Why I am grateful to Amanda Gillies and other women like her

An emotional Amanda Gillies shared her struggle with childlessness on Tuesday's AM Show.

An emotional Amanda Gillies shared her struggle with childlessness on Tuesday’s AM Show.

Amanda Gillies shared with a T.V audience her experience of being unable to have a child. When I read about it I immediately remembered an older fellow teacher at Hutt Valley High School who shared her difficulties conceiving with me. At the time I had been married 4 years and was 27 years old. In my typical black and white way, I had decided that I would think about having a baby when I turned 30 as that seemed like a good round number.
Back then I really didn’t understand that biologically I was already past my prime for baby making. In modern times women have so many more options available to them but biologically our bodies have not evolved. We are still at our best for baby-making when we are very young by modern standards and we are often not financially or emotionally ready to start a family that early even though that is what our bodies are designed to do.


I felt a sudden, overwhelming kinship with Amanda Gillies when I saw her crying on the telly on Tuesday.

Finally, here was someone else who wasn’t too proud to say “I made a mistake with the whole baby timing thing and now I can’t fix it.”

I still flinched when she told young women not to wait, to have babies now while they can. I’ve thought that myself often enough, but never dared say it. Firstly, no one wants to hear that baloney when they’re 22 and have their whole life ahead of them. Secondly, because, hello, where’s your feminism at? Thirdly, because opinions about children are like certain body parts: everyone has one.

From my perspective – she’s right, though. And I want to save others from the unbearable crappiness of missing out…


I don’t remember the name of the Home economics teacher who firmly told me not to wait. I am not a person who takes well to being told what to do but she shared with me how what was once the baby room in her husband and her home had become the storage room as it hurt too much to keep hoping. She had waited until her early thirties to start trying and now in her forties, she had given up hope. I visited her home once to borrow a ladder and it was in the old baby’s room and I saw the pain in her eyes. Because she was brave enough to share her pain with me she was instrumental in changing my plans.

Ironically Cam got me pregnant the first month we tried. When I visited the obstetrician I got the shock of my life when he described me as an older mother. I was smugly telling him that I was only 27 and he told me that I was past my prime. It was then that I realised what a huge favour the Home Economics teacher had done me.


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