Overdue mum a premature call
Life happens ... when you're making other plans.
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.