I was perturbed by the headlines last week which proclaimed that thirty-something is the new age of motherhood with a predominantly negative viewpoint. A fertility expert in Friday’s London Metro branded women in their thirties having more babies than any other age group as “depressing”. This trend apparently correlates to the trend for women to put career, education and financial stability before having children, risking “heartbreak”.
To state that thirty-something is a bad thing is to imply that we should all be having our first child in our twenties, but last time I checked, for many people, the relationships that they have in their twenties (or in any other age group for that matter) don’t work. If this was even thirty, forty years ago, you’d hook up with your childhood sweetheart in your teens and have four kids by the time you were thirty. Times are very different now which means that we often need to go through the dating mill plus a series of relationships before we even get to the point of having the option to have children.
Even when we do have kids, look around you and there isn’t a majority doing the together forever, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health route.
There are millions of people using dating websites and dating events in an attempt to meet people. We are trying! People are jumping back in the saddle when things don’t work out and having a go at dating and relationships. For some of these it’s just for fun but according to the dating websites, most are searching for something serious and are prepared to try all options necessary.
Some women do choose to put career etc first but for many it is not a choice to be childless, it’s a result of circumstance. Last time I checked, it’s a cold, cruel world out there and in order to bring a child into the world, it costs a hell of a lot more and is often difficult to do if only one parent is bringing home the bacon and providing the support. In England we have to focus on career because if we don’t work, we’ll never be able to buy a home as prices are so expensive and when we’re in our twenties in the UK it’s extremely difficult to get on the ladder. Put aside the material side, bringing a child into the world is a lifelong commitment and it’s something that most people put a lot of thought into before making the decision. A lot of people aspire to the ideal of having two parents to raise the child, otherwise surely there would be a lot more people doing the turkey baster, planned ‘accident’ or arrangement with a mate route? Even when we do choose the route of single parent, we still want to have a father to our child that we ideally like and respect. Some of us will choose to be single parents and others become single parents as a result of circumstance and have to rise to the occasion to do everything in their power to bring up their child in as loving and stable environment as possible.
“Heartbreak” comes in various guises and instead of scare mongering, instilling guilt and reinforcing dubious perceptions, they should get off their high horse.
“Heartbreak” comes in various guises and instead of scare mongering, instilling guilt and reinforcing dubious perceptions, they should get off their high horse. It’s easy to make us feel guilty about fertility issues when you profit from reactions to fear and the consequences of fertility problems. No one doubts that fertility problems can be more prevalent with age but does this mean that putting out articles urging the “Sex and the City generation” to avoid “heartbreak” and have kids earlier is the way to go? The media’s carrying on as if it’s a fairytale world out there and we’re just choosing not to partake because we’re hung up on career, money and education. They just don’t have a clue. Excuse me while I go and find my turkey baster….and squirt turkey fat all over the newspaper article.