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Are you a Twit? (THAT'S TEENAGE WOMAN IN HER THIRTIES); More women are following the likes of Cameron Diaz and putting off starting a family - because there are too many other things they want to do first. But do they risk missing out?

Byline: Laura Kemp

Recently single Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz is a typical Twit. At 36, she says she doesn't want kids - yet.

Just like men with a Peter Pan syndrome who don't want to grow up, Teenage Women In Their Thirties are putting serious relationships and parenthood on hold to hang on to the freedom and fun they remember from their teens.

But while men can still father children in retirement, women can only press the snooze button on their biological clocks for so long.

Doctors recently suggested women should have babies between 20 and 35 to avoid a higher chance of miscarriage - or missing out on motherhood completely.

Cameron will probably be OK, with access to the best medical care that money can buy. She says she could "be the next octomum" or "adopt half-a-dozen kids". But it might not be quite so easy for most of us.

Mandish Dhanjal, a consultant obstetrician who has studied the trend for older motherhood, says: "If you look at mothers over 35, in the mid80s about 8% of women who got pregnant were over 40, whereas now that has more than doubled to 19%."

And figures from the Office for National Statistics showed an increase of almost 50% from 10 years ago in women over 40 having babies.

Although still relatively small, the risk of medical complications in pregnancy is up to five times higher for women in their 40s than for those in their 20s.

Cardiff mum-of-two Jane Marsh enjoyed the high life before having kids at 39 and 41. "I never even thought about having kids until I was in my late 30s. I was just enjoying life too much, working, going out and travelling when I had the chance. I don't regret waiting to have my family. I met my husband at 36 and decided to give parenthood a go. It felt like a natural progression."

But why do so many women put it off? Celebrity older mums - such as Nicole Kidman, who had her first aged 41 and Mariella Frostrup who had two at the age of 41 and 43 - may be affecting women's views, according to Miss Dhanjal.

But social psychologist Dr Sarah Wheatley, who is 35 and expecting her first baby, says the Pill is the key. "It all boils down to contraception. There's no need to have children now if you don't want them," she says.

"Women are more aware of their choices." So what impact will Twits have on society in the future?

Dr Wheatley argues the decision to have children later could be positive. "It can only do good for a child to be wanted and be born out of love."

And fertility expert Laurence Shaw says: "Nobody is suggesting you can't have children at 37 or even 42.

"But for women in their early 30s, who want to hold off on kids, it would be worth freezing their eggs. In every other aspect of life we're thinking ahead - pensions, Isas, all sorts. So why not with our fertility?"

So are you a Twit? Take our quiz to find out...

( 1 ) Who is your ideal man?

a) That hot twentysomething at the gym.

b) Brad Pitt.

c) Your husband.

(2) What is your favourite way to spend an evening?

a) Meet friends after work for cocktails. followed by a meal with a hot twentysomething, drinks in a trendy bar, then a taxi back to his place then back to my own bed in the early hours.

b) Doesn't matter aslong as I'm hand-in-hand with my man.

c) Takeaway so I don't have to cook, a DVD, then an early night so I can catch up on sleep - preferably with no funny business.

(3) What is your favourite film?

a) I don't go to the cinema - I'd rather be out meeting people.

b) The English Patient, it's sooo romantic.

c) Anything but rom-coms.

(4) What kind of wedding day do you dream about?

a) I don't.

b) White meringue, thousands of photos, a hotel reception and a slushy first dance.

c) Pass - we tied the knot years ago and I can barely remember it now because I was so drunk.

(5) Where do you go on your holidays?

a) Everywhere! Last year, I stayed in a Bedouin camp in the Moroccan mountainsand clubbed in Ibiza. Next week, I'm trekking in Mongolia.

b) A secluded Greek island with my lover.

c) CenterParcs so the kids can wear themselves out.

(6) Do you want babies?

a) No way, having kids would stop me going out, travelling the world and would ruin my fun.

b) Four girls, four boys.

c) I've already got two and that's quite enough, thank you very much.

(7) You're husband mate, life and patches Laughter

Where do you see yourself in 40 years' time?

a) Backpacking in get Thailand with a toyboy.

b) Surrounded by grandchildren.

c) Dead.

How did you do?

Mostly As Are you Cameron Diaz in disguise? You are a Twit. You live it up in style and love it. You have no ties and fill your days and nights to the max. Life is for living - not hanging about for a decent man to show up. And if one does, he'll have to fit in with you.

Mostly Bs The complete opposite of a Twit. You crave commitment, heaps of babies and to live happily ever after - you're a romantic at heart. The mostimportant thing is finding a soul mate, getting married, settingup home then churning out lots of children.

Mostly Cs a realist. Your is your best you have a great with a couple of kids get through the bad together. is the bestmedicine when life does tough.


OLDER MUMS: Nicole and Mariella
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2009
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