The reality is that a woman's best time to marry and start a family is in her twenties. But women are being brought up to believe that they should focus instead on an independent girl lifestyle of careers, travel and casual relationships.
So reality is stubbornly resisted. Which leads to the kind of attitude reported by journalist Lisa Pryor:
Don't leave it too late to have babies, girls. There must hardly be a young women out there who has missed out on this warning. It is a lesson pressed on them 100 times over, in the media and over the dinner table.
This generation of young women will not make the mistake some older women made, of believing fertility was simply a matter of mind over ovaries, that if you were smart about it you could give birth to healthy babies well into your forties, just like the celebrities in the magazines, with their dark glasses and boisterous twins and giant cups of takeaway coffee.
This myth has been put to rest only to be replaced by another one I keep hearing from women in their twenties. It goes like this: "If I leave it too late to have babies of my own it is OK because I'll just adopt, which is better anyway because there are so many babies in the Third World who need a home."
Hollywood actresses have a lot to answer for.
I couldn't help but think of the mindset of the young women saying such things. They are so resistant to the idea that they might marry in a timely way, that they are willing to contemplate the option of raising a child from another country and culture when they are middle-aged.
As Lisa Pryor points out, even this is not an easy thing to achieve. Most countries won't allow adoptions of babies to older women or to single women and international law requires that babies first be offered for adoption in their own countries. Therefore adoptions are rare in Australia:
Additionally, and for good reason, the Hague Convention seeks to have children adopted in the country of origin before overseas adoption is considered. So it is not surprising that in 2008-09 there were just 93 inter-country adoptions across the whole of NSW, with an additional 20 babies adopted locally.
Marrying and starting a family in your 20s ought to be considered normal. There are women in our society who now have to find their way back to normal. I can only hope they get there in time.