Doesn't Celine Dion look incredible? OK forget look, doesn't she sound incredible? She's in love with her new babies. “They're so cute it's incredible. When we look at them we can't believe it,” she says of newborn Nelson and Eddy.
A year further down the road, my friend, journalist Jacinta Tynan dared to utter similar shameful statements in a weekly newspaper about loving motherhood and her one year old baby, Jasper and was met by what felt like a wall of frankly nasty derision. Seeing the challenges of parenthood as more than bearable in comparison to the sheer joy of the experience was something that seemed incomprehensible to many of her readers.
And as I sit here in my surgery a pattern has started to emerge. Mums who conceive easily and young find parenthood tougher than those who waited- either because they had to due to infertility, or because they weren't in a good relationship or because their careers were still on the upslide or a combination of all three. Teething, feeling fat, traumatic breast feeding failures and reactions to vaccinations seem to hit them harder.
Older mums who have kicked various goals in their careers and have waited for the most perfect Mr Right or the very best IVF guru are often so deliriously thrilled to have a child at all that no night long guard duty for a feverish ear infected toddler or mid supermarket tantrum can quite take the gloss off the whole package.
I was 25 with two children under two and I felt run over by a train. In my 40s now I look back with a fair amount of regret that I didn’t stop and smell the coffee a little more and just relax and enjoy the ride. Instead I got bogged down on inane things like routine, bedtime, developmental milestones. Deprived of a career and adult stimulation and left to the ravages of Oprah and daytime Soapies, I think I lost my marbles a bit. I couldn’t wait to get back to work.
This week I vaccinated a little six month old girl who is the sweetest most placid little thing you’ve ever seen. Her mum is still in awe that she produced such a miracle at age 42. Her daughter can do no wrong. She doubts another miracle is on the cards for her so he’s determined to make the most of every second with her bundle. Rather than close her eyes and wait for each day to be over as I did, she is trying to capture every second and draw it out.
Maybe Jacinta and Celine have the same sense of amazement as my grateful patient because for very different reasons their parenting aspirations were on hold until they were old enough and patient enough to really, really love it. It is rolling the dice because older women are much, much less fertile than their younger counterparts but there’s a definite upside.