I WAS 35 when I became a mother.

Throughout my twenties the idea of becoming a parent never entered my head.

Despite being in a steady relationship, at no time did I, or my partner - who later became my husband - ever consider having a baby. We were quite happy as we were.

Unusually, none of my friends had babies, so for many years my life was completely devoid of baby talk.

It wasn’t as though any of us were career women, putting off having kids to run blue chip companies and amass a small fortune. We just bumbled along in our mediocre jobs, enjoying life, with the freedom to do as we pleased in our spare time.

It was only in my thirties that I started to ask myself, did I or didn’t I want to have a child? I realised that I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity, as it was the only one I would get. My easy-going husband would have been happy either way, so - with no guarantee of success - we gave it a go.

My daughters were born two years apart, so at the age of 40 I was a mother of a five year-old and a three-year-old.

Both times, in hospital, I was classed as an ‘older mother’. In fairness, I was the oldest on the ward. I suppose I was lucky with that label - one of my friends, who gave birth at 36, was tagged ‘geriatric’.

Yet more than 20 years on, giving birth at this age is common. Almost half of women in England and Wales are childless on their 30th birthday, research from the Office of National Statistics reveals. This compares to 38 per cent of their mothers’ generation - mine - and 21 per cent of their grandmothers’.

Mothers are now older than ever. The average age of women who gave birth in 2019 reached a record-high of 30.7 years old and The average age of a father is 33.6 years, also a record high since 2018.

There is a lot of negative press surrounding older mums, with the increased risk of health problems - for mother and child - tiredness and being set in your ways being top of the list.

Being a parent is not an exact science at any age, but being an older mothe’ does have its advantages.

As you descend into middle age and start to slow down, having children gives you a new lease of life. It opens up a totally alien world of nappy changes, night feeds, potty training, Mothercare and everything else that suddenly disrupts your previously well-structured life. Yes, it is exhausting, both physically and mentally, but if you have spent many years without children its is also new and stimulating.

I know one thing, I’d have struggled to knuckle down to child-rearing in my twenties, when the idea of spending every night at home spooning Calpol down a baby’s throat would have been unthinkable.

I wouldn’t have wanted my relatively free and easy, fun-filled twenties to be filled with angst about school catchments and SATs. A decade later and you are ready to curtail your social life.

I admit, being older has rendered me out of touch. My husband and I struggled to help with homework - the way subjects like maths are taught having totally changed since our day.

I even enjoyed their teenage years, although it wasn’t all plain sailing and we had plenty of fall-outs.

There is one major disadvantage to having children later in life. I’d love to be a grandmother but if my daughters wait until their mid-thirties to have families, I’ll be in my seventies – not an age you want to plunge from a height into a ball pool or race around the garden piggy-backing a two-year-old.