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Overdue mum a premature call

Date

Annabel Ross

Life happens ... when you're making other plans.

Life happens ... when you're making other plans.

Opinion

When I was a teenager, 28 seemed pretty old. Not ancient (that tag was reserved for anyone over 40), but old enough.  My own mother didn't have me until she was 35, and as a child, I used to be a bit embarrassed that she was one of the older mothers at school. I resolved to marry early and have my first baby by the age of 25 to prevent my kids from suffering the same fate.

How things change.

I went to a friend's wedding last weekend. Rachael and Nathan have been together eight years, and during speeches, Rachael announced that she was 12 weeks pregnant. She's 30. I'm 28, and the pitter-patter of tiny feet is not something I expect to hear anytime in my near future.

I met another new baby just the other day. The mother is a high school friend, and I went to primary school and high school with the father. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since we sat learning our times tables in Miss Harbeck's classroom together, and 11 years since we all attended our Year 12 graduation.

Last month, I flew to Sydney to visit two friends with newborns. In 2007, we were living in London together, having stupid amounts of fun and indulging in myriad will-harm-your-baby behaviours (none of us were pregnant at the time). Five years later, they've both just had their second children and I'm still living at home with my parents. Things really aren't going to plan.

At this rate, I'll be following in my mum's footsteps, and will be lucky to have my first child by my early 30s. While the median age of all mothers for births registered in 2010 was 30.7 years, for the first time since 2000, the age of first-time mums dropped to an average of 27.9 years in 2009, making me a few months overdue.

I'm not too worried about it, if I'm honest. As well as wanting to be a young mum, I also wanted to be an FBI agent like Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs and fantasised about marrying John Stamos from Full House when I was in primary school. Neither of those things happened either, and I'm OK with that.

I've had my work to focus on, as well as study, fun and travel – all things that become more difficult with children in tow. I still don't feel like a fully-fledged adult myself in some ways, but give me a couple of years of rent and mortgage repayments and I'm sure I'll be right up to speed.

For a while there, I wondered if I'd have kids at all. It's only in the past couple of years that I've begun to entertain the possibility. I've even got some names picked out, though I acknowledge that such frippery is a long way from the reality of nappy-changing and mastitis.

When trying to make a time to catch up with a friend and new mother the other day, she reminded me that her baby rules her life at the moment and that she has to work around him. Completely fair enough, but it made me think about my own, comparatively quite selfish existence, and how I'm not sure that I'm quite ready to give that up.

According to the stats, I won't be the only one, but it seems increasingly likely that I, like my own mother, will be a slightly older mum doing the school run in a few years time, with a few more lines on my (un-Botoxed) face and, God forbid, the odd grey hair.

My own kids might wish they could trade me in for a younger, cooler model, but you know what? In me they'll have a mum who feels she's lived enough of her own life before creating another to devote herself to. All going to plan, I'll be happier, wiser, and more confident in my abilities to look after someone other than myself. That's the sort of mum I had, and in hindsight, I wouldn't change a thing.

Of course there's the possibility of me not being able to have children – a reason I don't want to leave it too late to start trying – in which case I'll have to consider other avenues. But let's cross that bridge when we come to it, eh? As John Lennon said, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

106 comments

  • What's the point in this story, because it isn't an article, simply one person's experience and point of view. Life and Style should simply be renamed 'Woman's Day online'. And there I was thinking there'd be something to learn. Good for you on your choices, Annabel, but why did you go beyond discussing this with your friends?

    Commenter
    Zanicha
    Date and time
    June 19, 2012, 1:32PM
    • Not an article and simply one person's experience and point of view? Precisely. It's an 'Opinion' piece, denoted by the bold letters on the top of the article.

      Commenter
      ummmm
      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 2:39PM
    • You don't have to read it Zanicha. It is obvious you are not the target audience.

      Commenter
      Wyn
      Location
      Earth
      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 3:12PM
    • The point I can see, is that things change, and that maybe Annabel is feeling a little ashamed of the attitude she had when she was younger. There is no need to justify the decisions you make. You are not delaying having a baby because you want to "be happier, wiser, and more confident in my abilities to look after someone other than myself." I don't know if selfish is the right term, would it make a difference to say self interested. Some people can have it all, but some can't. Career, exciting travel, education, busy social life and amazing friends and family. All our choices have consequences, that's what life is.

      Commenter
      a
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 5:19PM
    • Thank you for your article Annabel, I really enjoyed it and it reassured me that I'm not the only one experiencing the same fate!

      Commenter
      Isobella
      Date and time
      June 20, 2012, 8:59AM
    • No, I'm with Zanicha.
      I read the whole article, and I was interested - it's great to get another person's perspective on things people around me are goiing through, but I'm having trouble teasing out the 'opinion' Annabel is getting across.

      Commenter
      franzy
      Date and time
      June 20, 2012, 8:43PM
  • My mum had me at 47 and you thought your mum was old growing up.

    People thought she was my grandma.

    I, however, wouldn't have it any other way.

    I was the 5th child and by the time she popped me out, everything ran like clockwork. You've never seen a more tended to baby.

    Being the youngest definitely rocks.

    Commenter
    Adrian
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    June 19, 2012, 1:39PM
    • My mum had me at 45 and my father was so much older than her. I used to get teased for older parents, but I wouldn't have it any other way either!

      Commenter
      Older Parental Spawn
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 5:59PM
  • "In me they'll have a mum who feels she's lived enough of her own life before creating another to devote herself to. All going to plan, I'll be happier, wiser, and more confident in my abilities to look after someone other than myself."

    Hows that? You're 28 and still living at home!

    Commenter
    Melgibson
    Date and time
    June 19, 2012, 1:51PM
    • Agree

      Commenter
      Bender
      Date and time
      June 19, 2012, 3:57PM

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