The longest ten years of a woman’s life used to be 29-30. That’s right! A lady never revealed her age… Birthdays ending in zero are fun to celebrate now, but come at a cost. Forty is a big one, and the biological clock ticks louder, fuelled by scare-mongering about fertility ‘falling off a cliff.’ Too many women fear not getting pregnant by the time they hit forty and dread a geriatric parent status. For some of my gorgeous clients, this can hijack their fertility hopes. Let me set the record straight, put to rest some of that ill-founded angst, and share with you why being an older mom rocks.
Firstly the number of babies born to red hot mamas in their 30s and 40s has tripled since I was a midwife in the eighties. Back then, anyone giving birth for the first time over the age of 25, was classified as an ‘elderly primigravida.’ Hard to believe!
Secondly, the women I treat don’t forget to have babies. They’re not selfish bitches relentlessly pursuing glittering careers. It’s most likely been relationships that sucked, getting a career established and crucially, meeting the right bloke who’s ready for kids. Other women started trying to conceive in their 20s – with years of pregnancy loss and fertility treatments, silently clocked up.
Thirdly, having a child early on does not mean a couple is done having babies. A first pregnancy may take no effort at all, a second may even follow easily, but sometimes that second or third sibling may take years to arrive, for no obvious reasons. Secondary infertility is hard to take. Watching an adored child grow up, looking for brothers and sisters, wanting to share family life and waiting, quietly. Parrying the ‘only child’ comments and feeling isolated, with a side order of guilt. After all, others are worse off, aren’t they?
So why does being an older mom rock?
For starters, it’s more likely she’s with someone who rocks too, and has a great relationship, even if it’s newly forged.
Work-wise, she’s established with a better income and benefits. Her seniority and experience allow for flexibility around fertility treatment schedules, antenatal appointments and childcare. This lady is set to get the best work/life balance and won’t compromise fun times with her kid for anyone.
She knows the benefits of a good support network. It may be different to a traditional family-based one and it works for her. Confidence means she’s not too bothered by convention and what others think of her arrangements. She understands what makes her tick and how to look after herself. While enjoying the good things in life, she’s beyond alcohol-fuelled excesses. Time to recharge is vital and she takes it because it’s not a luxury. Her understanding of nutrition and cooking is impressive, to say the least, and her household is established. She’s not afraid to order in the shopping and outsource house-cleaning. Her relationship is likely to be more collaborative in task-sharing.
Older moms are used to planning, compromising and setting priorities. Seeing the bigger picture and being flexible allows her to focus on being the best mom she wants to be – and know it’s not forever. She savours time with her babies and, according to studies, has an excellent vocabulary to pass onto her offspring! Her fuse has lengthened
Learning on the hoof
This woman knows she doesn’t know everything about pregnancy, birth and parenting, but she sure as hell knows how to find out. She’s learned to trust herself to make the best decisions in the moment and not beat herself up afterwards. No-one bullies her because she commands respect and collaboration from her maternity care team.
Fertility after 40 is fun, so get ready to enjoy it. Older moms have a habit of living longer. Maybe it’s to enjoy grandchildren!
I hope I’ve helped you see why I believe being an older mom rocks.