Episode description

This episode is all about breaking the myth that a woman cannot conceive beyond a certain age.

Modern day evidence states that she certainly CAN!

A content warning that this episode discusses pregnancy loss. 

Our guest – Sunobha Nair-Bajaj is a loud and proud 35yr old woman and now is a new mumma in the town. Sunobha lives in Perth with her husband and young daughter.

Produced by Chris Mallika Bhadra. You can find more of Chris’s media projects at:


The following transcript has been automatically generated and may contain errors.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:00:19] Hello and welcome to another episode of Stories of Community Resilience by three Triple Z. I’m Chris malika Bhadra. And today or tonight, depending on whichever part of the world you’re listening to us from, I’ll be talking about something that’s very, very relevant. In fact, I’ll be talking to a guest and we’ll be trying together to break a myth, which is around the fact that can women conceive after a certain age. A lot of people talk about this. A lot of people have certain facts and myths around that. But today, we are trying to just scientifically trying to address the fact because my guest, we share a long history, but I’ll come to that later. But before I introduce her, I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting tonight, the people of the Kulin Nation. I would also like to pay my respect to the elders past, present and emerging. So the guest I have with me tonight, I think we know each other since time immemorial. I’ve forgotten the year when we kind of started to getting to know each other. We are schoolmates, and now we are in the same country. And now she’s a young mother. So I’m very, very pleased to be talking to Mr. Bajaj. So Nova is a loud and proud 35 year old. She’s very, very easy going witty, and she’s now a new mother in the town. She is joining us from Perth. On that note of a very good evening. How are you doing?

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:01:37] I’m good, Chris. How are you?

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:01:39] Not too bad. I’m excited to be talking to you because we keep talking in and out. But talking to a friend with such a long history on these important topics always excites me. And thank you.

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:01:49] Go back from 1992 if I’m not wrong. That’s where we first met. Oh, my God.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:01:57] You. You make me sound old now. So anyway, let’s let’s let’s cut that here and come back to the topic. First of all, congratulations. So for all our listeners again, so Nova has just given birth to a beautiful young daughter. How old is your daughter now?

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:02:12] Six weeks now.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:02:13] Six weeks. So, yeah, she’s a young mother, but she had her first child when she was 35. And that is the reason why I had her on this conversation, because a lot of the people have this myth that women can’t conceive beyond 30. So so Nova, we are going to kind of put the ball in your court now. So as I mentioned before, you’ve just had a child and you were 35, right? Was your pregnancy difficult?

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:02:38] No, not at all. Um, I guess everyone has their own way and own journey when they’re going through that phase. I guess conceiving part is what people say. Once you hit 30, it’s very hard because you can’t conceive very easily as compared to someone who’s in 20s and who’s and 40s like if they’re doing that comparison. Um, so conceiving bit comes into play that it’s very hard. Then they say, oh, then by the time you’re delivering because of your age, you’re not going to be able to deliver as a young, younger lady would do rather than at your age. So there are lots of talks that happen around you, which sometime forces you to fall into that trap and have a baby when you’re not even mentally or physically or even financially ready for it. Um, there’s so much that goes into having a baby, not just having a man and a woman and that’s it. You have a baby. I think nowadays it’s more about, are you financially ready? Are you emotionally ready and are you physically ready for it? Yeah. Um, otherwise just adopt a dog and have a fur family instead. I mean, it’s easier that way and I’ve done that. I know. So we did it this way, that we had a fur baby. We catered, looked after, and we knew what were going to happen when we have a child. And I think we were emotionally and physically ready. Financially, I don’t think can ever be ready. But we managed to get to that. But what about.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:04:09] What about Sorry, I’m cutting you short. What about the mental readiness? Like as a mother, I think first and foremost, responsibility as a woman you need to have is the mental readiness that I’m mentally capable or am I mentally ready to bear a child? Were you there when you conceived or were you there when you were delivering what was going through in your head mentally?

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:04:30] I think I’ve been ready since the age of 20 because at 21 I wanted to really adopt a child when I was back in New Zealand and we’ve gone back and forth for so many things, trying to actually adopt a child. And there was so many barriers that stopped me from having one, especially my extended family in India. They were the main part of my not adopting a child because it’s like, what is society going to say? Who’s going to marry you? Like it’s not your child. People will make stories about it. So mentally, I was ready at the age of 20. It’s just never happened. And then when obviously I got with my husband and. For me. He’s a child as well. I shouldn’t be saying that out loud, but so I had to make sure that he’s also physically and emotionally ready because it’s just not what I want. It’s what we want in this. Because a child is both 5050. Responsibility can’t just be like, you want it, so let’s have it. And then I’m not ready and then I’m not looking after all the other way around. So it’s more like, were we both ready then? Yes, we were. So we thought of, okay, this is the year we should, um, planning does come into play. I guess the age. It makes a difference when you’re planning. Yeah, but don’t think it’s as much of an issue as it used to be back in the day. I think there’s so many apps these days that you can start using for tracking your, um, like your monthly. So then you know when to conceive. What’s the perfect date if not your GP’s like any doctor you go to, they will tell you and help you out through that journey as well. Right? And signs otherwise have gone so ahead IVF because I know my friends have done IVF, um, on different stages and even at 42 my friend had a baby. So I know it’s not something if you can’t do it yourself, there’s people out there to help you, right?

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:06:23] Right. Absolutely. Next question was primarily about mental health in case someone has a difficult pregnancy. So like at 35 or 36. Right. What should we do to take care of our mental health as women who are expecting or who are kind of going through a difficult pregnancy? What should I do to take care of my mental health as well as my physical health to have a good, healthy baby?

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:06:45] Well, I think you need to have a close knit of friends or family that you literally can speak your mind out to. That’s really, really important. If not, there are that many community groups out there, new moms group, new parent group, all these little groups where people are expecting mothers or new mothers and things, and you join these groups just because you want to get out of your norm to to actually talk about things and feel better about yourself because they’re also going through the same phase and you compare yourself. And then I’m like, okay, so maybe I’m not the only one. So either you have friend circle that have gone through the journey so they can tell you the examples of, Oh, I was like this as well, so don’t worry about this. And all your parents, basically, sometimes mothers are more important, but for me it was more of the friends that I leaned upon because my other friend is also pregnant. She’s expecting in January. So we were together like pregnant buddies anyway when we were together. So if didn’t feel right, I knew that I’m not the only one. She’s also in the same boat, so it’s who you can talk to. There’s so many people out there. If not, they give you all these anonymous phone lines that you can call and talk to people and stuff. End of the day, it has to be your husband or partner because you’re doing it together. So if you can’t talk it out to to or with your partner, then guess it’s the wrong relationship you’re stuck in.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:08:12] Right? So, I mean, if you can’t be that transparent with each other, I guess that’s the next problem is do you are you really ready for this relationship with the child together? So your partner, husband, parents, friends, um, they’re basic like you can go to speak to. And I’ve just done that like I’ve obviously had 24 over seven. My husband on the phone if I needed anything or my friends or most of the time Mum didn’t call that much because I know if I would ask a question she would start stressing, Oh really? Do you want me to do this? Do you want me to do that or did you do this? So my mum was like, my the last one on the speed dial for that, but it was like more like husband and friends that came in to keep me sane. But half the time it was more like, if I can’t, like if I’m not feeling well or something, that didn’t sit right with me. Google was my best friend. It was like Google doctor telling me, No, this is normal. Oh my God, you have to see your doctor. So then when you get on the phone. But I mean, there are so many avenues to keep you sane. It’s only if you want to help yourself. Only then you can help yourself. Otherwise no one can. So how is the GP system like in Australia? How are the GP’s? Are they helpful? Are they willing to kind of help you at any point of the time? What was your experience?

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:09:32] So I did it through private, so obviously my GP was till I conceived and it was. Um. All positives till then. Then one. Once I hit the eight week mark and I had to get through those blood tests and things like that, I chose to do it privately rather than going through a system which is then a public system. And you have to do a public hospital because I chose to be private. I went with Western Obstetrics here in Perth. Um, now what they do is they keep you with them with a GP, gynecologist, obstetrician, everyone as part of their team, you sign up with them. Obviously it’s private, so you’re paying for that service and then you have every two weeks you have an appointment with midwife. Every two weeks you have an appointment with your GP. So it’s like alternating. So technically every two weeks you have an appointment with them. And then as you touch week 32, I think, or 34, then it goes into weekly. Um, and in these, most of the time it’s the bedside ultrasound. When you’re seeing the GP, um, and all those big numbers of week 20, week 32 and week 36, you do a special ultrasound like a formal ultrasound and everything else is like the bedside ultrasound blood test they discuss if your results come back low or high, whatever it is, and then anything what you’re expecting out of your have your birth plan ready, they help you make your birth plan. And then obviously the birthing my doctor, because now I’ve been seeing him for that many weeks. He was there at the delivery. So for me, it’s more relaxing or calming. Yeah, because it’s the same person I’ve been speaking to and he knows me, my history and my husband. So for me, the situation wasn’t like new or anything. It was just a new room where it was the same people. My midwife was the same, my doctor was the same, my husband was the same. So, so private I think was better because then it gives you that thing. If it was public, then whoever the doctor is on on shift, whoever midwives on shift wireless for this, they were all called in because I was in my labor So private I went through private system.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:11:51] Absolutely. And, um, before we end the conversation, there are two important things that I’d like to know from you. The first thing being, what are some of the important things to consider when you’re planning to have a child after you’ve hit the 30 mark? For women, mostly this question is applicable.

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:12:07] It depends. Um, looking at scenarios, first of all, are you are you ready? Is the big question. Like are you physically, mentally ready to do this? And people can tell you ten stories of you can’t do this, you can’t do this, you don’t need that or this scientifically. You can be a mother at any age, be it your own labor pain and things like that, or being a surrogate mother and having a child that way. I mean, you can be a mother at any age. It’s not you have to do this at this age. Yeah. Um, but people after like women after 30, I don’t think anything’s stopping them. They’re still, um. Well, everyone’s health is different if you’re looking after yourself. I’m pretty sure even at age of 40, it’s not hard. Obviously, there’s signs to help you with it. Like, obviously there’s doctors and there’s that many clinics that will help you with it. Or maybe assisted pregnancy. There’s a thing called that I didn’t know that before I got pregnant. Um, if you’re trying and it’s not happening for you, there’s assisted pregnancy thingy that people like the doctors and they help you for it. And then IVF is the next step from there. So I mean, there are ways to do it if you want to really do it. But are you ready is one thing that you have to think because obviously you’re signing a contract for like next 20 years, um, to one person. And obviously when you fall into the trap of having one, then people start saying when you’re having your second one. So then you need, you need to know once you have it, that’s it, you’re stuck into it. So it’s, it’s basically, are you ready? And then look after yourself. Your health, um, everything will fall into place, be that 30 or 40.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:13:50] And the last question that I have for you is what would be your message to a woman who’s a single parent and yet wants to conceive a child and is past 30?

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:14:01] It’s still not hard. It’s still easy. Yes, there will be a few more roadblocks compared to someone who’s got a partner to help them with conceiving. Um, but this day and age, especially in Australia, I don’t think anything’s stopping you. If you want to do this, um, and if you’re financially ready, um, there’s that many people out there to help you with. Uh, you now don’t have to worry about your health because you can’t get someone else to do the whole job, give you the ready made item to take care. So it’s more like, are you ready? Are you financially up for it? Um, you can still be single mother and you still can be a mother at whatever age. I mean, nothing stopping anyone. Wonderful.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:14:45] It gives me hope somewhere. But moving on. Um, before we finish, what would be your message to our listeners?

Sunobha Nair-Bajaj: [00:14:54] Um, I think age is just a number, so don’t focus on. Oh, my God, I’m 30. I have to do this, otherwise it won’t happen. Or Oh, my God, I’m 40. It won’t happen now. It’s. It’s. It’s just a number. If you’ve taken care of yourself, things will take care of you. Um, I just believe age is just a number, so I’m always. Anyone asking me, How old are you? I’m happily saying 35. Turning 36 because I’m excited about the number is moving up, not down. Well, as I know my friends, they’re like they don’t go past the age 25 and 28. They’re 35. They’re still saying they’re 20 and is like, How are you hanging out with me when we are same age? So, um, I don’t think age is a number. Um, motherhood can be at any age. You don’t have to be a 20 year old to be a mother or a 40 year old. It’s just when you think you’re ready and if you’re not ready, practice with the dog. If a dog is also a child, the only thing is you can leave the dog at home and go out for partying. Still, while as a child you do have to stay home with. So message is just just disregard people saying, Oh, you’re at that age now. You need to do this now. You do what you you can do at the age that you are and what feels right for you.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:16:09] Absolutely. Thank you. These are such golden words of inspiration. I’m inspired and I’m sure when the listeners listen to you speaking about it, they will get inspired as well. So for our listeners, this was Mr. Norman Bajaj joining us from Perth. She’s recently become a mother at 35, and she joined us to spread advocacy about breaking the myth that there is a certain age at which you need to become a mother. As long as you’re emotionally, financially and mentally ready, you can become a mother at any age. Nothing is stopping you. And those of you who’ve heard us for a while, I really hope that you like what we produce as content on the table. If you’ve got any thoughts or feedback, please please write to me and those of you who’ve heard for the first time, I really hope you’ve got a lot to take away from Sunnova’s journey. Her experience about becoming a young mother. I will be back again with another interesting conversation about resilience, determination and in the community. Till then, please take care and stay safe. Thank you. And thank you once again for joining.

Chris Mallika Bhadra: [00:17:07] This has been a story of community resilience by three Z.