NADINE DORRIES: Freeze your eggs? No, have children younger10/03/2023
NADINE DORRIES: Freeze your eggs? No, have children younger
Last week, a burly delivery driver asked me to help him unload several heavy sacks of compost from the back of his van.
As I grudgingly got out my wheelbarrow, I wondered: Since when did equality among the sexes slide into blokes thinking, ‘OK, but women have to do the heavy lifting, too’?
We’ve come a long way, us girls. About 150 years ago, we couldn’t buy a house if we were married. The Equal Pay Act became law only as late as 1970 (and didn’t come into effect for five years).
Those and other hard-won victories — for equal opportunities for promotion, for proper paid maternity leave and for the right to return to work with part-time and flexible hours — all really matter to me.
When I established my business, Company Kids, we worked with blue-chip firms to help them implement family-friendly policies to encourage mothers back into the workplace.
NADINE DORRIES: Why are we encouraging women to put off starting the most rewarding journey of their lives until they’re older? (stock image)
When I read in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday that the UK boss of the pharmaceutical giant Merck was encouraging women to freeze their eggs before the age of 25, I felt a twinge of discomfort (stock image)
So when I read in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday that the UK boss of the pharmaceutical giant Merck was encouraging women to freeze their eggs before the age of 25, I felt a twinge of discomfort — and not just from the arthritis that began in my neck when I was 50.
Doina Ionescu revealed that she is urging her own 22-year-old daughter to freeze her eggs now, and would advise any young woman to do the same.
As Doina pointed out: ‘The younger you are, the better chance you have at having a healthy child… The age of the eggs is really crucial.’
But why are we encouraging women to put off starting the most rewarding journey of their lives until they’re older?
Haven’t we got our priorities all wrong? The truth is that instead of telling young women to freeze their eggs, we should be helping them to have their children much earlier.
The number of babies born in England and Wales has dropped to its lowest level in two decades, storing up all kinds of problems for society — not least relying on a shrinking number of workers to pay the pensions of a growing number of retirees.
As every parent knows, looking after a baby is hard work, but pretty straightforward: it’s later on that things start to become more complicated. Who wants to deal with a stroppy 15-year-old when you’re 60 and browsing cruise brochures?
It seems like madness to be encouraging women to have children in their 40s, risking the chance of leaving relatively young children motherless.
Freeze your eggs? No, have children younger, says Nadine Dorries
Most women who have babies in their early 20s will get to spend many years with them — and will be much more helpful as grandmothers, too.
Women giving birth at 45 can expect their own grandchildren to be left with only a faint memory of them — if they’re even around to meet them at all.
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In some ways, it’s not surprising that so many young women have chosen to delay having children. The cost of everything — food, energy and other bills — has made being a stay-at-home mum a luxury.
It’s much harder for young people to get on the housing ladder than it used to be, and many remain in flatshares into their 30s — not the best environment in which to bring a baby into the world.
And when people do have children these days, the cost of caring for them further ties the parents to the workplace. They have to work longer hours to be able to pay other people to look after their children.
The Government’s policy of 15 hours of free childcare per week for two-year-olds, which comes in next year, is well-intentioned — and necessary, given that we have some of the highest childcare costs in Europe. But it’s too piecemeal.
The best policy always was and still is to provide mothers with full tax relief on childcare.
We also need to return to the ethos that being a mother is one of the most important jobs in society. We don’t talk enough about this — and most politicians, with some honourable exceptions, are scared to do so.
They worry that they’ll be seen as politically incorrect, or even anti-feminist.
That is a sad fact, and one I’ll leave you to ponder as I lug another enormous bag of compost into the garden.
I thought Margate was a sleepy seaside resort which saw as much action as a WI meeting. How shocked I am to discover that it is the ‘polyamory’ capital of England.
This means more people are having romantic relationships with more than one person there than anywhere else.
My image of gently rolling sand dunes has now been replaced with one of raving nightclubs and gardens full of pampas grass. I’ll stick to Ibiza — it sounds safer.
Sparkling Shirley’s the fairest of them all
Strictly is back on our TV screens – a spinning glitterball of glamour.
Yet controversy has already surfaced after Shirley Ballas, my favourite judge, was criticised by some viewers for being ‘sexist’ when she gave some young female contestants low scores.
I’m struggling to comprehend this. Shirley is a decorated former champion and her entire life has been spent dancing.
When scoring performances, not only does she give the best advice on how the contestants can improve – she often stands and demonstrates the moves herself -she’s also scrupulously fair.
As Shirley now sparkles at 63, I have to ask: are these criticisms ageist? Why can’t her armchair critics stop complaining and just enjoy the show?
As Shirley now sparkles at 63, I have to ask: are these criticisms ageist?
Charging rows that can spark real road rage
As a former electric vehicle (EV) owner, I’m not surprised that marshals are being brought in to oversee charging points at motorway service-stations amid ‘public disorder’ from ‘angry and stressed’ drivers.
Although I never succumbed to ‘charge rage’ myself, I was always incredibly irritated by those who’d plug in their car and then disappear into the service station for more than an hour — far longer than they needed.
The answer, of course, is for the service stations to invest in proper high-speed charging units which are easily accessible to ease the pressure and, hopefully, the bad tempers, too.
Is the party over for Keir and Davey?
I spent one day in Manchester this week — and I’ve never experienced a party-conference vibe like it.
One delegate told me that sitting in the main hall felt like sitting in the dentist’s waiting room.
MPs were thin on the ground and even the journalists seemed half-hearted. It’s Rishi Sunak’s first and very likely his last conference as Prime Minister — yet there is almost no love on the streets for Keir Starmer or Lib Dem leader Ed Davey. I never thought I’d say this, but maybe we need a General Election, sooner rather than later.
I’ve turned an old Belfast sink into a miniature garden pond for my granddaughter. While buying the oxygenating plants, I also purchased two little minnows to pop into the water.
I’m sure they’re still there, but they are so small I haven’t been able to spot them since. ‘Imaginary friends’ is going to take on a whole new meaning as I try to persuade a two-year-old that the fish really do exist.
I’ve turned an old Belfast sink into a miniature garden pond for my granddaughter (stock image)
Bring in school phone ban now
What a relief that the Government has promised to ban mobile phones in schools.
I implemented a similar approach at family meal times some years ago, and met with strong resistance from my adult daughters. But everyone now realises that phones were invading our quality time together.
In classrooms, the devil will be in the detail. We need to ensure this is not a headline-grabber for this week’s conference, but a real policy that can start with immediate effect.
Today’s literary gem
‘She was of the stuff of which great men’s mothers are made. She was… hated at tea parties, feared in shops and loved at crises.’
Thomas Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd
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