Thank goodness for Janet Jackson's pregnancy announcement.

I was beginning to tire of the unrelenting discussion of Madonna's New York Met Gala outfit, and what women should and shouldn't wear in their 50s. Now we get to spend a whole nine months talking about whether women should or shouldn't get pregnant in their 50s, which is a lot more interesting.

The squeaky wheels of concern are already turning, of course.

"Have a really happy 50th Janet - and welcome to motherhood" read the heart warming headline in yesterday's Advertiser, along with a happy photo of the pop star and her husband Wissam al Mana.

Then directly underneath it was an article by Dr Vamse Thalluri of local fertility clinic Repromed detailing all the ways in which it was a medical anomaly, and outlining all the health risks of being an "older mum".

Cheers for the buzz kill, doctor.

Says Dr Thalluri: "it is unlikely that Janet Jackson has conceived naturally, and equally unlikely she has even conceived via IVF using her own eggs". So I guess the best things in life maybe aren't free after all?

He wasn't the only one. Most outlets that reported the story of Jackson's pregnancy made sure to include at least a few lines from a doctor or fertility expert warning other women of her age not to expect the same outcome.

They're all right, of course. A woman's fertility naturally starts to decline in her late 30s, and drops even further once she enters her 40s.

I just find it odd that people feel the need to constantly remind us.

I mean, you don't see this sort of thing with other medical marvels or human achievements.

When Kylie Minogue beat breast cancer, we didn't get doctors warning other cancer sufferers that they might not be so lucky (pardon the pun).

When Alicia Vikander won the best actress Oscar at this year's Academy Awards we didn't see any headlines reading "Just a reminder: you'll probably never win one of these".

And when our Olympians inevitably win gold in Rio, I'm fairly sure experts won't be out there warning us all that swimming and running faster than everyone else in the world is statistically unlikely for most mortals, and that if people ever want to win a medal they should really start thinking about it in high school.

Dr Thalluri says "many women are still unaware" that their fertility begins to decline past the age of 37.

As a 35-year-old childless woman I can say: believe me, we're aware. We're aware because the world won't stop telling us, in articles like this, often coincidentally timed around mother's day to remind all us non-mothers to hurry up and get a move on before it's too late.

I'm positive there isn't a woman alive in her 30s, and even 20s, who isn't aware that "the clock is ticking", even if she doesn't want children.

Tomorrow, on our national day of giving-mum-a-bunch-of-carnations-you-bought-at-the-servo-at-the-last-minute, that feeling will be even keener for many.

So while we're all taking a day to celebrate mothers and the amazing things they do, let's perhaps also remember that motherhood is a choice, and a choice some women don't get to make at all.

And let's remember that while motherhood is absolutely worthy of a full day of appreciation, it's not the be all and end all for women.

As Jackson sang "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone", but the journey to motherhood  is complex - so maybe stop reminding us, just for one day.


First published in The Advertiser on May 7, 2016. CLICK HERE to view the original article.