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."

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

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

Senior Management Accountant

£40000 - £46000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Global publishing and digital bu...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum