Yesterday my friend Vicki told me she’s absolutely exhausted. Her baby girl is one and isn’t sleeping through the night, and her little boy is seven but still climbs into his mum and dad’s bed in the small hours. ‘The other night he even asked to switch on the TV so he can watch Ben 10 – at 4 in the morning,’ she yawned. ‘I just wish I could have a lie-in.’
I know exactly how she feels, because my son’s dad and I spent the first year of our little boy’s life permanently tired. Nighttimes became a constant round of rocking, walking, singing (usually Abba’s I have a Dream – don’t ask me why, it just seemed appropriate).
We tried everything. Car rides, stories in a soothing voice – nothing worked. He was 15 months before he slept through, and that was only after three nights of sleep therapy. (You make sure they’re fed, burped and dry, then you leave them for 5 minutes to cry, then 10, and so on until finally they stop making a fuss when you leave the room and drift off by themselves. It’s torture and you have to warn the neighbours in case they call social services, but it worked for us.)
Of course being a mum is the most amazing, wonderful gift – but the fact is, whether you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s, and whether your child is a toddler, pre-schooler or teenager, you need heaps of energy and patience.
So it’s beyond me why anyone would want to carry and give birth to their first child at the age of 66.
But that’s exactly what businesswoman Elizabeth Adeney is doing. Her baby is due next month.
Maybe it’s that she felt something was missing from her life – or she realises she’s running out of time and wants to leave a lasting legacy. (She was too old to adopt in the UK – presumably she was too old to adopt from abroad, too?). She has reportedly said she wants someone to ‘leave my money to.’ Well, I’m sure there are plenty of children’s charities who would have been grateful for a donation – and besides, she does have stepchildren from a former marriage.
By all accounts she’s financially secure, and no doubt her child will have the best nannies and schools that money can buy.
But however fit you are, deciding to have a child knowing full well you’ll be in to your 80s – if you’re lucky – by the time they’re a teenager seems pretty selfish to me.
written by Liz Jarvis