By ALEXIS CAREY
I visited my GP to pick up a prescription and I left with a lecture on the need to have a baby. Pronto. Like, yesterday.
I was a trifle taken aback, to say the least. You see, I’m 26, not 36 or 46. I kept waiting for the good doctor to break into a chuckle and scream “APRIL FOOLS!”
But no, apparently he was serious. According to him, at 26, it is high time I started planning my reproductive life.
Now, I love babies and children and I’ve always pictured my future with one or two mimi-mes in it.
But having babies has always been an abstract idea to me; something that Other People did and something that might happen to me one day, in the very, very, VERY distant future. It has never occurred to me that it is something I could actively do, right now.
So I stammered a lame explanation about “needing to find the right time” and left, vowing to find a new, less-stress-inducing GP in future.
The thing is, my life couldn’t be less suited to accommodating a dependent infant right now and to be honest, the idea truly terrifies me. I live in a teensy studio apartment that is about the same size as most people’s bathroom. I spend two and a half hours a day commuting to work and my relationship with The Boy, while long-term, is not exactly locked-in-for-life.
But on the other hand, we’ve all heard the horror stories about women who kept waiting for the perfect baby-making moment, only to hit their late 30s or early 40s to find it’s Game Over for their fertility.
And then there are the horror stories of young women who are healthy and in the prime of their lives, but who still face a heartbreaking struggle to conceive or carry a baby to term.
I have never even considered becoming a young mum, maybe because my own mum had me at 34 and my sister at 39 with no dramas whatsoever.
My mum was a bit of a renegade- in 1986 in a small country town, having a kid at 34 was like having one at 54 today- but she turned out to be the best mum in the world.
I know that most of my friends haven’t given baby-making much thought yet either, but was my doctor right? Is this something all young(ish) women should be actively thinking about and planning for? Should we all have a game plan, or is it better to roll with the punches and just play it by ear?
I read an interesting article last year about fashion designer Collette Dinnigan, who welcomed her second child at 47.
Dinnigan had some surprisingly frank advice for women, urging us not to leave it too late and not to be sucked in by all the glamorous celebrities having babies in their mid to late 40s.
”Even in your 30s, you think you’re invincible. You have a career, life slips by and suddenly you’re 40,” she said.
Dinnigan has a good point. Even at 26, the years have sped by at an alarming rate and I can easily understand how many women can put off having a baby until it is too late.
After pondering my encounter with my doctor, I have come to the conclusion that I (hopefully) have a few more years up my sleeve before I get serious about babies. But it also served as a bit of a wake-up call- it probably does pay to have at least a vague life plan when it comes to a monumental, life-changing experience like bringing a child into the world.
Alexis Carey is a mathematically-challenged journalist who is addicted to pub trivia and red liquorice. She is also an aspiring children’s author and has just started her own blog at realitybitesblog.com.
Do you think mid-twenties is too young to be thinking about fertility? When did you start planning to have children?