The actual window women have in their lives to have babies.

 

A lot of people have a lot of things to say about what women should do with their ovaries and when – and it’s very important we listen to all of them.

You see, the Australian Fertility Coalition state that your chances of getting pregnant without IVF begins to decrease at 32.

From age 35, that decline speeds up.

By 40, your fertility has fallen by more than half, and your risk of having a miscarriage is greater than your chance of having a live birth. Your chances of having a baby with genetic abnormalities or birth defects also increase with age.

Well, shit.

If you’re a woman under the age of 32, I guess you should have a baby… immediately.

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But, pause.

Make that 30.

According to researchers at St Andrews and Edinburgh universities, 30 is the “upper limit” for women to conceive easily, as they have retained 12 per cent of the eggs they once had.

Goodness.

Add into the mix that it’s (thankfully) illegal to have sex with someone under the age of 16, which narrows the window to 14 years.

Oh. But it gets more complicated.

You’re at school until you’re 18, and we’re always being yelled at about ‘teen pregnancy’ because of health risks, including premature birth, low birth weight, high blood pressure, higher rates of infant mortality and anaemia. And then there are the socio-economic ramifications, with research indicating that teen pregnancy increases the risk of child poverty and lowers the likelihood of girls’ completing their education.

We don’t want that.

And then there’s the fact that the average age Australians move out of home is 23, so if a woman wants some independence… or isn’t too thrilled with the idea of waking an entire household up with the sound of a crying baby – you can cut another six years.

But that’s okay! We’ve still got a whole seven years which is LOTS.

Not. So. Fast.

Raising children, it would seem, costs a lot of money.

The first two years, according to very conservative estimates, will cost parents an average of $14,976. That’s pretty difficult to do without a little bit of money saved in the bank.

But – bad news.

Last year, it was found that one in three young Australians (under the age of 24) had either no job or were underemployed. On top of that, two thirds of Aussies do some sort of higher education after high school, so they’re relatively… busy… in the years following school.

So let’s say you need until AT LEAST 25 to get on your feet, move out of home, get a full time job and start saving.

Oh. And add in travel. You ought to see the world before you’re locked down by a baby, right? And you won’t be able to afford going overseas once a baby comes along, not to mention people are always bitchin’ about babies on planes.

Let’s factor in another six months for a little bit of travel/finding oneself.

You now have a four-and-a-half year window.

Oh. But then there’s the issue of a partner.

Of course, it’s 2018 so you don’t NEED a partner. But, people will sure have some opinions if you don’t.

Just ask One Nation candidate David Archibald who a few years ago described single mothers as “lazy” (… what?).

The Internet is littered with blogs and opinion columns with throwaway lines like, “no one dreams of being a single mother…” (I can assure you, many do).

For years, reports have emerged insisting that “single parent families are one of the groups most likely to face ongoing and entrenched disadvantage,” and surveys indicate that seven out of every 10 Australians believe a child needs to grow up in a home with both a mother AND a father.

They’re the rules.

On top of being grossly homophobic, that’s a lot of… pressure.

So – what’s the lesson?

You need a partner goddammit. And a good one.

But according to research by eHarmony, the happiest married couples dated for approximately 25 months before getting married.

That’s a little over two years.

According to research by Match.com, women are most likely to meet their future spouse at age 25. Add two years and you’re 27.

BUT NOW YOU’RE BUSY SAVING FOR A WEDDING WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT.

The average couple is engaged for 14.5 months before getting married, and with the average Australian wedding costing $36,000 – it’s no wonder.

So, suddenly you’re 28 and a half and just married, not to mention likely bankrupt from your wedding.

Now you have just a year and a half to do the baby thing.

But… up until now we’ve not considered the prospect of anything going wrong.

What if… you lose a job? Get dumped? Do the dumping? Lose a parent? Are caring for a parent? Have a health issue? Experience mental illness?

Statistically – it’s pretty bloody likely something is going to go wrong in your 20s.

And then (no offence) but, you’re fucked.

What if your career starts to skyrocket in your late 20s, as so many women’s do? What if you’d like to get your PhD or be promoted to manager? What if you want to move to Tokyo? What if your partner’s career is skyrocketing and he’d like to wait a few years?

WHAT IF?

In conclusion – a woman has precisely four and a half weeks around the age of 28/29 to have a baby. That’s it. Fingers crossed you don’t have the flu.

If you do it during any other time, you’re doing it wrong and your ovaries will receive a talking to. 

Or – perhaps – women’s lives are messy and unpredictable. Maybe the big things can’t be planned, and we’re all just doing our best.

Whether it’s 22 or 42, that seems like a decision best left to the person doing the baby-making, don’t you think?

 

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