Life imitates art for Bridget Jones author

By Genevieve Roberts

In her diary she complains about "bottom cleavage" pregnancy jeans, describes a new-found respect for toilets after weeks of morning sickness, and wonders why people feel they have the right to lay their hands on her pregnant stomach.

Now it appears that the musings of the fictional Bridget Jones are based on more than sharp observation - the 48-year-old author, Helen Fielding, is seven months pregnant.

Since August, the Jones diary has been chronicling her pregnancy by Daniel Cleaver in the Independent, but the author's real-life experiences are one month behind her heroine.

Fielding, who has a son, Dashiell, aged two, with her partner Kevin Curran, executive producer and writer for The Simpsons cartoon series, is said to be "thrilled" that she is pregnant.

She joins the growing number of successful women who are having children later in life, including Cherie Blair, who had her youngest son, Leo, in 2000, when she was 45, Madonna, who had her second child, Rocco, days before her 42nd birthday, and the actress Susan Sarandon, who gave birth at 45.

The average age of mothers giving birth is now 29.4 years, while the average age for a first child is 27.5 years, two years older than in 1971, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Phillip Hodson, fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said: "There is a difference between being pregnant at 18 and at 48. What you lose in perceived energy levels you gain in experience."

- INDEPENDENT

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