The Pre-Baby Checklist
“I’m pregnant!”, announced my twenty-something best friend excitedly down the phone earlier this week.
“I’m so happy for you”, I told her, and I really am – but, at the same time, I recognised that our lives are suddenly headed in very different directions. She will be giving up work to focus on having a family whilst I feel that my career has only just begun.
Babies, in fact, have been popping up in conversation everywhere recently (and not just because of Kate Middleton). Only a few weeks ago I was out for dinner with a date (a slightly older man) and his friends. As the wine menu was passed around, one of his friends, aged 25, told us she was no longer drinking and looked meaningfully around the table. Yes, she was pregnant, and the whole evening was spent talking about babies. In fact, the only question asked of me all night was whether I wanted children, to which I joked that I might adopt one from Malawi in a couple of years. It didn’t go down well.
The truth is, aged 27, I see babies as belonging to a very distant future. Before then I just have too much to do. And so today, as I looked at our new Henry Moore drawing of a mother and child in the gallery, I began to compile my pre-baby list:
- Find a boyfriend – a decent one, no more city banker playboy types.
- Marry the boyfriend (call me old fashioned, but I want to be a bride before bringing children into the world).
- Move into a baby-friendly house – preferably with a large garden.
- Visit at least three of the places on my adventurous travel list (I can’t imagine trekking the Atlas Mountains or partying in Vegas with a baby on board).
- Firmly establish my career (long hours expected).
- Settle into a job (after a few promotions) which offers good maternity leave and to which I can come back to.
This list, whether realistic or not, confirmed that I definitely don’t see a baby on my horizon any time soon. Speaking to many of my friends, it seems that they feel exactly the same. This is reflected in the fact that 30 is the new average age at which millennial women conceive their first child. The shared feeling was that we have worked extremely hard to start the careers we want (postgraduate study, unpaid internships, part-time jobs to make ends meet) and we are not ready to give that all up for a baby.
Well, not just yet.