career

Why designer Camilla Franks wants women to put careers before motherhood.

You may not know Camilla Franks by name but you definitely know her caftans.

Vibrant, statement-making pieces, the 41-year-old has built her label, Camilla, from one shop in Bondi to a global multimillion dollar fashion empire beloved by celebrities including Oprah and Beyonce in just over a decade.

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Franks during the CAMILLA 'My Dubai Dream' Capsule Collection Launch on April 27, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. Image: Getty

It's been no picnic. Her success is thanks to years of hard work and constant travel, which she says has come at a cost.

"It's not a real life a lot of the time. You disconnect from family and friends. I struggled with that a lot," she told Australian Woman's Weekly in 2015.

As is the case with many women, Franks' focus on her career meant other things like motherhood fell by the wayside. But rather than give in to the "fear" that pervades about never having children as a result of leaving it until later in life, the designer, who announced her "unexpected" pregnancy with fiance JP Jones last month, believes doing just that has actually benefited her.

"This generation are working women, we don't just leave school, get married, have children," Franks told The Daily Telegraph in an exclusive interview.

"I wouldn't be me if I had just jumped into the world of motherhood. I'm so blessed that I've been able to have that chapter of running a business as well. I'd encourage all women to continue enjoying their careers."

While statistically conceiving naturally once you're over 40 is a lot lower than when you're in your twenties, Franks says advice from doctors previously who told her she'd have trouble later in life was "absolute BS".

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To my JP When we were young, the world was ours. Not a care in a world, so many raised eyebrows. We loved relentlessly, yet drifted apart, Eighteen years later, we reconnected our hearts. Always my soulmate, a lover and a friend You’ve always been here, from start to end. Now we’re all grown up, but we’re still just starting We proudly stand here, seas apart yet never parting. Inside my belly now lays the love we’ve shared and been through, Inside your Milla two hearts are now beating for you. It seems like yesterday, we were two kids drinking in that London pub. But today, we’re drinking tea here waiting for little bub. In this world, and every universe after, 
I’ll always be your girl and you our baby’s father xxC #camillawithlove #minimilla Special thanks to my loves @markvassallo @nonimakeup @julianamarcs and @simonlekias for this special moment

A post shared by CAMILLA (@camillawithlove) on

"I went to all these meetings and appointments all driven from complete fear that I couldn't have a child. I think we need to take the fear out of it... and take it with a grain of salt."

Figures from the ABS released in the last few years show a sharp increase in the number of women over 40 having children - 12,800 babies in 2011 compared to 7,100 in 2001, which is mirrored in international data. Rates of teenage pregnancy have also dropped.

Obstetrician Dr Michael Gannon told the ABC in 2015 that this trend had both positive and negative consequences.

Listen: Why your kids should not be the most important people in your family. Post continues after audio.

"Pregnancy is more complicated when women have a child at ages 40-44, especially when it is their first child," he told 720 ABC Perth.

"They bring some advantages as well - greater life experience and financial security. But in terms of their pregnancy, it is lot more difficult for both mother and baby."

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