Bridget Jones and her creator united in travails of pregnancy

In her diary she complains about "bottom cleavage" pregnancy jeans, describes a new-found respect for toilets after weeks of morning sickness, and wonders why people feel they have the right to lay their hands on her pregnant stomach.

Now it appears that the musings of the fictional Bridget Jones are based on more than sharp observation; the 48-year-old author, Helen Fielding, is seven months pregnant.

Since August, the Jones diary has been chronicling her pregnancy by Daniel Cleaver in The Independent, but the author's real-life experiences are one month behind her heroine.

Fielding, who has a son, Dashiell, aged two, with her long-term partner Kevin Curran, executive producer and writer for The Simpsons cartoon series, is said to be "thrilled" that she is pregnant and is due to give birth in July.

She joins the growing number of successful women who are having children later in life, including Cherie Blair, who had her youngest son, Leo, in 2000, when she was 45, the singer Madonna, who had her second child, Rocco, days before her 42nd birthday, and the actress Susan Sarandon, who gave birth at 45.

The average age of mothers giving birth is now 29.4 years, while the average age for a first child is 27.5 years, two years older than in 1971, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Phillip Hodson, fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said: "There is a difference between being pregnant at 18 and at 48. What you lose in perceived energy levels you gain in experience. Children keep you younger. Having a second child is a much more comfortable experience psychologically. You know the ropes and can be more relaxed than with a first."

In the UK there are now more first-time mothers in the 30-34 age group than in the 20-24 age group. There is also a 50 per cent increase from 10 years ago in the number of women over 40 who are having babies.

The psychotherapist Elizabeth Meakins had her first child in her twenties, and her third child when she was 43. "There is a difference with energy levels," she said. "But there is no reason on earth why you cannot give a child as valuable an experience in your forties as your twenties, and in some ways you are far more laid back.

"The scare tactics of the medical profession make you feel like you are about to give birth to a monster, and that you should be drawing your pension. Motherhood is a state of mind, much more than the body's chronological age."

More than a decade ago, in October 1995, Bridget Jones's weekly column in The Independent made Fielding one of Britain's most popular diarists. She went on to sell more than 15 million books and the diaries were made into films starring Renée Zellweger as the chardonnay-drinking, calorie-obsessed protagonist.

Fielding lives in Los Angeles with Curran and has recently completed her latest work, Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination.

When life imitates art

* THE WEST WING

The television series about life in office for a fictional US president inspired a plot played out for real by British MPs. The "rebellion by stealth" tactics deployed by Tory MPs to defeat the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill reflected the hide-and-emerge tactics used in the drama.

* RED MERCURY

British-born Muslims perpetrate a terrorist attack on London. But this time Stockard Channing, Pete Postlethwaite and Juliet Stevenson are involved. Farrukh Dhondy's film Red Mercury played at the Cannes Film Festival last year, two months before the London terror attacks.

* 1984

Orwell's 1949 novel warns that Big Brother is watching. Now CCTV and identity cards are turning 1984's nightmare in a reality. Lorin Maazel, conductor of New York's philharmonic orchestra, who took part in the opera version of 1984, said: "That is the theme of today ... the invasion of one's private life."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
people
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballAnd Liverpool are happy despite drawing European champions
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Data Feed Administrator

£15,000 - £20,000: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join...

Junior Microsoft SQL Developer

£20,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone