Fertility over career? Why I agree with Kirstie Allsopp
When I graduated University at the grand old age of 20, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My unrealistic dream of becoming a West End Star had been squashed numerous times over my three years at uni, and as they sing in Avenue Q “What do you do with a BA in English?”
The recession was grumbling away in the background, just about to strike, and I knew I had to find myself a job before it truly hit, so I fell into a Customer Service role for a well-known publication. Hating it doesn’t quite describe how I felt in that job, but I did it for 18 months and learnt some valuable life lessons (mostly about how not to treat Customer Service Assistants when you call up to complain).
I then moved to the public sector – why? Well, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life career-wise, but I knew that I wanted to have children at some point in the future, and had heard that the maternity package was good. I worked my way up the ladder, moving from pay band to pay band fairly swiftly, enjoying it at the time, but always feeling a little held back and my creativity stifled.
Then I fell pregnant just before I turned 25. It was a surprise, but a very welcome one.
Whilst I had a baby baking away inside me I knew things would have to change once she arrived. My role was fairly stressful and I often took the stress home with me; this is something I didn’t want for our future family. I also knew that I wouldn’t want to work full time anymore.
Having always been a creative soul, and having never really been career-minded, I started to think about jobs I could possibly do with a baby around. I started this blog to help me get back into writing, something I hadn’t done much of since graduating, and found ways I could express myself creatively again.
Motherhood, and maternity leave, gave me that distance from the workplace to reassess my career choices. We come out of University and College so young, and a lot of us with no real idea about which career path to take, that having this time has been priceless for my career. I’m now working as a Freelance Blogger and Social Media Manager, as well as having just set up my own small business selling new and pre-loved children’s clothing. None of these things would have happened if I hadn’t had Busby, if I hadn’t had that time away from the normality of work to realise my full potential.
Giving birth, Motherhood, makes you realise how strong you truly are as a person.
Kirstie has been accused of an archaic way of thinking, of going against her feminist views, but I agree with her. Ok, she may be a little unrealistic thinking that everyone leaving college will get a job without any further qualifications – not everyone has the contacts that her family has. And not everyone wants to settle down before the age of 30. But her point about “career followed by children” makes perfect sense to me, as I’ve talked about above. Also your 20s are the optimal age to have a child, not just for fertility, but for energy levels; I can’t even begin to imagine how tired parents in their late 30s must feel with a newborn, because at the age of 25 I felt dead on my feet…
We need to remember that everyone is different; I have friends for whom their career is everything and children don’t even feature yet – we are all driven by different forces. All I know is that until having Busby a career was never really been a big feature in my life, but Motherhood has helped me realise my full potential, and has given me that well-needed time and perspective to assess and decide on a suitable, enjoyable career path.