes, that’s happened to me), questions about freezing eggs (yep, that conversation happened too) and nagging to sign up for online dating sites packed with men who never want to meet you (er, yeah, thanks)… please stop. It’s actually upsetting.
Are you married with one kid?
But when are you planning to have another? Because apparently once you’re married, your womb becomes the talk of the parish with everyone waiting for news on the noticeboard.
Don’t want a baby?
No doubt someone will patronise you by saying you’ll change your mind. Nope. Some people don’t actually don’t want to have a baby. Shocking, I know. Happy women like Helen Mirren and Cameron Diaz.
Having met Kate Garraway lots of times over the years, I know her views come from a good place. She’s a great mum and obviously wants other women to experience motherhood.
But it’s time for everyone – celebrities, doctors, friends – to stop putting pressure on women of any age to have children when their circumstances may not allow. Once informed about fertility and contraception, then it’s no one else’s business frankly.
And maybe have a word with the men. Because from what I’ve heard, they’ve got something to do with this whole making babies thing too…