Education and success = childlessness and too much choice?

Motherhood gets a lot of airtime on this blog. Whether we’re pondering about how to maintain mummy friendswhy motherhood scares us, or the selfish truth about baby making, the reality is that the three little pigs are a childless lot. We’re still sitting on the sidelines, speculating as to when, whether, if, and we’re already well into our mid 30’s.

Last week the UK’s Daily Mail published an article about a shift change in British society, driven by the fact that women (particularly middle class women) now have so much choice that post education they throw themselves into their careers, and find that at the cost of career success, they leave starting a family too late – i.e. when they are no longer fertile.

It is certainly a shame that “children tend to do better with educated mothers, and better-informed mothers are more likely to think harder about how many children they can afford, rather than having lots they cannot provide for” but it would seem that with education comes a rising propensity to push motherhood to one side.

I can certainly attest that many of my (currently childless) friends who are indeed educated and successful in their careers, would be brilliant mothers. Kind, caring, fun, with a wealth of experience, and able to cook, clean and entertain with the best of them – these women not only have the financial means to ensure that they could support themselves on maternity leave, and afford a child, they’re also smart enough to make solid choices and give their kids a great head start in life.

So for those of us who haven’t made the conscious choice yet to not have children, what does all of this mean?

When I shared the article with a friend today, the response I got was “are you broody?”

Well, no, not exactly. But surely that’s part of the problem, no?

My (male) friend’s response? “Plenty of time yet. Got at least another 5 years before you have to start worrying.”

Say what? Exactly when did we start believing that conceiving when you’re nearly forty would be fine?

Of course not everyone shares the same opinion (least of all not my aunties, who are trying to “warm up my womb” by banning me from consuming cold drinks first thing in the morning) but it’s the combination of choice, freedom, and blasé attitudes that have made me honestly believe that it’s ok to let it ride. That we’ll be ok because everyone is having babies later in life, so obviously it must be fine.

I know that’s not the right attitude. I know that “sooner rather than later” should  be the adage that I apply. But it’s just that I’ve already booked holidays in Jamaica and Russia in August…oh, and I’m going to Berlin, and I’ve got a hen’s party coming up, and I really haven’t been at this job that long, and to be honest, I really don’t want to stop eating rare meat and sushi yet. And look, the ladies in that article were well into their 40’s whereas I’m still young – right? RIGHT?

Baby Max (April 2012) 6mths old

Source: Daily Mail


4 thoughts on “Education and success = childlessness and too much choice?

  1. If you’re 35 and over and pregnant they refer to it as a ‘geriatric pregnancy’. I’ve been broody since I was 20 and when I found that out it terrified me.

    On a related note, I get frustrated when women/couples aren’t honest about (in)fertility issues. I don’t mean that I need to know the details or when they’re going through it, more that I’d like people to be more open about it after the fact. Even I find it oddly hypocritical that I feel this way because I value my privacy more than anyone else I know. What bothers me is the illusion that getting pregnant is just a easy as making the decision to start a family and not that it can sometimes be a long, traumatic, expensive process.

    • Couldn’t agree more Lizzie! I was actually about to launch into a rant about wanting to know what the stats for IVF are now vs 10 years ago, but thought that might be a little too much for one post. So many people have issues but it seems to be often swept under the carpet.

      • There seem to be so many areas relating to motherhood that people just don’t seem to feel comfortable being completely honest and open about. It seems that it’s more important to show the facade of motherhood being the best thing ever, that you are the perfect mother, that your children are the most important thing above everything else, that you’re not having issues conceiving, etc. because nobody wants to admit that sometimes they wish that they didn’t have kids at all, that they let their kids watch hours of television each day, that they wish that they could spend money on something for themselves, that conceiving is as easy as having sex all the time when in fact there’s so much pressure. It’s weird.

  2. Pingback: Happy Mother’s Day! | Laugh Lots, Travel Often

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