The average age of educated first-time mothers is now probably a good decade more than it was in the 50s – most professional women wait until they are in their 30s before considering babies, and might prefer to wait even longer were it not for that inconvenient biological clock.
The Kelly Prestons and Nicole Kidmans of this world may continue to have babies well after the age when their mothers were grandmothers, but most women bow out of the reproduction business by their late 30s.
It is sad to see however how many wonderful women take a decision not to have children, and stick to it. Clever, educated professional women with money, women with so much to give, women who should be cloned to perpetuate their gifts, the very women we need – these are the ones who decide not to have children.
Sexual orientation is no longer a barrier: lesbians have gritted their teeth and born the penile invasion during ovulation, they have perused the sperm bank catalogues and paid for in vitro fertilisation, or done the deed with the aid of a helpful gay male friend, a frenzied rush across town, and a turkey baster.
Then there is always adoption, which most gay men chose, although they are also able to rent-a-womb from a surrogate. Odd is it may seem, some women are prepared to undergo in vitro and the whole discomfort of pregnancy and then exchange the baby for a large cash sum.
I’m sure the day will come when there are egg banks just as there are now sperm banks, and male couples – or even single men, gay or not – will be able to study the catalogue of egg donors (fair redhead, IQ 156, Russo-Irish descent, genetic predisposition to addiction and depression, etc etc) make their pick, leave their sample, then rent a test tube.
The thing about men is that while their sperm becomes more and more grotty as they age, they go on producing the stuff. As a woman ages, her eggs are high risk, and the older she is the more high risk they are; Down’s Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Deformity and the like has always been blamed on the age of the woman, but senile sperm are equally at fault.
Traditionally, Catholics – and others who do not practise birth control – will often have a ‘simple’ child, usually the youngest daughter, who is regarded as unmarriageable and kept at home to take care of the aged parents. Born of aging eggs and senile semen, history has a record of such girls, protected and kept at home until she is needed as an unpaid nurse.
My daughters were born when I was between the ages of 31 and 34: neither is simple, or deformed, or in any other sense ‘special’, in a bad way. I loathe children, hated boy children, but wanted a baby. God was kind and gave me a girl. I loved that girl so much I wanted her to have a sister.
Again, God was good and although I was 33, I had another healthy girl. Babies aren’t easy, and although I loved mine, I still disliked children, I probably always shall. Don’t judge me. Some people hate cats. Some people hate others who are of a different race or religion. I don’t like anyone under the age of 13.
It was a very hard and very expensive road, but I’d do it again tomorrow. I don’t know any mother who wouldn’t – even those who had totally unplanned and actually unwanted pregnancies.
Both my lovely daughters are gone now, left home, left the country: I hoped they would be my comfort in my old age but they will probably be a world away. I looked forward to having grandchildren but my girls, attractive and intelligent, have decided not to reproduce – although that might change, God willing.
I miss my daughters so much: I have never met anyone who regretted having a baby. You may t like them at first but that doesn’t matter – you will love them more than life itself.