At one stage I had two under two, and now I've added another into the mix, and honestly, I am a shell of myself. A happy, joyful but completely exhausted shell. I'm in my mid 30's and I can't even imagine how much more tiring it would be to have babies in my mid 40's. I consciously made the decision to have my children before the age of 40, and I consider myself lucky that I had that option. For many, it is not the first choice to have children later in life - it is their only hope.
Nobody should be given a limit on when they can create a life or how old they have to be, should they? But that is exactly what the Irish Government is considering.
It is part of the draft bill for putting in place assisted reproduction treatment for couples struggling with their fertility. The Irish Times reports that the Government is planning to ban the treatment for women over the age of 47.
Some have described this as "discriminatory" because there will not be a maximum age limit for men. In the UK, there is no upper age limit but in general, the NHS will only really support treatment for women up to the age of 42 while in Spain many clinics treat women up to the age of 50.
Why are we having children later in life? Well, we are living longer, we have access to better educational and career opportunities, and contraception has improved. However, as a woman gets older, the risks in pregnancy increase and the odds of a healthy pregnancy decrease - that's why an age limit is being considered. The problem is that if that the state only funded younger women, it would drive many older couples abroad to avail of treatment which is not ideal for many.
David Walsh is a doctor with the Sims IVF clinic, he told the Irish Times that an upper age limit for men was necessary. “Older men are less fertile but they can father a child into their sixties or seventies,” he said. “An age limit on men would ignore biology.” Counselling will also be made compulsory for all couples receiving IVF.
Now celebrities are being blamed for giving women the false impression that it is easy to get pregnant over the age of 35 without fertility treatment. There have been calls on high profile figures in the public eye to be more open about the help they may have had to conceive which may discourage women to delay motherhood.
I am 'mum-friends' with a lot of women in their mid 40's who have recently become new mothers. Some volunteer the information that they had IVF - some don't feel like it is something they need to discuss, some even had a surprise natural pregnancy. Like all my mum pals, all are wonderfully conscientious and fantastic parents. I can't imagine having that yearning to have a child and being told that I can't have the support of the state.
The average maternal age has increased consistently for the past number of years but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Research from University of Social Studies in Denmark shows that older mothers are less likely to punish their children while raising them and that the children have fewer behavioural, social and emotional difficulties.
We would be interested to hear your take on this issue - do you think there should be an age limit on motherhood?