A first-time mum in my late 30s. So what!

To steal a phrase from my dad, I am getting really ‘cheesed-off’ with the number of social commentators, experts and general know-it-alls defaming women who start trying for their first child into their 30s.

The convenient assumption they make that gets me the most, is the one about us all being selfish, career focused women who didn’t bother to stop and think about procreating until we were almost past our sell-by dates.

Not that it is anyone’s business but mine, this is not how I happened to end up being a first-time mum past the age of 35. Given that I am writing this post, I guess I am going to have to open up a little about the reason why my daughter came along when she did.

In short, potential father number one ceased to be potential father number one, when our relationship and engagement started to fall apart when I was in my late 20s. We’d often talked about having children together and I had always said I wanted to have my family before I turned 30.

However, when his suggestion of making that start came packaged up as a way of trying to save a failing relationship, I said no. To my mind, if you are going to have children, the ideal scenario is for them to come into as happy and stable an environment as possible, whatever that may be for the parents.

Unfortunately for me, potential father number two didn’t appear in my life until several years after the first one had exited stage left. There were potential potentials in the interim, but nothing quite worked out. That’s just the way life goes sometimes. Simple.

Though in my ideal world I would have started my family years before I did, there are just as many advantages and disadvantages to being a parent in your late 30s as there are to being one in your 20s, it’s just the lists look slightly different.

From my perspective, on the Upper East Side of parenting, I am much calmer now than I was in my 20s.  I am also a more confident and self-assured version of the person I once was. I/we have financial stability and with that comes security. My ability to stay up and party all night is long gone. But then so is the desire. So, whilst it may take more out of me when a bout of sleep deprivation comes along, on the flipside, I am not hankering after a nightlife cut short by parenthood.

What I would say though is that yes, your fertility is in decline once you get past the big 3-0. It isn’t as black and white as the doom mongers make out, everybody and every body is different after all. But, if you do start trying for your first child into your 30s, be gentle on yourself if it doesn’t happen straight away.  I feel a topic for another post coming on here, so I will leave it at that for now.

But just a final word, to mothers and indeed parents, young and old. It really is who you are, not what you are, that defines you. Whether you are 16 or 36 or older when you have your first child, all that matters is that you do your best to be the best parent you can be.



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