It’s possible I should start off by the saying that you should really enjoy the baby making sessions because there may come a time when squeezing in more than a thirty second smooch becomes tedious. But that may put you off the idea of having kids and what would be the point of that. Let it be known, sex as a parent is both limited and glorious for all the obvious reasons. But when is the right time to add a baby to your daily grind?
In today’s Irish Times I’m talking to two mums and fertility expert, Helena Tubridy, about becoming a parent at an age that is older than biology recommends.
Life often sways on to a different path these days and its not always about when our loins are due to become suitably occupied multiple times over. And yet, women are still expected to play happy families, putting their dreams and desires on hold for the social norm. Times have changed. Women are choosing different paths which don’t naturally have more than their footprints in the sand, which is one reason the older mum, and dad for that matter, continues to rise. And yet, it appears to be everyone’s business as to why, how and when a woman and a baby will mix in the magic cauldron of a so-called normal life.
At one time, I was one of those women. The desire to have mini versions of me running around the house and hanging off my leg, didn’t appeal to me. I had no intention of filling our spare room up with stuffed teddy bears and owl murals.
I was the tender age of twenty-two when I walked down the aisle of the small church in Dalhousie Castle, Scotland, and wedded my beau who is not Scottish and refused to wear a kilt but dazzled with thistles on his suit jacket. Twenty-two is far below the national average age at which women get married these days, which has been pushed all the way back to the age of thirty-three. There’s a lot of frogs being kissed in there and a whole heap of CD collections being divvied up after renting together ended up a bad idea. I skipped this bit and happily settled down with the world betting on how long we would last.
The dressmaker said it was like fitting a dolls dress as she pinned the fabric tighter against my tiny non-existent waist. At the time, I was distinctly lacking any kind of childbearing hips and the thoughts of kids could not have been further from my mind. With that one simple comment, I felt a sudden lack of independence. My confidence dipped, and I felt painfully childish as though I was playing dress up and pretending to fit into my Mum’s wedding gown.
As a result of this young age, the contents of my womb had a few more years than was necessary of inquisitive friends, families and strangers who took it upon themselves to spot the wedding ring and ask how many kids I have. None, I would repeat each time the question came up. “You will one day,” they said as though it was a given that I would push out a few kids as simple and easy as it was to say it.
Marrying young, meant the topic was not at the front of our list. We had our whole lives ahead of us. Lives we were particularly comfortable with as the freedom of those childless moments meant we were the captains of our own ship without a crew vomiting over the side of the boat. Time moves on however and I suppose they were right.
Despite at one stage in my life feeling no urge to have kids, my ovaries had other ideas and talked to me while I slept, hypnotising me into dreams of happy families. And the conversation began but Papa Bear does not have ovaries and sperm does not seem to be set to the same biological clock as my uterus. So, I whispered while he slept and hypnotised… if only it was that simple.
The point of this rambling is that parenthood can be a choice. When that choice is made does not necessarily include the factor of age. The biology of fertility however may make that choice for you.
Check out the Irish Times article for more insight into being an older Mum.