That's why otherwise intelligent women can seem to have very unrealistic expectations about family life. Take, for instance, Michelle Bridges, who is a fitness guru on Australian TV. This is how her life is described in a recent edition of Who:
Now, after finishing her home and turning 40 in October, she is ready for her next chapter – enjoying her happy balance of work and domestic life. She is also contemplating motherhood, which has "just been one of those things that you think you'll get around to at some point," says Bridges.
Amazing. She is turning 40 and only now "contemplating" motherhood. She apparently has little idea of the biological realities of life, let alone the social consequences of treating family formation in such a cavalier manner.
She is not alone. A 50-year-old Melbourne woman, Meagan Callaghan, wants to use IVF to have a child. Why do this at age 50? She told the Herald Sun:
Life passes by so quickly, one minute you are 20 and the next you are 50.
Having babies did not occur to her, in her busy life, until she hit 50. So now she is going to deliberately create a fatherless family as a very old mother and raise a child to whom she is not biologically related. Hardly ideal.
You would think that liberals would recognise the flaw in their life script. But listen to the reaction of columnist Alan Howe. He believes that it is a sign of liberal progress for women to leave motherhood so late:
Like so many women her age, Ms Callaghan has either been too busy, or has never met the right partner, to start a family.
We can hardly encourage women to complete their educations, enter the workforce, smash through all but the most reinforced glass ceilings, and expect otherwise.
That's not our Western way. In less tolerant lands - Afghanistan springs to mind - women are often seen as chattels and baby factories...
Mrs Smug from suburbia may well say that leaving things late is Ms Callaghan's fault and she should have been aware of her fertility.
That's nonsense; until very recently, most women have commonly been unaware of the vertiginous decline, from around their mid-30s, in their ability to have children.
Alan Howe associates motherhood with the oppression of women and careerism with their liberation. No wonder he is such a defender of the liberal life script in which motherhood is left till last. As for his claim that women have only recently been aware that fertility declines from the mid-30s, that just shows how little interest liberals have in such matters.