When I was 31, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I was married and I lived in a lovely home, but I also felt restless and unfulfilled. I’d spent years building a career in HR that I wasn’t sure I really wanted any more.
Questions about childbirth (answered by mums and non-mums). Post continues below.
“What you need is a baby,” sniffed a family friend. This was the first comment in what was soon to be an ever-growing cacophony.
I’d never have to worry about what to do with myself ever again, I was told, because I could focus all my energy on a new little person instead.
People reasoned that it might actually be selfish not to have at least one child, because my husband and I had the means to care for it, and besides I’d make such a lovely Mum (when plants are known to wither and die in my presence).
Casual acquaintances I’d meet in the gym would explain just how much I’d regret not having a mini-me around when I was old and I needed my bottom wiping. People I’d only just met would ask me what on Earth I did all day, as though children are the only possible time-fillers for women over 30.
Reader, I responded by getting divorced, turning 40 and ditching a dull-but-stable career for the financially insecure world of freelance writing.
Though I still get the occasional kid-related comment, most of them crumbled to dust in the face of that fearsome triumvirate: advanced age, broken marital status and unstable career. Plus, I’d finally solved that niggling issue of not knowing what to do with myself.
This could really be shaping up to be the "...and they all lived happily ever after" kind of ending we all love so much, right?