Another day and another piece of research about women and fertility. Our biological clocks are ticking like time bombs about to explode. If we aren't going to 'settle down' at a sensible age and procreate we really should be organised and freeze some eggs for later. But that implies we all embark on life with a grand plan. I was 37 when I had my first baby and 39 when I had my second. I didn't intend to start my family 'later in life', it's just the way it happened. Luckily I conceived easily and had two very uneventful pregnancies. I was even allowed home births for both even though I was an 'older' mother.
I have friends who have had babies easily and happily well into their 40s, but I also know others who are not so fortunate. And I've got friends who were unable to conceive naturally in their 20s and 30s. So what does that tell me? Quite simply, starting a family isn't plain sailing whatever your age.
But I do accept the evidence that that it is more difficult, though not impossible, to get pregnant the older you are. So do we (women, obviously) need to be more organised on this matter? Neither I nor any of my friends who are older mothers or who are struggling to conceive, deliberately put off having children. We aren't all high flying managers who sacrificed family for career or girls who spent decades partying rather than settling down. Sometimes it's just life - you go to university, you perhaps take a little time out to travel, you get a job, then another and soon you have an actual real career ...well that's your twenties taken care of. It can take a while to find a partner and before you know it you're 35.
As I said, I didn't actively plan to delay motherhood. When I was a child, or maybe in my early teens, I remember thinking how great it is that I will be alive as we move from one century to another. I distinctly remember wondering if I would go out and celebrate this. My response to myself was 'well it will all depend on if you can get a babysitter'! So when I was younger I clearly thought I would have a family well before I hit 30.
For an organised and quite a focused person, I do let some things drift. I never focused on my career in terms of 'this is where I want to be and this is how I'm going to get there', it's just grown organically. Sometimes it amazes me that I'm now lucky to be working at quite a senior level doing something I enjoy (though where could I have been if I had been a little more organised?). It was the same with having a family. I now know that people who are successful have a plan - a goal which they worked towards - and I'll be advising my daughter to do this. Will I advise her to have a plan for a family - either to get started earlier or to freeze her eggs? I don't know. Sometimes life takes us in certain directions and too much planning and focus can mean you miss other opportunities. But I wouldn't want her to miss the joy of being a mother, if that is something that she wants.
I don't regret having children later, the only slight regret I have is that I would have liked to have more, but we couldn't financially afford three (or more) children in quick succession - childcare costs are crippling. My two are now 8 and 6 and, lifestyle-wise we could welcome some more tiny feet but I'm now 45... After being fortunate to have two healthy pregnancies and easy births, I don't want to tempt fate. So, if the option was open to me back in my early 30s, perhaps I would have frozen some eggs. But then, as I said, I didn't plan on it all happening so 'late' anyway.