parents

3 reasons women shouldn't have kids in their 40s. (And why they're bollocks.)

Rachel Corbett

I don’t think I want children until my 40s.

“Why?” I hear you cry. Because I’ve got shit to do, that’s why.

At the ripe old age of 33, I feel like I’ve barely ticked off a tenth of the ‘to do list’ items I want to accomplish before I’m packing school lunches and taking the kids to soccer practice. And despite the obvious ‘but your ovaries are withering and dying with every day!!’ reality I’m constantly reminded of by people who’ve apparently made my reproductive system their business, I’ve just never put pressure on myself to have kids in my thirties.

Unfortunately though, when you hit the big 3-0 you tend to find yourself surrounded by women who are hearing their biological clocks tick with a canine-like precision and have absolutely no dramas reminding you that you’re also in the middle of a fertility countdown by behaving in a way that suggests their internal monologue consists of just one sentence… “I’M RUNNING OUT OF EGGS!”

Now before the outrage machine goes into meltdown, I am not saying that these are not totally valid concerns. I get it. Us ladies are all running out of time with our finite reproductive resources, while Tom, Dick and Harry are able to sow their wild oats until well past the point where their seed drill should have been packed up in the shed, covered with a sheet and forgotten about. Sometimes it seems hard to believe that despite Darwin’s theory of evolution, our lady bits have apparently not gotten the memo that we’re all marrying later and focusing on career and trying to be financially secure in a day and age where that is nigh on impossible, so it’d be really great if they could ‘evolve’ too and just give us an extra 10 years to get shit done. I studied ‘economies of scale’ at school, if those little egg factories are pumping out 400,000 follicles already, an extra 200,000 to tide us over for a decade really shouldn’t break the bank.

“As ladies, we’ve all known about the ‘withering ovaries’ situation.”

As ladies, we’ve all known about the ‘withering ovaries’ situation since that fateful day we went out in white shorts and came back in red ones (just me?) but I’ve always thought that if I get to 35 and I haven’t met someone I want to have babies with, or I still don’t feel like I am ready, then those tiny little dwindling miracles of life are going in the freezer until I’m good and prepared to defrost them and get on with the business of cooking up a little person.  Who knows, by the time I’m 40 I might have completely changed my mind, but at least the pressure will be off. Or I could defrost the little things and they’ll all be duds, but if that happens then I will deal with that situation as the person I am then and not beat myself up for not having kids in my thirties somehow completely forgetting that me in my thirties was nowhere near ready for children.

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Surely the most important factor is not how old I am but how much I am going to love and take care of that little human being but despite this, every time I mention ‘I want kids in my forties’, ‘I’m going to freeze my eggs,’ ‘I can’t imagine being ready any time soon’ there is always someone who responds in one of the following ways….

“Don’t you want to be able to play with your kids?”

Yes. And I intend to. How is this even an argument against having children in later life? Have you seen Kylie Minogue’s new Sexercise video? That lady is 45 and I’m pretty sure she could still chase a toddler around, although hopefully not using those moves or the poor kid would be traumatised. Besides, I wouldn’t even be eligible for a senior citizens card until the kid is 20 by which time they’ll probably be hanging out with their uni friends and want nothing to do with me, so I can enjoy the delights of my ‘dollar hopper’ bus ride in peace.

“You won’t see your child get married”

“Don’t you want to be able to play with your kids?”

I haven’t been shoving quinoa milk and kale into my face for thirteen years to be dead at 60 but if somehow I am and I miss the big day, big whoop. I could have a child at 22 and be hit by a bus, or my child might never find someone they love enough to marry. Would it be wonderful to watch the person you love most in the world find someone they want to share their life with, yes, but who is hanging onto that like it’s the only way someone’s existence can be validated? Besides if I’m dead I won’t have to pay for it.

“You’ll be too old to relate to them”

I’m 33 now and I can barely relate to Gen Y (meanwhile, someone told me the other day the dates have changed and I might officially be classified as Gen Y now… I refuse to believe it). If I cannot understand why anyone would be narcissistic enough to post 85 ‘selfies’ a day to Instagram and they’re only a decade younger than me, I think we can all assume there are going to be a fair few differences between me and a child 40 years my junior. But surely the wiser and more financially, emotionally and mentally together I am, the better the mum I’ll be.

So ladies, lets stop worrying if our lives don’t resemble the ones our 15-year-old selves wrote about in that letter titled ‘To Me at 33’ and turn down the volume on the biological clocks because if you are searching for Mr Right, he’s probably not going to approach the woman who sounds like a ticking time bomb.

You can hear Rachel weekly on the Paul and Rach’ podcast and follow her on twitter @RachelCorbett.
Rachel Corbett has spent the past 13 years living the nomadic life of a radio presenter, co-hosting breakfast shows for Triple M Melbourne, Sea FM Central Coast, SAFM Adelaide and 92.9FM Perth, as well as 2DayFM’s national night show The Hot 30 Countdown and Triple M’s Drive Show Paul & Rach.

She mostly recently co-hosted Triple M’s national drive show Merrick and the Highway Patrol, was a writer/performer on ABC2’sThe Roast and can currently be heard weekly on the Paul and Rach podcast.

How old were you when you had kids? How old were your parents when they had you?