It's not right until there's a Mr Right

Show me the woman who puts matrimony and children on hold

Share
Related Topics

Kate Garraway, the breakfast TV presenter, has allowed herself to be subjected to a prosthetic makeover so as to look 70 and pregnant, as part of a publicity campaign to make young women think twice before delaying pregnancy.

The effect is undeniably horrid – swollen belly, plus wrinkly hands and face – old and pregnant, yuk! It's the sort of thing you can only do if you're self-confident about your looks, though one disobliging online commentator did say that his first thought was that this was what TV presenters look like without slap; shame on him.

Ms Garraway's argument is simple: women should have babies at a younger age than they do and younger than she did. She had her two children, Darcy and Billy, at 38 and 42. The average age for a Brit to have a baby is 30, in the US, it's 25.

"I do look back now and realise that leaving pregnancy late can be a risky bet, as diminishing fertility can stack the odds against you," she says. "In some ways I wish I had had my babies younger. Now I would love a third child, but I've almost certainly left it too late."

Her argument is borne out by the survey behind the campaign she's fronting – from the pregnancy test people, First Response – which suggests 40 per cent of women of childbearing age delay having a baby to sort out their finances, while a third blame the lack of the right partner. At least that excludes the bogey who normally surfaces in these polls: the woman who delays having children in order to promote her career, only to find herself bitter and childless at 50.

It may be something to do with the friends I've got, but I've rarely encountered this creature who wilfully puts offers of matrimony and children on hold in the interests of professional advancement, though no doubt they're out there.

Not meeting Mr Right, now that rings true. I've got delightful girlfriends aged over 40, unaccountably single and involuntarily childless who haven't met a half-decent man to settle down with. That's a third of the respondents; the responsible third, I would say.

Perhaps they should have snapped up the offers that came their way in their twenties, but they didn't. And now they're counting the months as their ovaries empty; every period a missed opportunity. They could, of course, go down the Bridget Jones route and have a solo pregnancy – with the unfortunate circumstance in her case that she wasn't quite sure by whom – but it's not the ideal child-rearing scenario.

In fact, what's wrong with actually waiting until you've got a stable relationship before having babies? In happier days, we wouldn't even have asked the question. Ditto waiting to have children until you can provide for them: that was, you know, the norm for engaged couples once upon a time, though it must be said that in the Fifties they saved up for furniture rather than for a wedding worth half a year's salary and didn't have to wait a decade to save for a deposit on a one-bed flat.

Having said that, I'm behind Kate Garraway. I had two children after 40, because that's when I married, an age which 70 per cent of respondents to the YouGov poll regard as too old. I, too, go about like the Ancient Mariner, urging any young men and women who'll listen to gather the rosebuds while they may and go for it if they possibly can. Nature doesn't share our romantic idealism about waiting for Mr or Ms Right; she rewards with fecundity those who get on with procreation when they're most cut out for it.

And if it takes Kate Garraway looking like a pregnant hag to make this staggeringly obvious point, good for her.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (C++ / C# / HTML, Java Angular.js) London

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A world leading business intellig...

Application Support Analyst-(UNIX, Linux, Financial Services)

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst-(UNIX...

Application Support Analyst - SQL, UNIX, Linux

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst - SQL...

Application Support - FIX protocol, UNIX, SQL, Windows, OMS

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support - FIX protoco...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: The West flounders in the Middle East morass

Independent Voices
David Tennant as Hamlet  

To vote no or not to vote no, that is the question... Although do celebrities really have the answer?

David Lister
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition