Men, don't waste a woman's time if you don't want a baby too

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Dear mothers of sons,

I'm calling from the other side. I wasn't eating toast spread with cold spaghetti with a side of lumpy Milo for breakfast this Mother's Day because I am not a mother.

I'm one of those women who always wanted children but left it too late. You're seeing more and more of us these days: the sadness, the regret, and, most of all, the self-recrimination.

Because it's definitely always the childless woman who is to blame for her plight, right? You know the type. The career woman who runs out of time, the cat lady in waiting. Certainly not the man she spent her thirties with, waiting for him to be "ready".

Here's where you can help, mothers of sons. Because you know that the ruthless career woman who forgets to have a baby is actually pretty rare. It's always more complicated than that.

For every clipboard-toting villain there are 100 young women who have a job, even a career, to pay their bills and contribute to the society we live in. Women who worry – a lot – about the biological clock, but are too responsible to ditch the job and turn a one night stand into a resentful baby-daddy. Women who can't see how they would support a child alone, so don't risk it.

Maybe they can't find a partner at all. Or they've landed a man-child: the man who is never, ever quite ready to be a father. Sure, he thinks he'd love that, one day. But not now – not when his long-term partner's biological clock is at five minutes to midnight.

Mothers of sons, this is your call to arms. If your boy is stringing along a woman like this, do the right thing. Bring up a man who understands that if you're in a relationship with a woman in her thirties who wants children, it is not fair to waste her time if you don't want a kid too – and in a timeframe that is realistic for her body.

Don't let your boy believe the fiction that babies can be put off indefinitely.


Remind him that IVF doesn't work for all couples. Is he sure he doesn't want to be a dad? Teach your son that having children is a terrifying challenge and a joy that is to be braved together, not delayed until he has stolen from someone he loves the only thing she has always wanted.

Society will never let her forget her failure to reproduce.

Look at UK Prime Minister Theresa May, recently grilled over her regrets as a childless woman. Did she ever wonder, the interviewer asked bluntly, if she would be prime minister now if she had had children?

Your son will never be asked a question like that. But as a woman you can probably imagine how it stings.

In short, mothers of sons, if there is a Peter Pan in your family, don't watch Wendy miss her chance if a child is her dream. Don't let another woman feel pitied at best, and condemned for her "misplaced priorities" at worst.

Your son's long-suffering girlfriend can't say it – she knows a man-child is entitled to flee at the slightest hint of "pressure" – but you can. Unplug his PlayStation and park the skateboard he learned to ride 30 years ago and have a word. Two even: "Grow up."

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