My mum was 25 when she had me. To me, at 30, it seems ludicrously young. By the time she was my age she was a full-time mum with two girls, and an expat wife to boot – we spent five years living in Europe, following my dad’s job.
I think giving up her career and her freedom to raise kids while she was so young was probably harder for my mum than she has ever let on.
But her youth was always complimented by my friends’ mothers, and I was proud of her. She listened to Bjork and Radiohead at full blast and wore clothes from Karen Millen (when it was still edgy) and big stompy boots and let me drink Smirnoff Ice. One time she even got stoned. My friends’ mums listened to The Beatles and wore clothes from Marks & Spencer and made them do their homework at the same time every day.
J’s parents were the other extreme – although his mum was 30 when she had him, his dad was 40. He remembers his friends all being better at football than him because they spent weekends playing with their dads (probably on t’moors, for he is a proud Yorkshireman) – but his dad was too old and couldn’t join in.
One of the over-arching themes of my wee-hours-of-the-morning, can’t-sleep angst sessions is that, by the time the infertility tests are done and a diagnosis is decided upon and a cure is administered and miscarriages have been had (see “translocation”) and IVF has been carried out and a child is produced, I’ll be old. I’ll be an old parent. A geriatric mother.
What’s worse is, J will be old too. He will be too ancient and creaky to play football with his sons. If that happens, it will break my heart.
Let’s face it: our combined gene pools are hardly likely to create the next David Beckham. But if they’re not going to spend their school football lessons crumpling like Bambi every time they are faced with kicking a ball, these kids are going to need all the help they can get. Geriatric parenting isn’t an option.