A little advice from another older mother

`Note to Cherie: having a baby late is no problem; the system gets flooded with oestrogen which stands you in good stead'

AND THE king and queen had a baby and lo, there was much rejoicing in the land and the GM crops prospered and our enemies bowed down before us and saw that our cattle were good, and we were first among nations at football, and all the young were blessed with double firsts and the old with double attendance allowances and May Day was henceforth called Cherie's Day, and all things in the nation were made good.

I think it's wonderful. Any baby's wonderful, and I speak as one who had her fourth baby when she was 47. (Not that I'm trying to compete here in the elderly mother stakes, at which I plainly win, just establishing my credentials to speak on the subject).

See how Cherie's fourth renews the nation? See how the "family", that old fashioned thing, is strengthened. The male/female/child unit might now get some tax benefits to keep it alive, and we heterosexualists can feel just a little encouraged because lately the gays have seemed to be the right-on people, not us, pleasing as they are to capitalism. (Do we call it that any more? Or is it globalisation or the Third Way?)

One up to Cherie and Tony. Gays have nothing to do but gratify the needs of the consumer society, work, earn, woo one another and spend, spend, spend, while couples with young babies tend to lie round in an exhausted state and just cannot get out to the shops.

Gays of either gender who do manage to acquire babies get into terrible trouble - "selfish", "unnatural", "unfair" to the children - but personally I think the uproar is because they're betraying the pink pound.

All those little labour-intensive, bulky, low-priced, loss-leading items like nappies yield a relatively low profit margin - not like those music systems, underfloor central heating, designer clothes, state of the art sports cars and cat litter for the childless and prosperous.

You do get the feeling these days that to have more than one or two children is being wilfully fertile and out of date. It's only the already married over-forties, like our prime ministerial unit, who want to have babies at all: the others have quite gone off the idea - to such an extent that the birth rate is now well below replacement level (only our ethnic minorities go on having lots of children).

Neither have Cherie and Tony been watching the new Ikea TV ads, the ones that urge couples to take offence, up sticks, leave home and start a new one. "Walk away!" sing the ads, while urging couples to make a fresh start. "Pack up, ship out, find a place of your own. "Now you've put your marriage to the sword," exhort their press ads, "go out and choose a cool sideboard."

They must have missed the Bisto ads in which the boy visits his father in his smart new flat, and Bisto does as well as family love. Trendy couple though they are, Cherie and Tony can't have noticed that Oxo axed its family ads because the close-knit middle class family was deemed irrelevant to today's consumer trends.

As our seer and priestess Germaine Greer insisted in her book Sex and Destiny (way back in 1986), the ideal consumer is a single person living on their own. By the year 2020 they say 50 per cent of us will be living in just such households, and the green belt swallowed up by profitable housing and none of this mingy sharing of kettles and washing-up bowls going on. Everyone will have their own. But now Cherie's putting the clock back. Four children and a husband too, all in one house. Of course we're grateful, we married family unitters. One up to us.

The mind leaps forward: now the bar on Catholic monarchy is about to go, and the Blair children are Catholics, how about wedding bells soon for Prince William and Kathryn? Not only would we win the World Cup but the European Song Contest too and Manchester will host the Olympic Games and there will be no end to the good times, no end to the soap opera. And The Blairs could move into the Buck House, and perhaps Elizabeth and Philip could move into 10 Downing Street, and Charles and Camilla could go off to Elba and be as GM free as they wanted and bake Duchy oatcakes to the end of their days. (The oatcakes are very good, and the proceeds could still go to the Princes Trust.) We could all be happy, so happy, and have hereditary prime ministers. The Japanese once did.

Note to Cherie, inundated though she will be with advice from all quarters, and every newspaper awash with "my experience of childbirth over forty" (it isn't so unusual these days): having a baby late is no problem. Apart from anything else the system gets flooded with natural oestrogen, which stands you in good stead for at least another 10 years. If nature says you can, and gets you pregnant, then you can. The "empty cradle" longing gets finally laid to rest: that strange restless feeling that you're only whole if you have a baby in your arms. It's nothing to do with having "more children" that's rational, this is instinctive, and truly powerful.

You may have more trouble than you expect from other women, who somehow feel that it isn't right, that there are only so many babies to go round, and you have nabbed another one out of turn. They can get envious and peculiar.

On first suspecting this untoward event I went to a doctor and said "other women tell me I shouldn't go through with this, my eggs are too old", as if I were some ageing hen, to which he briskly replied. "My mother was 47 when I was born and there isn't anything wrong with me", which put an end to that discussion.

And of course you worry in case the baby isn't "all right" - who doesn't, at any age - but I was in such constant conversation with mine I knew it was just fine and refused all tests and amniocenteses and so on, on the grounds they were an insult to a perfectly good baby. As so he was. True, I had a placenta praevia, for which you need to get to the hospital rather quickly once you go into labour and have to have a Caesarean to get it out. But that can happen at any age, and Caesarean babies are happy babies and tend not to be criers.

My own opinion is that the process of being born naturally gives babies post-traumatic stress disorder for the first couple of years which is why they keep waking in the night. What they're yelling is "Help, help, will it happen again?" But I don't think newspaper columns are proper places for this kind of baby talk: it should be kept for the maternity ward - where you will wonder why all these children are wandering about, and then realise that they too are actually mothers and fathers. How can anyone let them?

It's 11 years since you had your last. You will find the anxiety level risen among mothers, as the genetic testing designed to reassure them sets up endless fearful thoughts: waiting weeks for results, the brain ringing with false negative and no double positives, and yet then if anything's wrong, or might be wrong, no recommendation made to you. "All we can do is give you the odds: it's up to you to decide what to do about it." Please try and work out something to do about this new maternal predicament, once you're the other side of the process. There must be better ways.

Oh yes, and another thing. Out there they think you're superwoman already. Juggling the high-powered job and the official wifedom and the home and the children and everything. One more baby and still managing, and still smiling? Will all the women in the country be expected to do the same? Because you can, doesn't mean everyone can. Explain that to Gordon Brown, who seems to want everyone in the country out to work.

Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home