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Tuesday, 4 October 2011


So not only do we have to suffer the indignity of having a gallon of blood gush out from between our legs every month. Any woman who has suffered the horror of standing in a grocery queue or sitting in a meeting and felt that insidiously familiar feeling of a tampon overflowing will know what I mean.

Not only do we feel compelled to strip hair from places on our bodies that for centuries enjoyed relative anonymity. Any woman who has felt the hot wax ripping the hair from her groin will know what I mean.

Not only do we implode with guilt when we a) don’t spend enough time with our children b) don’t spend enough time at the gym c) don’t prepare enough home-cooked meals. Any woman who has a home-delivery company on speed dial will know what I mean.

Not only do we watch our bodies expand to indescribable proportions whilst housing a growing human being. Any woman who has wondered if her vagina will ever go back to normal after giving birth will know what I mean.

Not only are we nurses, chefs, psychologists, prostitutes, teachers, chauffers, cleaners, decorators, landscapers, ironers and project managers. Any woman who does all these tasks yet still gets called “just a mum” will know what I mean.

So – not only do we have all this on our plate, we now have to cope with being called selfish because we aren’t having our babies until our late 30s.

Or so says Dr Barry Walters, an obstetrician from Perth's King Edward Memorial Hospital.

He says that the number of older expectant mothers coming into the hospital had become an epidemic and this led to far more pregnant women and babies with medical problems.

Fair enough, it is common knowledge that the older the mum is, the higher the risk.

But interestingly it isn’t a risk to be an older dad.

As I see it, there are men out there who glide through their 20s and 30s, meeting women but avoiding commitment (and therefore fatherhood). They hit 40, and have an epiphany that they’re suddenly ready to “settle down” and either seek out a life partner or agree to have children with their long-suffering mate.

Which means, all ages being equal, women are having babies well into their 30s. Because they sat around for so long waiting for the right man to show up, or for the man right now to commit.

A close girlfriend of mine waited 12 years for her boyfriend to marry her. That means baby number one was born just after she turned 40. Baby number two arrived at 43.

Sure, I hear you all, and I heard myself say it as well. “Leave the bastard. If he won’t commit, then leave him and find yourself someone who will.”

Easier said than done, as many women reading this will know.

I was lucky. I fell in love and was married at 20, and was a mum at 25. But it was some years later that my girlfriends and peers started having their kids. Now that I’m mid-40s, I have girlfriends who are taking their little ones to prep. They’ve got years to go.

And that’s not for being choosy or picky. That’s not for being career-obsessed. That’s not for wanting material items over family bliss.

It was simply because they didn’t have a man in their life at the time that wanted to make a family with them.

So, Dr Walters, you certainly have some valid points to raise on the potential difficulties older mums face. But don’t put a blanket label of “selfish” on them. Understand the context of their situation first.

And maybe give a few lectures to commitment-phobic men.

What would the world be like if a man’s sperm ceased to be viable after the age of 40? Think about that…

1 comment:

  1. BRILLIANT!!! That last line is dead on the money