When is the best age to have a baby?

Posted Monday 9th December 2013   By Ericka Waller

Having a baby – should you do it early and ‘get it out the way’ or should you ‘live first’ before ‘giving it all up’? Both of these are things I was told about when to have children. Neither made it sound an appealing prospect.

So when do you do it? Is there ever an ideal time to put on three-stone, give up your career, replace your wardrobe with a tatty dressing gown and pair of maternity leggings, and your designer handbag with a baby?

I had a baby after a girl at work told me she was pregnant and I felt jealous. It came from nowhere. It knocked me over like a tidal wave. Up until that point all I had cared about was having a toned stomach and faffing about in Marketing.

I was 25. The husband was all “Let’s move house first and get sorted” I was all “Shut up and get your pants off, we are doing this.”

I don’t regret having a baby when I did. Even though when I went back to work I was swiftly and sharply made redundant.

I spent the last half of my twenties pregnant or breastfeeding, while my friends got drunk and went on diving holidays. They kept up with fashions. They carried business cards. I bought a Onesie and carried nappy sacks.

Now it’s my turn. I am finally, emerging from my sleep befuddled, milky cocoon of mothering babies and noticing there is a world outside my window. (This may just be because I finally have enough time to draw the curtains.)

All my friends however, are just having their babies. I remember when they came round to see me, in my tea and spew-stained dressing gown, shuffling like a zombie to make them tea while they held the baby awkwardly, and at a distance from their posh frocks.

They left a short time later, riding off on a cloud of hairspray, independence and lots of terribly important things to do. I stood in the spot they vacated, holding the crying baby.

And now it’s the other way round.

I pop in to see their newborn bundle, while my children are at school and nursery, then nip off to the shops.

Meanwhile motherhood has robbed them of all they are. Armed with a pair of breasts and apparent ‘instinct’ they will have to find their way, as I did.