Susie Mesure: Another baby on the way – I just wish I were younger

Share
Related Topics

Odd thing, age: some say you're as young as you feel; others, that you're as young as you look. And then there are those who believe that modern medicine means you can cheat the maturing process altogether, whether you're talking Botox jabs to the forehead, or ovulation stimulation hormones to kick-start a rather more private process.

Thanks to those medical advances, age is almost an obsolete factor these days when it comes to having a child. No longer do women rush to push them out in their early twenties, as they did little more than a generation ago. Almost half the babies born in 2009 were to mothers over the age of 30, with a marked increase in those born to women over 45.

And so, expecting my second child at 35, I was called "positively spring chicken-like" when I gave the news to someone last week. I don't feel young – quite the contrary – but I suppose that compared with friends who've broken their fifth decade before having their first I am, at least, less old than I might be.

Lest I sound remotely smug, I should add that there truly is nothing like motherhood to drive home how old you really are, whether you're a 16-year-old forced to grow up fast by an accidental pregnancy, or a 30-something wondering where your twenties went. Having a child catapults you into the next generation, no matter your age at their birth.

Deliberately waiting until my early thirties to have children, what puzzles me now is why. I remember my reasoning: I wanted a job that I'd like to go back to after maternity leave. I also felt I needed to clock up some years on the job, before that break could be justified. Today, that logic seems flawed, and it is. The law was on my side: my job, reporting on our sister paper, would have been kept open. I did not feel as if my boss would have thought any the less of me had I opted for that pause, even though the editor in question, as in so many professions, even today, was male.

And yet, I waited. Mistakenly, with hindsight. And I'd like to know why. For, ever since having my son, the one feeling I can't shake off is that I wish I'd been younger. I see young mums with their babies, and can't help thinking there's something that just looks inherently right, but it goes deeper than simple vanity. Those baby-related statistics get increasingly scary as you age: post-35, fertility drops dramatically, while the odds of having a baby with a genetic abnormality such as Down's syndrome sharply increase, as does the risk of miscarriage.

But there is also the reality of post-partum life: specifically, the 21st-century disease that makes mothers feel they have to do everything, forcing the majority to juggle motherhood with a career – and worry they're doing neither effectively.

Provided you are lucky enough to conceive at all, how much better to get those early years done and dusted before embarking on your professional life, rather than fretting about the damage that first, the absence, and secondly, the return will do to one's job prospects. Doesn't that logic make even more sense for today's graduates, who have yet even to get their foot on the job ladder? Okay, so money would be tight, very tight. But at least new parents wouldn't feel as if their children had curtailed a formerly extravagant lifestyle. And think of the potential advantages once your family has left home.

I can't turn back the clock, but others in a different position might like to think twice before they put "it" off.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Ashdown Group: PHP Web Developer / Website Coordinator (PHP, JavaScript)

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: PHP Web...

Recruitment Genius: Estates Projects & Resources Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in London, Manchester, Br...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: moderate, iconic royals are a shoe-in for a pedantic kicking

Guy Keleny
 

Letter from the Whitehall Editor: Cameron is running scared from the “empty chair”

Oliver Wright
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us