9 Reasons NOT To Have Babies in Your Forties

 

 

pros and cons of having a baby in your forties

 

I am refreshing this article about the pros and cons of having a baby at 40 or in your 40s. I wrote it as a heartfelt but still light-hearted look at my own experiences. Since it first appeared over 5 years ago many people have added their own comments which are now as extensive as the article itself. Having a baby at 40 is now not uncommon but many of us still have plenty to say about it.  Better get a cuppa as this is a long read…

 

When I flick open a magazine and read of celebrities having babies at an advanced age, I do wince.

I hope that younger women aren’t getting a message that it’s a good idea to wait before trying to have babies.  It’s not.

Recently, I posted an infographic on the facts and figures about age and fertility.  That got my old brain whirring and fingers click clacking… I tend to write factual information here and not much opinion…. but….

I do hate to upset people or be controversial really…. BUT….. I have got opinions and experience on this older mother malarkey… here goes….

The human body is still the human body it’s always been. It’s designed to reproduce early.

It works best that way.

And I mean works best in that generally fertility is higher when we’re younger, and babies are healthier.

Let’s keep it that simple.

I know I’m the last person who should be writing about the pitfalls of trying to have babies as an older mother, since I am one.  

But on the other hand, I may be the best person, because I live the negatives of it every day.  And like most people who try to conceive later in life, I endured many bitter heartbreaks along the way.

Having a baby at 42 would have been hard enough, but I actually had twins at 42!

That’s why I wince… and also for the many people I know who tried to have children later in life, and who haven’t been fortunate enough to bring a baby home.

We rarely hear of the people who try and fail to have babies in their 40s.

We may know personally some people who try and try and try and try again… and whose hearts are broken… and who try again… and lose a pregnancy and try again… and try and try and try… and who don’t end up with a baby at all at the end of many years of heartbreak.

I certainly do.

But we don’t often read about those folks in the papers.

There are probably many more women who do not manage to have children when they start late than there are success stories, don’t you think?

But of course many people do manage to have babies in their 40s. I’m one of them.

I would like to write here about the downsides of when we do manage to have children late.

Because I’m here to tell you it’s no picnic. There’s a real shortage of both beer and skittles.

Yes, I could write a post about the joys of it too… actually heaps of my posts do show the fun we have with our young late-born twins.

But today I’d like to explain some of the lesser-talked about negatives.

And express some feelings of which I can truly say I’m ashamed… but which are present for sure.

 

Nine Reasons NOT To Have Babies in Your Forties

1.   Back to being pregnant in your 40s is no fun… I knew that if we had a third child there would be a higher chance of having a baby with ASD as clearly we have the genes in the family. And I did know that having an older mother or father also raises the risk of ASD even higher.

When I realised I was having twins, believe me I was beside myself. I had just doubled the chances of having another child with a disability.

We did amnios with the twins and I can truly say that the procedure itself and the days after were excruciating. I did not want to have to deal with the choices that await a test that’s positive for an abnormality.

Thank god that I didn’t – and that was just sheer bloody luck.

2. By the late 40’s… or the very, very, very late 40’s in my case… our own parents need more help. I’m just not in a great position to support my mum as I am tied down with the wee ones. This feels terrible, I can tell you.

3. Also when kicking 50, I have a real sense of my own mortality, a great awareness that my time on the planet may be limited. I don’t mind for myself but I sure do mind because the little ones need me.

4. It’s one thing having babies at 42, it’s quite another having two years olds at 44 and five year olds at 47 and now 13 year olds at 55. I’m a pretty energetic person but honestly I can’t keep up with them and play actively less than I did with my older boys.

My husband does make a big effort to kick the footy around with Rusty Rocket – but it can feel an effort too.

5. When the twins leave school, I will be 60. That’s a thought that stops me in my tracks. I thought I’d be retired and lounging around by the time I was 60.

6. The vast majority of the mums at the twins school are around 10 years younger, some much more. It’s different… it just is….

7. Most of my own friends are leading a very different lifestyle to my hubby and I. Their kids are teens or even older and they have a freedom that, being honest, we crave.

8. It’s hard to deal with kids’ tantrums when you’re perimenopausal. I’d expected it’d be the teens who pressed all my hormonal buttons but they seem to be pretty fine (touch wood) and relish their independence. Not so the twin terrors.

9. That early retirement plan gets shelved… let’s just say we’re not going to be slightly grey nomads…. we’ll be totally grey, if we ever get there at all.

I count my blessings every day. Two twins born at term and healthy with so far just one case of ADHD between them.  That’s so lucky.

(When you have a dx of ASD in the family ADHD is not so bad, although trust me I can still weep with frustration and exhaustion after a bad ADHD day.)

When I look back I think we were completely MAD to try to have a third child. I was 40 when we started for god sakes. Somebody should have stopped me!  Sometimes I wonder: is it selfish to have a baby at 40 or in yours 40s… and sometimes I think it is.

The full force of the human evolutionary impulse was being channelled through my body. Surely it’s a husband’s job to put his foot down? I blame him!

My husband and I endured two miscarriages and a blighted ovum pregnancy before the twins were born. These experiences were painful, but I think less so for us as we had two boys at home.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like losing babies time and time again if I’d had no child at home to cuddle.

Seeing those tiny motionless foetuses on the screen was devastating: no heartbeat.

I hope my daughter and my sons are never in that position.

I hope they start having their babies earlier than we did.

And also I would like to confess that I have already started indoctrinating my kids about why, in my opinion and in my experience, it’s better to have children earlier than later.

My little daughter, aged a tender seven, is the only one of my four children who asks about babies and says she wants to be a mum.

Have your children young I tell my daughter because:

  • You’re MUCH more likely to have no fertility issues and to bring healthy babies into the world.  Harsh but true, it’s just true.
  • You’ll have more energy.
  • You need grandparents around, and dad and I would like to help. But we will be too old to be any help at all unless you get going young.
  • You might take the whole thing a lot less seriously when you’re younger and that’ll be good for the kids.
  • Having a baby after 40 is different to having one in your 20s and 30s… it just is.
  •  

I’m old enough to be my wee twins granny easily. I’m sure I’ll be a much better granny to their kids than I am a mum to them.

One day my little girl said to me:

‘Mum, when I’m the mum and you’re the granny, I’m not going to be a mean mother like you are.’

Let’s hope that’s the way it works out, darling!

Please my sons and little daughter, don’t wait to have children.

The human body is still in many ways just the way it has been for millennia. It’s made to have children younger not older. It works best that way.

A woman’s age is the biggest predictor of her fertility.  It will be when you are all adults too.

A healthy baby, born safe and well and without disability is so much more likely if you start early not late.

The chance of your hearts being smashed into a billion pieces again and again is much less likely if you get started younger.

Plus I want to be an active granny. You can be the mums and dads for a change, and be as mean as you like!

For the facts and figures on age and fertility in Australia, see this post.

There’s a new government funded website all about these issues:  http://yourfertility.org.au/

Virtus Health - Age & Fertility image

Do you talk to your children about the right age to have babies?

If you’re an older parent, do you admit to the downsides?

Was your heart broken too?

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Posted on: January 30, 2019

133 Comments

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Allison Tait

    A terrific, honest post Seana. I had my boys in my thirties and, to be honest, could not imagine starting in my forties. The very thought exhausts me.

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

      It exhausts you with very good reason! Thanks for popping over Allison, I don’t often write very personal posts and was a bit nervous about it… but keen to do more as am becoming opinionated grumpy old woman #late40scrisis

      • Reply May 10, 2019

        Irrational yearning for another baby!

        Thanks Seana, I really appreciate your post. I am 42 with a 9 and 4 year old. Our older child has ADHD and severe behavioural difficulties – he takes a lot of energy and patience to parent, and some days are really hard. Despit this I feel a yearning to have another child which seems to be getting stronger as I can sense the window is closing. My husband is alarmed as hell! This helped to give me perspective. It really is genetic Russian Roulette over 40 isnt it? Especially with ADHD genes already in the mix. I will try to be grateful for what I have and hope this yearning dissipates.

        • Reply May 10, 2019

          Seana Smith

          Hello, I think that it’s really common to yearn for one more child as that window does close. And maybe just sitting with that and grieving the end of fertility is worth spedning time doing. It’s nature’s way of ensuring the survival of our species!! I still remember with horror though the discussing with doctors about testing for my babes, the chances of problems were high, and with twins, twice the chance. Awful times. One of my twins has ADHD too and I am worn out!! Mine just turned 13 yesterday and I am 55 and feeling a bit weary… actually totally exhausted.

    • Reply May 5, 2017

      PregnantOver40

      This is an opinion post not a fact post… terribly negative and I think your an idiot.

      Thats my honest comment sorry.

      • Reply May 6, 2017

        Seana Smith

        This really made me laugh. Love an honest comment!

        I think a lot of people miss the humour in my writing on this post…. must improve my writing!

      • Reply July 14, 2018

        Leslie

        most of the time you depend on others to have babies… what if you don’t meet anyone who wants to have babies with you until you are older? . I am a mom and I had my child in my 30’s. I see no difference between me in my 30’s and now in my 40’s. If I decide to have a second one it’ll be through donor egg. But who cares? I take care of myself, I look and feel great. Much better than some overweight moms in their early 30’s…being a mom is about having a connection with another human being. Who cares about what other people think?

        • Reply May 23, 2019

          Paige

          I admire your strength in writing this post and the honesty! It’s refreshing 🙂
          I’m wondering probably more on the side of your husbands experience with all this?
          I’m 28 and pregnant with our 3rd. I absolutely love children and have always seen myself having 4 children ever since I was a little girl. My husband is 40 next year. We met after his previous marriage ended and no kids involved and we got married and had kids within 2 years of being together (knew of each other for 3 years prior)

          My husband is calling this our last baby as he is getting “too old”.
          I don’t mean to sound selfish but I’m really struggling with the thought of this being my last.
          We have had 3 kids in 3 years so I have been trying to have them “quickly” to accomodate his worry in ageing. And I LOVE the closeness in age! I’m healthy, sporty and young and am a full time mum with my husband working 5-6 days a week. My husband is very healthy and fit and far from looking and feeling his age. I think his biggest worry is as the kids grow up how will the age difference effect him and the kids.

          But I suppose my question to your husbands would be, ‘if you had your time over (obviously not regretting ur children) would you possibly call it quits and not have kids over 40? Or is there really not much difference in having a child at 40 and 42?
          Am I missing understanding him because of the 11years difference between us?
          Thankyou!

          • May 29, 2019

            Seana Smith

            Hello, sorry it’s taken me a few days to get back to you. I have asked my hubby to have a look and give you his thoughts but his email box is pretty full so might have a good while for him to do that. I think it’s really, really common for husbands to be the ones who call a halt to having more children. There’s probably not much difference between 40 and 42 really, but maybe he is already feeling three is enough for him. If only there were easy answers. But you are young and so I can totally understand why you’d want to have more, you’ll always be a young mum and you sound in a great place to have more, with health and fitness and the love of being a mum. I hope my husband will reply with his perspective. I wish I had had some kids in my late 20s or maybe had them all by 35… I am 55 now and many of my friends have kids all in their 20s and they are quite free. Our twins have just started high school, when they finish I will be getting my super. I feel about 150 years old today BUT that’s because I was at 6am swim squad. I think staying fit is the answer for myself and my husband, we enjoy it and it will help keep us healthy and well. Very best wishes with this pregnancy and with ongoing discussions with your husband.

      • Reply May 18, 2019

        Amanda Seys

        The post makes me sad. I have 3 kids and should count myself lucky. I had them in my 30s. I have longed for another child for 4 years. 2 miscarriages. The second caused a lot of complications. I get sad when I see small babies. My husband does not understand

      • Reply August 4, 2019

        Aleisha

        I agree

      • Reply January 3, 2020

        Natasha

        Well it is a fact. It is easier to have babies when we are supposed to have babies. In our 20’s to 35.
        Peri menopause and new borns is not the greatest mix. Not an opinion. Simply a fact.

    • Reply June 11, 2018

      Jal Cal

      My mom had me ( her only child ) at 43 and my dad was 39 . Now I’m 22 and she’s 66 ! I wasn’t what they planned, they just didn’t meet till later in life. While I’m very glad to have them and they are glad to have me, having “older parents” has not been easy , especially without siblings or extended family close by. I only have one grandparent left, who I’m not close to, never met two of the others, and my grandpa passed when I was four. He only visited about once a year at that time and never really had energy to do much and since he only visited once a year, I did not really open up to him easily because I was very shy and he lived across the country. My dad has always been healthy and active, but my mom, while healthy has never been as energetic as I would like. Due to her age, she was trying to get down on the ground with a 3 year old with 46 year old legs and was also going through the period where hot flashes were appearing and such ! Ugh !

      I know this a really long post, but there really is no “best time to have kids. It’s different for everyone, but when older than 40, the cons overlap the pros, at least in my opinion. Especially when you don’t have siblings . Life is good, but I would not recommend being the only child of “older parents” . Before you have kids, think about the future ahead. Your child will thank you. Sorry for the story !

      • Reply June 12, 2018

        Seana Smith

        Hello, thanks for your comment. I am sure that, if you have children, you will have them much younger than your own parents did. Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective. If I am fortunate enough to live until 80, my twins will only be 38. If I died at 70 they’d be only 28… it’s all too young to not have kids. My mum is 79 and has dementia, my sister who lives close to her and looks after her the most is 50. Imagine if she was 30 and was the main carer for her old mum with dementia.

        But there’s no black and white. I love my twins dearly, they are now 12 and the older boys are 21 and 18. Another set of teenage years will be hard in my late 50s… but here we go anyway…..

      • Reply October 30, 2019

        Krissy

        While I appreciate everyone’s perspective here is mine. I am a 43 year old first time mama to a gorgeous healthy smart active 2 1/2 year old. I didn’t get married until I was 38, my husband is 4 1/2 years younger. We both wanted a family more than anything and could not fathom being a childless couple. After multiple miscarriages and a diagnosis of poor ovarian reserve, I was told by my RE that my best chances of conceiving would with donor eggs. Through the grace of God, our son was conceived using my own eggs. We lost two subsequent pregnancies with our eggs, and are contemplating trying over again, full well knowing the odds are against us. I don’t know what God’s will or plan is for our family, but before we close the chapter on childbearing we have to try, albeit fully aware of the risks involved. I need to be realistic, but also need to be hopeful. I have my reservations about being an “older” mom, but so far I feel great physically and had a wonderful pregnancy at age 41. My “43 year old knees” still bend! I Lucy weights, and ran a half marathon at 42 when my son was was 1. There are no guarantees in life. My mom lost her mother at the young age of 25. At 43 I’m still fortunate to have my mom who is 74 and waited so long to be a grandmother. The alternative of having had my son or maybe even another seems so sad to me.

        • Reply October 30, 2019

          Seana Smith

          Thank you so much for your story and your thoughts. It’s wonderful that you have yur so, and trying again sounds like a really positive option for you. There are no rights and wrongs, are there? We are each just living our lives and telling our own stories. Many thanks.

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Maxabella

    You’re awesome, Seana, you really are. In all honestly I reckon having my babies in my early – mid thirties was pushing it for me, I don’t think I would have made it if I was in my forties. No way. I’ve been with Bart for 18 years and it kills me that we didn’t pump those kittens out in our twenties!!! x

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Hilarious! Pump out those kittens!!

      I met Paul when I was nearly 32… we did get pregnant fast but then strung it out a bit too far! I’m so glad that I didn’t have a family with any of the boyfriends from Terrible Twenties (now referred to collectively as ‘The Desperados.’ But still, I have some twin mum pals who had their twins at 28… when they’re my age they’ll be swanning around hands free not belting off to do reading groups… they’re the wise ones.

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Alexandra

    It’s a good post.
    I agree, don’t have babies in your forties IF you have a chance to have kids earlier. IF you already in marriage, DON’T wait. Don’t postpone to have kids saying that you don’t have this or that, or not the right time, etc.
    My first one was born when I was 35 and I became 37 just 10 day later that my second was born. I wanted a third child but, let’s face it, I started too late. But such is life, I met my husband so late in my life.
    I think it would be selfish to have a third child, who would be only 20 years old when I’m 60.
    And I really want grandchildren, and hope that my kids will have kids earlier in age than me.
    I knew one of mine my great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers and I have really good memories especially about him. My kids still know one of my grandmothers. But there is a big chance that my future grandchildren will miss that great-grand generation.
    If you give birth in your forties, unfortunately, there is a chance that your kids won’t know their grandparents either.

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

      My children just lost their last grandad, we’re down to one granny and a lovely younger step-granny. I so want to be a granny myself… and yes, I can agree that it wass elfish in many ways to want to have more kids and to have the twins so late. Mother bloody Nature came calling very powerfully… I do owe it to my kids to stay as fit and well as I can… am writing this after being on treadmill. It’s my duty!

      • Reply October 30, 2013

        Alexandra

        Oh, I don’t want to judge you!
        If I had become pregnant this spring, I would be expecting our third one now and the baby would be born before my 40th.
        I deeply understand you and I wish I had a third one. I just gave it up as I don’t want to give a birth after my 40th.
        And honestly, I am sad about my unborn third one. I just didn’t have the right man with me before my husband.

    • Reply February 20, 2019

      Elena

      What is the difference between having a baby at 37 and 40?? Is there much of a difference between having a 20 year old at 57 than at 60?? I don’t think so. It’s just a psychological role play in your head.

      • Reply June 23, 2019

        Georgie

        Thanks for this comment, I have been really struggling with the decision & weighing up all the pros & cons, but what you said simply puts it into perspective – you’re only as old as you feel!

      • Reply July 4, 2019

        Art

        You’re so right. Crazy huh. People will have a child at 39yrs but not at 40yrs. Crazy. No difference. Yes its mental

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Lauren A

    I had my first child at nearly 41 (circumstances beyond my control) and, after two miscarriages, my second child at 43. Despite all my good intentions, I was just too tired to do all the things I think my kids deserved. Now I’m dealing with menopause, and two teenagers, and it is hard! I am actually older than some of the other kid’s grandmothers, and worry that it’s a source of embarrassment for my own children. I wouldn’t give up my kids for the world, but I will definitely be advising them to start earlier than I did.

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

      We need to talk! Thanks so much for writing this comment, I am in just the same boat and it’s tricky for people to understand that we can embrace the ups AND the downs of being parents.

      • Reply October 30, 2013

        Lauren A

        I’m fortunate to have a partner who has energy enough for the two of us (just watching him with the kids is tiring enough!) so he’s the one kicking the football around the yard, taking them on bike rides etc. I’ve struggled with fitness and weight control since having the kids – my body never forgave me for inflicting it with 4 pregnancies in three years, lol – but I am trying to get back into shape so that I’m not the one left sitting on the verandah, watching them have fun.

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Kirsty

    Earlier this year my husband came home from the obstetrics ward – he’s a medical student – and said ‘If we’re serious about that third baby, we should get onto it NOW.” I wanted to put it off till our finances are better (you know, the student bit finished) and we’re closer to support, but he convinced me the baby’s health and my health are impacted – dramatically – by every year. We’re now 13 weeks pregnant, and I’m a little shocked at being ‘high risk’ solely because of my age… and how much more this pregnancy is knocking me around! Thank you for such a great and honest article about such difficult decisions!

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

      I’m going to cry, Kirsty!! Congratulations… you’ll be run off your feet, of course… but that’s motherhood. I find myself delighted to have four children now, and that’s great because it was bloody, bloody hard for a long time too. Thanks for your comment, much appreciated.

    • Reply July 4, 2019

      Art

      You have a great husband. Mine forced me to wait. I wanted kids at 21 yrs he kept putting it off. We divorced then he quickly remarried and had a kid with someone else. Fast forward I met my new husband now at 41 he made me wait to have kids too. Foolishly not considering my future health. I got married at 44yrs he still made me wait because he didnt want a fat wife. Now I’m 46 trying to have kids my first kids. So I had no choice but to wait. I just met men who didnt care for kids.

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Alisoun

    This is a great post Seana! I also wince when I hear about celebrity pregnancies in their mid to late forties! I do the maths! Thank fully my babes were all born by the time I was 34 and I will be 52 when my twins complete their HSC!!
    We need to keep telling kids to have their babies young – it isn’t nearly as much fun to have an old mother or father when you are a kid!

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Hello Alisoun, you were so young to have four!! Actually a really good age to have all of yours… not that there’s ever a right time or a time when we are really ‘ready’ especially for twins, heaven help us.

      • Reply July 4, 2019

        Art

        @Seana Smith. I think you’re super lucky to have twins in your 40s. Different people think differently. Age is how you feel. I’m in my 40s but I still shop at Forever 21. I’m really not the typical 40 yr old. My grandmother had her last kid at 47yrs and she saw her grandkids. It all depends. I do think you dont realize how lucky you are to have twins. Plus most people act old. I dont. I have super energy even more than my husband who is 10yrs younger.

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Desire Empire

    I was in the 40s club too. The difference between celebs and us, is that they can afford oodles of help. I would have avoided it if I could have, but you have to play the hand you are dealy I guess.
    Carolyn

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

      That’s right… I completely understand why you had that huge urge to have your second. It’s bloomin’ tough to let go off the idea of having more kids if you really want more…. or one. Thank goodness for that sweet little miss of yours.

      • Reply June 13, 2017

        Michelle

        I’m 45 this year and just found out I’m pregnant I have 7 kids 5 at home youngest 4

        • Reply June 13, 2017

          Seana Smith

          Blimey, how are you feeling about it?

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Corinne

    What a great post, I’m off to share it with a couple of friends.
    I always said that however many kids I had at 35 would be it. I was lucky enough to have three. My husband is desperate for another child, but that’s not a possibility after the last pregnancy almost killed me (literally). Even if I was able to go through another pregnancy I wouldn’t. I’m stretched to my limits as it is.
    I look at some friends who are in their mid-thirties and still just thinking about kids and I want to give them a big shake.

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

      I wrote in the post before about a friend of mine who was 40 and just wanted to finish a reno before trying…!!??!! Actually she does have a family now, which is great… and bloody lucky. Three is plenty! I just heard of a family going for a fourth and now pregnant with twins – yikes!

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Deborah Dickson-Smith

    I agree Seana. I know quite a few women who have tried very hard later in life to have kids, suffering several failures along the way. I know a couple who ended up adopting after 7 years of IVF failures and ended up regretting that decision.

    I didn’t think about kids until I discovered to my enormous surprise that I was pregnant (age 30), I was so focussed on trying to achieve something extraordinary in the corporate world of publishing (I know, I’ve since thought better of that).

    It’s possible I might have carried on trying to work my way further up the ladder and not realised I wanted kids until too late. Luckily they barged their way into my life earlier.

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Oh, same here… I got pregnant accidentally when I was 32, and thank God never before that. I quite admire my eldest, he fought his way through two forms of contraception to be here today. I was so lucky as I was happy to be pregnant as it turned out… we must chat through those early days sometime.

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    jess

    I’m 36 and currently pregnant with no 2 (3rd pregnancy, 2nd child hopefully!). I had hoped to start baby making earlier but life got in the way. I really wish we hadn’t left it as late as we did.

    We take longer to make babies than the average couple which really does my head in. Trying to conceive is not much fun at all. Our first pregnancy ended in a late miscarriage at 21 weeks which was the most devstating experience of my life. I already know that if all goes well with this pregnancy we won’t be going back for a third. I’d be pushing 40 by then and I couldn’t face the heartbreak of losing another baby.

    I agree that it’s best to start baby making earlier but also realise that sometimes you don’t meet you life partner until later in life. Start earlier if you can people!

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

      How terrible to have lost that first baby, how life-changing. Wishing you all the very best with this pregnancy. Trying to conceive is no fun at all, I promised myself I wouldn’t get obsessed but I did at times. What a relief when it’s all over.

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Rae Hilhorst

    I agree with Alison, such an open honest post Seana, you are blessed to have your children. I had my first at 27 and my second at 30. Am now in my early 50’s and have tolerance 0. xxx Rae

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

      I have been lucky to have all these kids and these days I am quite comfy with having four… but that’s since they’ve all been at school. I really have struggled, I’m no natural. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Reply October 31, 2013

    Sam-o

    I have been with my husband since 16 and we married at 23. Why my first child was born when I was 35 and the 2nd at 38 I cannot tell you! Total madness. I constantly wonder what I was thinking. I’m so tired now at 42. I am not the mother I thought I’d be. I’m exactly the same as you. I constantly advise 2 things to young girls. First, like you, have your children young and my second is do a vocational degree, something with a clear job identity, like nurse, accountant etc because getting back into the workplace is so much easier. Especially part time work that pays ok!!

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Now that is a really good point, about a vocational degree… there’s A LOT to be written about that… I was a TV producer, a glorious career that fell apart as soon as I had my first son. Some women do manage to work in TV with families but it’d never have worked for us… even without any disabilities.

      Oh there’s a whole post to be written about that. Good points and thanks for adding your thoughts to the conversation, much appreciated.

  • Reply October 31, 2013

    Jody at Six Little Hearts

    Ok this Mum of Six has to have her say! I had my 6th at 42. We conceived first try (as were all the others). I have one fallopian tube after an ectopic preg at 33). It never hindered us. We had healthy pregnancies and all the children are healthy and normal. My only problem was antibodies in the last pregnancy from a blood transfusion I had when I was having my first at 29.
    I am a complete advocate for late pregnancies if you desire a child! I didn’t stop for a second and rethink my choice to have one at 42. I am THRILLED I had her! In fact if Hubby were still keen (which he isn’t)! I would have had more!
    I am 43 now and the only reason I would stop is that I have had 5 sections now and that’s really probably enough. It wouldn’t stop me if he gave the go-ahead!
    My mother had me at 42. She is 83 now. She is independent and happy in her own home.
    There are many things in place for the elderly in the community and being the independent soul she is, she is happily using them all to her amusement!
    I don’t care how old I will be as my kids grow. I just don’t live like that. I don’t look or feel my age and people are usually shocked when I tell them.
    My husband had the opposite experience entirely. His mum was preg with him at 19. Ended up having an affair after another child and left his Dad! There are so many reasons NOT to have a child younger! At least older parents are settled, better educated and wealthier.
    It’s personal choice. If you want a baby, don’t over think it, just do it!

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Its very true that older parents are more settled and I’d have been an awful (more awful!) mum in my twenties. You have fab genes! I hope I will be like your mum, hale and hearty in my 80s and enjoying life as much as ever. Here’s to that and to things going well for people who do have kids older.

      • Reply May 5, 2019

        Karen

        Just adding my 2 cents. I had my first at 18. Second at 24. I am now almost 36, oldest will finish High School next year and be grown. Did I have my struggles? Sure. However, oldest is secure in who she is. Been on honor role for 3 out of 4 yrs of High school, has a job, loves her life and independence. I am not sorry. I am sorry my first memory of having her in my arms in public was that someone would try to take her from me because she couldn’t possibly be mine. Older Moms won’t have that. It made me grow into my responsibility to her. For sure. And now? I’m not yet 40, and get to look forward to a long time being around for her. I wouldn’t trade that. It is not about financial resources after a point. It is about parenting. The end. Kids grow well enough without being spoiled. Mine have. They are amazing. And yes, in the meantime I’ve completed a Ph.D. program. So now I get to spend my 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond traveling, showing them the world. Which is beyond worth the sacrifice of having them very young.

        • Reply May 10, 2019

          Seana Smith

          Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I am 55 now and my kids are 22, 19 and twins are 13. I am very concerned, especially for my oldest who has special needs… what if I die at 70, who will look after him, or even 80!! You sound more like my mum who had four kids by 29, and she had 30 years of life after kids, which I must say were probably her best years, I’m sure she would have agreed. Mum died in January and I miss her every day and am glad I was mature when she passed away… I have to live until I am 100 for my kids!

    • Reply March 13, 2014

      Carol

      Hello Jody – I totally agree with you. I had my babies at 36, 37 and 39. Sure, I wish I had them earlier, but it is quite useless to wish such a thing. I am tired, but I recall being tired in my 20s as well. The only difference now is that I don’t have time to nap like I used to. For those that believe energy decreases so drastically as they age, here’s something that helps: exercise and eating well.

      • Reply March 13, 2014

        Seana Smith

        You are 100% correct there Carol. I look after myself a lot better than I used to and at just 50 feel good. Sleep is the biggest key for me. Having children, especially my twins, made me learn the importance of early nights. I don’t want to be a grump, shouty mother and it’s up to me to take care of myself so I am not. Eating well is really good too and so is exercise… I’m in my gym stuff now!!

        I have to be honest though and say that having all the kids at school makes everything so much easier… I work from home so if I’m really whacked or ill, I can have a nap, which is something you just cannot do with wee kids at home, however ill or tired you are. Thanks for visiting and for sharing your thoughts.

    • Reply April 13, 2019

      Isabella

      I applaud you

    • Reply July 4, 2019

      Art

      Thanks Jody! I LOVE your positive post. It’s the best so far. My grandmother and great aunt had kids at 47yrs and 46yrs and they were healthy and great. Both lived till thier 90s so their kids never suffered. If you want kids dont let the over 40 barrier scare you. Especially if you look young, have alot of energy, etc.

  • I got quite weepy reading this. Those hormones… but I was thinking what a great Mum you are telling your kids that because I totally agree with you. Then I got to the bit where your daughter says you’re mean. Such a typical parenting moment.

    If I could do it again I’d have the kids earlier too. Get it over and done with 😉

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Aaarrghhh… it’s never going to be over…!! I just love feeling free and that’s the basis of what makes life hard as a mum… we have to find our wee bits of freedom where we can. Reading travel stories is a great way to have a wee mental holiday. Will be popping over to read your Zimbabwe posts very soon.

  • Reply October 31, 2013

    Anne Downing

    I would have loved to have had children at a young age but I didn’t meet the right person until my early 30’s. Glad I got to experience life before I had kids. There are pros and cons to both sides

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Very, very true, there are pros and cons … I would have been a TERRIBLE parent in my 20s… really awful. I shudder to even think of it. Life is never black and white.

  • Reply November 1, 2013

    Morag Smith

    Heh Soshi, great post. You know now that I’ve had my kids at 39 and 41 I think it would have been nice to have had them younger – i.e. about 32 and 35 but that’s not how my life went. but you know I am such a better Mum now than I would have been then – I needed all those years to get my head sorted out so I could at long last stop the pattern of mad/bad/dangerous guys and meet my very lovely husband. I’m just grateful that I had the chance to have kids and luckily for me how easy it was to conceive. KNACKERED though!

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Yes, it took me a long while too to get my head around what sort of a fella was good for me. Not the mad bad and dangerous to know type, the sensible souls who is there for the long haul (we hope!) Yes, you were lucky with that fertility… and I know you know how lucky. Knackered is the word… am off to bed right now myself.

  • Reply November 2, 2013

    Hotly Spiced

    This is so interesting, Seana and you’ve raised so many issues. I had my first two children in my 20’s but then found out I was pregnant at 38 with my little guy being born at 39. I know how you feel about having them young and having them old! My sister in LA just turned 47. She is 39 weeks pregnant and we’re waiting to hear news of the little arrival. She didn’t plan her pregnancy however always wanted more than one child (she had her first at 43 due to not being able to find a man – that’s another issue about men wanting to have fun and not settle down leaving women who do want to marry and have children, high and dry). Anyway…as I was saying… we have this new baby coming into the family which can only be good news however children born to parents of this age are most likely to never even know their grandparents, let alone have grandparents around to help them. It’s certainly an interesting topic but with children not graduating from uni until their mid 20’s, being lumped with a huge debt from studying, that ‘play the field’ mentality before you ‘settle down’, I just can’t see too many of this generation having children at a young age. xx

    • Reply November 2, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Yes, so much to ponder and be concerned about for our own children. I must talk more to the boys about this… just give them a few top tips… not that they listen to a word I say (or at least they claim they don’t.)

      I really regret that my kids never had their extended family around them, and would love them to have the benefits of willing grandparents.

  • Reply November 2, 2013

    Rachel

    I was only thinking about this today, what the optimal age to have kids is. I had my first at (just) 27, and now, at 42 with a 15-year-old, it feels pretty good. But I feel quite old mothering my 6- and 4-year-olds, and was doing the math just an hour ago with my husband. I will be 56 when our youngest turns 18. So late 20s was a good time for me to have a baby, but I would also stress to LIVE and fit in lots in your 20s, before you have a baby. I didn’t do enough travel and fun things, and thought I would do it later in life, but the two extra kiddies later in life have made that trickier!

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Late 20s sounds great… (mind whirrs as I calculate how old I’ll be when Teens are that age…) I remember a friend of mine saying: ‘DO EVERYTHING you want to before you have kids..’ and I really had no idea what she was talking about… and now I SO do.

  • Reply November 2, 2013

    Mel

    Hi Seana, I feel so conflicted by what you’ve written, because while I too have lived the ‘downsides’ of trying to become a Mum over 40, I also now live the daily joy and amazement that becoming a Mum at 46 to twins has given me. And the pluses outweigh the negatives a million times over, because many of the things you mentioned – how much energy you have, how much family you have around etc… well, if you’re overweight and 25 with parents who were ill or passed young, it’s the same! It’s not exclusive to older parents. And I never cared for being a childless grey nomad… give me a house filled with children’s laughter (or whinging) any day. I stared down the barrel of a childless future for a lot longer than many do. Only met hubby at 39, married at 40, miscarriages at 41 and 42, then 10 long heartbreaking rounds of IVF from 43 to 45 which included a miscarriage – I know what it’s like to see a flickering heartbeat fade away to nothing. Then, hubby and I did something that uplifted our souls and gave us this new amazing chapter of our lives… we went on a ‘baby safari’ to Cape Town as we playfully describe it and sought a beautiful young egg donor to help us create our family. And what a happy ending it has been. We met some incredible people, and it took me to places emotionally and literally that I never thought I’d go to. So, I type this now with my 2 year old twins sleeping quietly beside me. And I just don’t ever think about AGE. I instead think about the STAGE I am at…. and that is a devoted, happy, overworked, sometimes knackered desperately proud and grateful mother of twins who can now drive past a school or playground or look at friends’ baby photos… and not feel heartache. Instead, I get excited! Do I wish I’d started earlier and hadn’t had to drain the bank balance and scrape the bottom of the emotional barrel for many years on end? Absolutely. Would I do it again if it was the only way to get the same result? Absolutely. Of course I tell all my friends have babies young(er) if they get the chance to avoid making IVF doctors any richer than they already are, but life just doesn’t always work out that way! But I also recommend study, career and travel, travel, travel before you do pop out bubs because all of that becomes a hell of a lot harder as you know apres children. I love being an older Mum though, I am content, mature, I can handle it… I dont miss the corporate jungle… and my parents are still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy their young grandkids…. OK, I’ll stop now… got to get some sleep before the morning’s Peppa Pig session 🙂 x

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Blimey, what a journey you have had and how fantastic that you have twins, two little people. I just found myself nodding all the way through as I read your comment. So very glad that you have your family now, safe and sound, a happy outcome after going through the fires you did. Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Reply November 5, 2013

        Mel

        Thanks Seana! A boy and a girl no less! Hopefully they won’t mind that Mama has wrinkles when I drop them off at school… but I know I’ll embarrass them in many other ways throughout the years… surely that’s our job?

  • Reply November 3, 2013

    GourmetGetaways

    Very well said Seana!!
    Your story took a lot of guts. I had my last at 37 after 3 years of IVF and miscarriages. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
    I am also so much tireder with my little ones than I was with the older ones.

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Me too! I was piggybacking the twins around this evening and wrestling with them – my poor old knees. They have no idea the pain they put me through. I thought I was having my first menopausal hot flush, but it was just the effort of carrying a big 7 year old upstairs!

  • Reply November 5, 2013

    Vanessa

    Hey Seana

    There’s an 18 year gap between my brother and me. My mum had my brother when she was 20 and in her first marriage in the late 1950s. She was an “abandoned wife” by the time my brother was six months old.

    By the time my mum married for the third time, at the ripe old age of 36 to a man (my dad) 10 years her junior, she really thought she was done with kids. Of course the younger husband wanted to be a dad.

    My mum was 38 when she had me and 40 when my sister was born. In the 1970s that was OLD!!! My sister and I were oddities amongst our friends to have such an old mum.

    My mum complained about it all the time which really had a bad effect on me in particular. I felt unwanted. That she only had us for my dad. She was embarrassed, I think, and really didn’t want to be a mum at that age. She wanted a career and a life outside of having children. She loves us and always has but knowing all my life that having us seemed a condition of her marriage to my dad has always made me feel sad.

    I always wanted to get married and have a family. My drug and alcohol addictions I became wedded to in my 20s and early 30s didn’t make me for an attractive wife but when I did accidently fall pregnant at 33, despite being drug/alcohol addled and extremely depressed I thought this would be my only chance at children. I divorced the addictions and have since given my life to raising my boy, who will turn 5 years old not long after I have my 39th birthday in 11 days.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever meet Mr Right, and I mourn the fact I’ll probably never have another child (I struggle so much with one) but I’m so glad that I kept my “accident” and didn’t wait for the RIGHT time or the right dad to have kids.

    I have a lot of single friends in their late 30s and 40s who keep waiting. I tell them to go it alone if they really want to have kids. Get a donor sperm if they have to. One friend waited until she was 46!!! Mr Right never came, three IVF cycles and a shitload of cash later and she’s childless and heartbroken.

    Despite being almost 39, I am one of the younger parents at our daycare. I think times have definitely changed and women who have kids in their late 30s and early 40s are not so strange as they were in the 70s. But the physical challenges are still there.

    My mum hates that now at 77 yo, despite being in good health (and looks great too!) she can’t pick up my baby niece who is (22 months old now). When my sister has her second child it will be even harder.

    So I agree with you. If being older mum is hard. Being an older nanna is even harder.

    Sorry I’ve written an essay! But this issue is close to my heart.

    Great post. Thank you.

    • Reply November 5, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Thanks so much for this, and I’m sorry it took a while to get up on the blog properly. Over zealous spam. So many good points, and you clearly understand your mum even though it must have been tricky at times and sometimes hurtful when you were little.

      I do try to curb my tongue with the twins a lot and NOT say… ‘I can’t I’m too old…’ and I do do lots of boisterous play with them. It’s the facts of our lives though, I am older, an ideal age to be a youthful granny! Of all the problems that families can have, ours are pretty minor.

      I would have so loved the kids and I to have a grandparent around to love and to love us all, ours are so so far away. It’s terrible and I am full of regret. But again these are the facts of our lives. My father’s lifelong addictions drove his daughters away – we had to save ourselves. His drinking killed him in the end and he was in a sorry state, poor man.

      I have my own demons and the drink is one of them. I’ve been off alcohol all year and feel so much better for that, mentally as well as physically. We have a lot to talk about at the next bloggy conference.

      Thanks so much for persevering and for sharing your story.

      • Reply November 11, 2013

        Vanessa

        Well done on the 1 year sober milestone. It just easier from here.

        We will definitely have to catch up at the next bloggy conference.

        Re comments – I’m having trouble commenting on a lot of WordPress sites. I’m a slackarse commenter at the best of times and here I am, doing my bit, and my comments won’t come through. The universe is against me this week.

        :>)

        • Reply November 11, 2013

          Seana Smith

          This one worked!!

  • Reply February 26, 2014

    Angela

    Thanks for this post. I had my two boys now teenagers in my early to mid 20’s & so thankful as its so exhausting.

    I have not been the most energetic parent due to back problems & health. This causes me to cringe at the thought of having babies & young kids after mid 30’s but if you are super healthy or its your only option then I know I’d even put myself through it.

    My ex-husband was an only child to parents aged 36 & we have lived firsthand the impact of older grandparents starting at 69/70. However on the flip side my boys have experienced caring or putting up with grandparents only 10-15 yrs. younger than great-great parents (my grandparents) deal with dementia, deaths etc.

    My children too Seana have not escaped the genetic whirlpool of ASD/ADHD. It is very challenging plus sometimes an ADHD ODD etc early years diagnoses may in fact turn out to be a ASD one mildly in disguise. My 17 yr old went many years until 12 with full on everything till ASD dx explaining the resulting behaviours.

    If I had waited I might not have spectrum kids but then I have grown so much by my experiences, have grey hairs coming as I approach 40 this year & await my eldest’s 18th in Jan!

    My eldest states he’s not having kids till he’s in his 30’s I cringe but him being mild ASD its better than younger. Plus he’s seen firsthand an older father & grandparents & a ‘not as old mother’ that’s not able to do everything so I don’t have a great argument/position in convincing him the otherwise. I will however start stating facts like fertility & risks.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Reply February 26, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Thanks for reading Angela and for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I love your term ‘genetic whirlpool,’ that sounds so right. I think you were wise to get going 10 years before I did… my son with ASD turns 17 in a couple of weeks, and I just turned 50… and the twins will soon be 8. It’s madness!! But like you, I have grown and learned through my experiences, and am a much better mum than I would have been: look for the silver linings. My son at 17 is pretty happy and busy, so glad he has two years at school still as I am sure that we will all miss the structure school gives him.

      Good to hear from you.

  • Reply July 16, 2015

    Deborah

    Alas some of us have no choice. I finally gave up on meeting someone when I hit 41 and then I tried (unsuccessfully) off and on via assisted means (obviously using donor sperm at $900/pop) to get pregnant until I was about 44.5.

    One of my best friends was in a similar situation. Finally met someone at 40, married at 41-42 and then spent several years trying get get pregnant (IVF) and miscarried several times before deciding to use donor eggs. She just gave birth to her first child at 45.

    Another of my friends was the same… Didn’t meet anyone til in her 40s then did IVF and was unsuccessful.

    People who find a partner in their thirties are very lucky to get that early start!

    • Reply July 17, 2015

      Seana Smith

      Yes very true. It’s totally understandable why so many of us do try to have babies in our 40s. And it’s hard going on everybody and hardest for those who don’t end up with children. Painful. I was lucky to meet my husband when I was 31 – seems very young now.

  • Reply September 14, 2015

    Seanna

    I’m a 41 year old mom of 3 girls ages 15, 13 and almost 9. My first pregnancy at 24 was a blighted ovum, my oldest daughter had a birth defect that led to open heart surgery. We were told it was a random gnenetic fluke until after we were pregnant with our second two years later. I did everything right with my first born and was so healthy and had natural childbirth with no interventions. After she was born I realized I couldn’t control everything and tried epidural second time around and it caused all kinds of problems, stopped labor and nearly killed us both! I was 28 by then and 31 when my third daughter was born complication free and healthy but for a small hole in her heart (by then they decided it could be a genetic link) but it grew back I consequentially and they are all healthy beautiful girls. Despite having two strong, health conscious parents my girls lost their dad to a glioblastoma brain cancer. He was 41 and it was one year ago. as a news photographer and volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep I’ve seen many tragedies in lives of every age. Now I know that what is important is living the life we are given and finding the blessings along the way. Mostly letting go of the illusion that we can control it. I now know life deals so many things we cannot control and it is a waste for any of us to live with regret or think another way would have been better. Almost a year ago I lost my husband after watching him suffer the most hellish end. I’ve seen many families of all ages and walks lose babies. And yet I feel blessed with what I had and what I will have. Forgive yourselves and relax and embrace the gifts in your unique circumstances. We all have loss and regret no matter the choice so find peace with who you are and find your joy without dwelling on what you can’t change. We only get one life and each is so very different; we cannot judge nor advise.

    • Reply September 15, 2015

      Seana Smith

      Hello Seanna, thanks so much for getting in touch. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. And I completely agree with your ideas that we all need to embrace the life we are given … and that judgement is not helpful … and giving advice too in so many ways.

      Three years ago our beloved next door neighbour lost his life to cancer, a devoted husband and father of three young children. His death had and continues to have a profound effect on we neighbours and friends… for me, I learned that life is not in our control and that terrible things happen, that we must keep talking about people who die… and that life is to be lived each day, never taken for granted.

      From your Australian near namesake, Seana xxxx

  • Reply September 14, 2015

    Seanna

    … And yet I feel immensely blessed with what I’ve had. Wishing that for all of you.

  • Reply June 9, 2016

    Kirsty

    Thank you so much for your Post Seanna 🙂

    I searched online for anything online to help me justify my recent decision and thankfully came across your page. I am grateful to you as it has helped me in a way with my grief.

    My story : I married and had my two Daughters at 24 and 26 , beautiful healthy girls , great pregnancies and births … lucky me !
    Sadly my husband and I divorced and after 15 years being a single mom I met an amazing man 11 years older than me . We moved in together with our 4 kids ; my two now 17 and 15 and his 16 and 14 . Life gets slightly complicated as a blended family and we are both pretty busy but we’re looking forward to the kids now growing up and retirement within the next 5 or so years.
    Mother Nature however had other plans and at 41 I went to the doctor thinking I was going through menopause , surprise of my life finding out I was in fact pregnant .
    Of course a part of me was happy ; but fear gripped hold of me as I started to ponder the reality of our situation . My partner would be 53 when the baby was due and I would be 42.. what about our teens and how embarrassed and shocked and disgusted they would be …. our friends who were all free like us with teens and having to start again when we thought we were near the finish line… I was also reminded by many that the risks to myself and baby were so much higher and having to wait until 12 weeks pregnant to find out if an abnormality was picked up , scared me so much. What about the other disabilities they can’t pick up in testing , how would I cope with a disabled child in my later life ?

    My partner was supportive; but was certain a baby was not what he expected at his age and that he never felt he had toddler energy anymore. He would also be almost 70 when baby was 17 …

    A few agonising weeks went by and we made the very heartbroken decision to terminate . Its been two weeks now and I am still going through immense grief and loss .

    I don’t know if I made the right choice ; but I will never truely know now .

    lots of love to all the women out there who face any difficult choices related to motherhood

    Thanks Again
    Kirsty

    • Reply June 10, 2016

      Seana Smith

      Oh Kirsty, thank you so much for sharing your story here. I really do feel for you and am sending you so much love. Life just isn’t simple and none of our decisions are black or white, there’s nothing right or wrong alone. Decisions are made, and then we have to live with the good parts and the bad parts. I am sure you will feel up and down, regret and relief, for the rest of your life. But the decision is made and there are many reasons to be comfortable with it.

      My husband has just been made redundant this week, and here we are with four kids, twins are only 10… we’ll be 60 when they are 18. If we hadn’t had them, just had the older boys, this redundancy wouldn’t be too worrying at all, perhaps. So at our stage of life we still have so many responsibilities and for so much longer. Our lives are about to change a lot. But here we are and we need to get on with it.

  • Reply June 11, 2016

    kirsty

    Dear Seana

    Thank you so much for your reply 🙂 I really hope my post can help someone as much as yours has helped me. I am comforted by your words and appreciate your understanding and non judgment of me . I am so sorry to hear about your situation right now and really hope that things work out financially for your family.
    I know that love doesn’t pay the bills; but as parents we are blessed with something money can’t buy 🙂 Sending you and your family much love from NZ.
    Thanks again
    Kirsty

    • Reply July 5, 2016

      Lisa

      Oh wow Kirsty ~ your story is so similar to mine. I have just recently made the same heartbreaking decision. I found Seana’s post has helped me immensely too. We made our decision based on what our heads were telling us, but it has been such an emotional few weeks. I feel so raw.

      Thank you both, for sharing.

  • Reply November 30, 2016

    Anna

    Hi Seana, thank you for your post and comments. I am about to turn 39 and have a 3yo girl and a 6mo boy. Yes I am completely blessed, and still I find myself contemplating that third child, much earlier than I contemplated the second. Partially this is to do with my relationship being less than satisfactory. I wonder if it will be possible to have a third, and whether we will stay together or whether I will go it alone (and all of the scenarios – good and bad – that may go with that). Also when I was young a fortune teller told me I could have up to 3 children, and I guess I’ve got it in my head and heart… Like you I will encourage my children to have children younger than I did. It’s so funny how I can see all the reasons for this now, and yet it didn’t worry me at all until I realised the necessity and enrichment of the family support unit after having my daughter, but particularly after having my colicky son. My mother had me – an only child – at 40 in 1977. Back then it was very uncommon. She has been a great support but does not live nearby, and will be 80 next year so cannot help me as she would dearly like to. I should be helping her! It is much harder and relentless without that village. I certainly feel my age in the middle of the night when I have to get up and breastfeed, and as I said to my partner (50) our children could well be bringing their partners home this Christmas if we had had them young! But life didn’t go that way for me, as it hasn’t with many who have replied here. I knew I wanted children at 28, but didn’t meet my partner until I was almost 33, and then it took nearly 2 years of trying to conceive our daughter, so I was almost 36 when she was born. I had a blighted ovum inbetween our children, and we also separated for a while, so there is nearly a 3 year gap between J and her brother. All of that aside my children bring me SO much joy. My father died at 57 (cancer) and I agree with Seanna that you don’t know what your lot will be in life, so just get on with it. I have friends that had children young and those children have life-threatening issues. I know young parents that have discovered crippling degenerative illnesses in themselves which can be hereditary to their children. My mother herself gave birth to a healthy little girl at 40 while the 17 year old in the bed next to her had a DS baby. Life can be cruel and it is certainly not fair. We have to take joy where it comes, and not live in fear. I hope your financial situation improves as I know well how stressful that is.

  • Reply March 12, 2017

    LaToya

    Though I agree with a FEW things that you and the respondents say, this subject can come across as being mean and one-sided. I naturally conceived and had my 1st child at 40 after thinking that I would could not have children.

    I was raised by my mother’s parents and had lost my mom and grandmom on my mom’s side at early ages except for my grandfather who passed away at the age of 92 the year before I had my daughter. All of my parents on my father’s side had passed three years before that. I don’t have any brothers and sisters and felt like I had no one after losing my grandfather.

    However six months later I conceived my daughter. I wasn’t a healthy woman in my twenties and thirties. I ended up weighing over 432 pounds at one point in life. I was a diabetic, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Bone & Joint issues, ect. But after having weight loss surgery at the age of 37, at 40 I was in better condition because I no longer had those comorbidities.

    My pregnancy was healthy, even though my daughter came three weeks, early she was healthy, and yes you are tired but my issue is working a lot of hours, and still attending college, and time maintenance. Let me add that I am also a single mother. My daughter is happy, smart, and is just like any other child. I may not be able to run and turn flips or whatever because I have an injured left knee but it doesn’t stop me from taking her to the zoo, to parks, to playlands and things like that where she can still enjoy herself and I can still engage with her.

    I still desire to have another child. Now, I will agree that if it hasn’t happened by the time I am 43, I will not try again but I would never discourage anyone who has not had any children or who has only one child to not have one in their forties. I believe that God is in control of every pregnancy and He will take care of every baby and mum.

    Like I said I had my grandfather until he was 92 years old and I was 39 years old. He was my father. He raised me with my grandmother and Mom since birth until my grandmother died at the age of 17. It was just he and I. My daughter has been a blessing and I cannot imagine my life without her. I have friends who are in their forties and have not had children yet but have that desire. I could never say these things to them that I have read on here.

    No we are not rich people, but I don’t know anybody younger who has any more money now than they will when they are older unless they are already rich or have a very high income. I don’t think anyone planning to make less money as they get older. So that was an unfair comment as well about what older people shouldn’t have children. You should be in a better Financial position when you’re older than you are when you were younger.

    Like I said, in some of these posts and in this article, there were some good points made but there are some very healthy forty year olds in this world and people who are more mature and more settled who can handle the challenges that comes with being a parent.

  • Reply March 12, 2017

    LaToya

    I apologize for the typos! I am using voice dictation

  • Reply February 8, 2018

    Laila

    This was a wonderful post. Thank you for your honestly! I feel silly leaving a comment years after you posted this, but I couldn’t help myself.

    I find myself pregnant (naturally) at 41 and by the time I have the baby, I will be 42. I have two teens (one with ASD/ADHD in high school) and a step child who is 8 but I don’t have a biological child with my husband. I am terrified as this was not planned. Meds weakened my birth control. Needless to say, I have some of the same sentiments that you had.

    I have just been able to find balance in the home life that we have and I fear adding another will complicated it all. My husband and I are blessed with 3 children already. We have successfully blended our family. We travel, and date and have time to be the best partners, parents and people we can be because we have balance.

    Being older pregnant and raising a child seems crazy! And to top off being “high risk” because of age, I have a few medical issues which the doctors say may complicate things. Now I am faced with moving forward with all of those challenges or terminating the pregnancy with good reason (health) The docs say that I must consider both although it is ultimately my decision.

    Now I am doing research and soul searching as I am lost and terrified at making the right or wrong decision 🙁

    • Reply February 8, 2018

      Seana Smith

      Hello Laila, you are certainly not the only woman to find yourself in this situation, others have left comments and emailed me direct too. What a dilemma… and there’s no right answer and no wrong one either. Each decision has it’s pros and cons… I wish you well in making your decision and then in going forward. Very tricky when you have a child with ASD already too, as stats are higher with older parents, esp dads…. My son with ASD is almost 21 and our twins coming along meant so much less time to assist him, and less patience with him too and I am sad for him for that. What can we do in life though? We make the best decisions we can at the time, and then live with their ups and downs… and self recriminations and ‘what ifs” are totally banned.

      • Reply February 9, 2018

        Laila

        I so appreciate the response and the support! How are you doing on your journey so far? I’m sure everyone would love an update…..

        You are correct. This is indeed very tricky for me as and my husband and I must consider the family as a whole. I romanticize the idea of having this biological child with my husband but I fear the challenges that will come. Especially the health risks for myself and the baby. Just a year ago I was in the hospital getting blood transfusions and several procedures done because of an ongoing health issue. Now pregnant?? An you are SO CORRECT about the patience with my oldest ASD child. He is doing so well with the support he is getting from us now. He’s thriving in his school environment and has made great strides since first diagnosed. But it takes work to keep him on track. A LOT of work and money (we pay for a supplemental program to assist him in school) How will having a baby change my support of my first born? How fair is this to him? How will this change my marriage? Do I have the energy? Will this cause further damage to my health? Will I be well enough to take care of a new baby and my existing children? Will I be emotional if I don’t move forward and have a biological child with my husband? Does a biological child even matter when you have already built a beautiful family with 3 beautiful children??

        So much to think about! 🙁

        I thank you again for starting the conversation and being transparent. One never knows who or where their experiences and words will touch. You have surely touched me and my story and you have definitely giving me things to ponder.

        Any other advice or wisdom you can impart will be greatly appreciated!

  • Reply June 11, 2018

    Grace

    I’m the one writing years later too! I wish I could have had children earlier in life as I planned but it wasn’t in my cards. My husband and I met at 19, got married at 24, then started trying at 28. We tried for 2 years and then found out my husband had a micro y deletion and could never have children. We were beyond devastated and we were in a holding pattern because we didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want kids but I really wanted them and adoption was something we couldn’t afford so after 3 years (now age 33) we decided to do sperm donor. We tried for over a year, then were told we needed IVF. We had to save for over a year for IVF, now age 35. It didn’t work as my eggs never grew so then we went to a new doctor where we did IVF again where they only had one small viable egg. After the procedure, I was told I had premature ovarian reserve and I had 10% chance of conceiving and the embryo didn’t take. To start something at 28 and people telling you, you needed to hurry and have kids when they had no clue what we were going through was devastating. Now both my husband and I would never have biological kids, we started researching adoption because by now we both had gone on and got our Masters degrees and were making good money so we could afford it. Our doctor said we could find a sperm and egg donor and I could still conceive for half the cost of adoption. At 36, I had 2 embryos inserted and had healthy boy/girl twins at 37. We have one more embryo that we will use this year at age 39. I wish my circumstances were different and we tried early. I’m embarrassed that I’m older but don’t tell people I started young because it’s not their business. It drives me nuts to hear people say, “I’m glad I had mine young,” as they see me with my beautiful kids. I wish I could have but I’m so thankful for what I have and couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I just hope people read this and understand that it’s not always our decisions to have kids older and to be kind to older moms because you don’t know their struggles of how they became a mom or when the struggle started. I sometimes worry about how old I’ll be when they’re a certain age but I have the same energy I had almost 11 years ago when we started trying. I have to accept and be happy for what I have and avoid social stigma and when my son or daughter want to have kids (if they want kids) I will support them with the age choice of having kids or if they don’t want kids. I may tell my daughter to freeze her eggs early :). I’ll tell them my journey and let them know I wouldn’t have changed it even if I had the choice of now having my own biological children because they are such a gift that I know were waiting to be born when we finally made our decision. Many women having kids later in life was not my choice and others must be understanding and empathetic to that circumstance.

    • Reply June 12, 2018

      Seana Smith

      Thank you so much for writing, I have tears in my eyes reading your post. You are so right, it’s not all about older parents. You have been through such a long journey to parenthood. I am so very happy for you that you have children now and happy for them too.

      As I wrote before, there’s no black and white in life and we all live in shades of grey. Thank you so much for sharing your story here.

  • Reply September 4, 2018

    Jal cal

    What’s wrong with never having kids ? Does anyone realize there over 1,000 American children living in foster care ? Provide a home to existing kids that are longing for one rather than stressing out over trying to desperately conceive !

  • Reply September 13, 2018

    ElizabethB

    I’m read this article hoping to gain some perspective as to my current situation but I find myself a bit more confused as to how to feel about my current situation:
    I am 39 and recently found out I am pregnant (about 7 weeks, as I write.) I have been with my boyfriend (let’s call him Joe) for around 15 years and we always said we were not having children. I convinced myself that it would be wrong of me to have a child for a barrage of reasons. I’d tell myself it’s “because of family history of mental illnesses/addictions” or “the world is already overpopulated, as it is” or “I’ll never make enough money.” That’s just a sprinkling of the reasons I told myself. But that line of thinking begs the question, “why did I need to justify that decision to myself?” I’ll be honest, I dont know myself as much as I wish I did. But deep down, I do know this: there’s a part of me that feels like I do not deserve a happy, normal life, or at least what my ideal of a happy, normal life is – loving husband, 2 beautiful, bright children, and a house with a nice backyard. In my teens and 20s, hated seeing happy, normal ideal families. I resented them because in truth, I was jealous of them. I didn’t have what I considered an ideal family growing up (still don’t.) It took up until about 2 years ago for me to gain this clarity. Two years ago, my father committed suicide. He was an alcoholic, as is my mother. Due to insurance clauses regarding suicides with plans under 2 years old, and regardless of all my protesting and refusing to go, my brothers and mother guilted Joe and I Into moving in to the wretched, unkempt house of my childhood so that she didn’t lose her home. As I predicted, it has been a nightmare. The house has been uncared for For so many years that it’s falling apart left and right. And moving here has caused an immense relationship strain on joe and me – I don’t think he realized how awful it is living with alcoholics. You can warn people til you’re blue in the face but sometimes they need to see it to truly grasp it’s ugliness. I grew up in an alcoholic house and I vehemently resent having to come back for a round 2 living here. Now, having explained that part of the situation, am I a complete shit if I bring a child (likely to be an only child) into the world? And to make the situation even stickier, Joe has now resorted to heavy drinking because living here has proven too much for him psychologically (yes, living with alcoholics can be that bad.) And Joe has and, as he says, always will hate children and never wants any. He said if I have this baby, he wants nothing to do with the kid until he’s about 12 and that I should not expect any help from him in caring for the child. Well, f. Now what? I could raise the kid as a single mother but wouldn’t I already be giving the kid a shitty enough life being as he’d be the only child of low income old parents? We actually had plans to move until this little surprise happened. Unfortunately, having a baby would mean, with or without Joe, that I am stuck in this house indeterminatly, as i cannot afford to move as planned AND have a child. I don’t want to have an abortion. This very realistically could be my last chance for a child. And all I ever really wanted is a normal life. But am I being selfish if I have this baby? I’m depressed that it took so long to see that and doubly saddened by the fact that I have no support from my partner. I am stuck.

    Sorry for the rant. I really needed to vent a bit.

    • Reply September 13, 2018

      Seana Smith

      I am so so so sorry for your situation. My father was an alcoholic too and so I do understand the horror of living with active drinking. My sisters and I have found Al-Anon very very helpful and continue to do so. There are no right answers at all, your situation sounds very difficult. Glad you had a chance to rant anyway. You deserve a lot of support, whatever you decide.

  • Reply February 20, 2019

    Elena

    There is not much of an “age” difference between having children in your late 30’s and early 40’s. Relax and enjoy them.

  • Reply April 24, 2019

    Anonymous

    As someone who was born to older parents, there’s a 10th reason not to have kids at 40:

    The children will be taking care of you much sooner than expected. The lives/careers of the kids will be put on hold because of early caregiving.

    Unless something unforeseen happens, it’s better to have your kids take care of you AFTER they leave the nest and launch their own lives/careers and not BEFORE.

    • Reply May 4, 2019

      Dee

      Even though we got married when I was 24 and he was 31, we selfishly put of having babies. We decided to try when I was 32 and it took 5 years long years before we fell pregnant due to a physiological issue I wasn’t aware of.
      So, we had our first when I was 37 and our second when I was 40.

      Everyday, I regret leaving having kids till so late for all the reasons you wrote about. If we were younger, I’d have a third baby. Because once I’d had them, I’ve fallen in love with them.

      As you have pointed out, one of the main reasons for not having another is I worry if my parents need me, I won’t be able to help and care for them. I also want them to be able to enjoy their grandkids and do things like travel together. Having another baby will push out the time spent in the baby years… My parents are in their early 70s.

      Whilst I’m feeling energetically ok with two little ones… I do know I would’ve had more energy if I was younger… And I do think, I may not have enough energy for 3 kids.

      I’d worry less about being too old to help them when they have kids. And worry less about leaving them to fend for themselves at a younger age. We all know how much difference having our own parents around makes. My kids don’t have any cousins living in Australia so… each other is all they have. Thankfully, they are both happy and healthy and I pray that they stay this way.

      I wish someone had presented these opinions to me when I was in my 20’s selfishly deciding to put off having kids to travel more and work without burden…. Because really, all that can wait a little. Kids grow up quickly and having your own children to love and nurture really is a wonderful gift.

      • Reply May 10, 2019

        Seana Smith

        I can really relate to all these things. I was terribly torn when Mum was so unwell and I kept having to leave my husband and kids to help her, it was very upsetting.

  • Reply May 24, 2019

    Louise

    I came across this article when I searched for “should i have another baby at 39”. I’m 38 going on 39 this year and have 3-year-old twin girls. We want to try now for a boy, and just yesterday I got a negative pregnancy test. Now I’m left thinking again if we should try again or just be happy with our girls. I also have an autistic brother — my mum had him when she was 40, so I’m also scared that if I want to try for a boy at this age, there may also be an increased risk of that. I’ve always wanted at least 3 children, but you did raise good points in your article. I feel sad, but maybe this is how it’s meant to be.

    • Reply May 29, 2019

      Seana Smith

      Hi Louise, I do feel for you. Negative pregnancy tests are so upsetting. Did you know that our oldest son is on the spectrum, he is 22 now. I was 33 when he was born, funny isn’t it. It is the case that there’s a higher risk of ASD when parents are older, especially for older dads, but it’s not a hugely higher risk. There’s mine with the ASD the one I had youngest; it was just the genes he got. Our son is happy and working with support and has a great life. We’ll always support him financially and in all other ways, but he’s a lovely young man and we think he’ll be the one to look after us when we are ancient (if we’re lucky enough to become ancient.)

      If only there were easy answers, but there are none when we are dealing with emotional life matters, trying to be rational when really loving babies and our kids is far beyond that. Best wishes as you continue the decisions and all the best with your little girls, who I am sure keep you really busy. Three year old twins are such a laugh, I remember, so much learning going on.

  • Reply June 10, 2019

    Mandy Ivory

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. To shame women for wanting children. I have many friends who have decided to have children in their late thirties and early forties. Children who will be well taken care of financially and emotionally. You are completely tone deaf, and also ignorant to today’s society.

    • Reply June 11, 2019

      Seana Smith

      You are 100% entitled to your opinion… there you go…

      I am 100% entitled to write my own opinions and to express my thoughts about my own life experience.

    • Reply July 5, 2019

      Anonymous

      This isn’t about shaming women for having kids. This is about women WHO WAIT TOO LONG to have kids.

      As someone (late 20s) who was born to older parents and currently stuck taking care of one of them, let me say this. The upbringing won’t mean a thing if the child is slapped with caregiving once he/she grows up. The child ends up staying in the nest longer than expected and will be forced to put his/her life and career on hold.

      And it’ll be all the parents fault simply because they felt it was somehow a good idea to wait until their late 30s/early 40s to have kids.

  • Reply July 19, 2019

    donna

    Ilove the post and well done on raising your twins and all of your children.

    I don’t know if this is conversation is still going but I am 52 years old with 9 and half year old identical twin boys. I met my husband at 41 after finishing an medical degree and at 43 had my twins. Yes being an older mother can mean anxiety pre and post natal, worrying if your too old, how will they be when I’m 60 and their finishing highschool.
    i did travel, have a great life before them, and so feel i can give them the wisdom, ability to travel, experience the world and love them as they are. They both have ADHD and it can be challenging but they are so much fun and gorgeous souls that all the bad and sad times are wiped out with a cuddle or hearing their laughter. .
    It is a matter of how you feel, weighing the risks-both emotional and also for issues such as high risk for genetic and other issues, pregnancy issues and other risks, but keeping fit and healthy can help.
    Not any age is better than the other. Each age offers different influences and upbringings for the children. If you are worried they will be your carer if you can afford it set up for other means or like i say you will live your life not mine. i do not expect them to look after me when i’m older home services or nursing homes are for that.
    Being older does not mean being a “dead weight for them” and if someone asks me if i’m their granny I just look smile and keep on going!

  • Reply July 21, 2019

    Amy

    Interesting reading all these stories, thank you for all the honesty & understanding. I’ve had children when I was 18ys, 25yrs (two boys to my first husband) then 3rd when I was 35 (1st girl with 2nd husband) this was to be my last. I find myself at almost 41yrs with a gorgeous 2nd husband who is 7yrs younger & an amazing father has asked me to have baby num 4. I’m feeling extraordinarily conflicted, despite both my older boys 22yrs & 15yrs being completely supportive & ready to step up to another sibling. I have a university education, including post grad masters degree. A good & secure job. I’m physically fit (running between 70-100km a week). So despite my age, on paper I’m a good candidate to have another baby, I just don’t know I want to.

    • Reply July 23, 2019

      Seana Smith

      Hello Amy,

      I do feel for you. Only you and your husband can make this decision and there will ALWAYS be good and bad outcomes for each decision.
      I’m sorry that I didn’t approve the comment when you wrote it. We have been away and it’s only today when the twins have gone back to school that I am getting a grip and working on the website.

      My old Mum used to always say: ‘When in doubt, do nowt.” I try to follow that advice, even though I am quite an impulsive person. Maybe you and your husband will need to do lots more talking before you are able to make your mind up.

      It sounds like a new baby would be surrounded by many loving people. It is lovely that your husband is so enthusiastic.

      I love my twins very much. They are 13 now and I am 55. Many of my friends are very free as they had kids like my older boys, now 22 and 19 and they can do all sorts of things that we cannot. But we still have adventures, and my hubby has stopped working overseas so there’s heaps more freedom all round.

      I feel SO SO lucky that my twins did not have autism spectrum, like their big brother does. It would have been very hard if they had, no doubt about it.

      My husband and I were trying to have a third and were very much thinking if it happens, it happens and it’s meant to be…. and it did – twins! – so it must have been.

      I really do wish you all the best as you make your decision… and if you do decide to try for a baby, I hope it all happens super quick and easy for you.

      Yours,

  • Reply September 21, 2019

    Emma

    Just found this post while googling “is 41 too old for a third baby?”. I’m 40.5, husband is nearly 41 and we have a 4 yo and a 1 yo. I’m yearning for a third. Never thought I’d want three but we did start too late. Living the expat life and both had big jobs. I think it’s too late for us and we’d be so stretched and stressed out. Wish we’d started sooner as we are really tired.

    • Reply September 22, 2019

      Seana Smith

      Hello, I do sympathise. I wish I had started younger too. I think it would make a big difference if you knew you could afford and get a lot of help round the house, I was lucky when I had the twins as my husband had a big job and we could afford a wonderful mother’s help who really saved me and made that first year a happy one. and later we had au pairs.

      I do think that many women, like me, long for more children… it’s just natural especially as we get near to the menopause and the end of possibility… I have found that, since menopause, all that longing has gone… and most older women I know feel this, and there’s peace with what life has given us.

  • Reply September 26, 2019

    Selena Hamblin

    This post made me cry, I hope my beautiful daughter dont feel this way about me when she grows up, I had her at 40, she is 16months and we are trying for a 2nd I dont want her to grow up without a sibling I’m 42 now so dont like my chances.
    I try and be a young fit mum, always active with her, always outside, still havnt even got around to letting her watch TV, she would much rather be outside, I wish I had her in my late 20s early 30s but unfortunately this didn’t happen. I think I’m very fortunate to have such a good baby she slept right through since 10 to 12 weeks old still does from 6.30 to 7.30pm to 7.30 to8am very bright and such a good girl, maybe she is setting me up thinking that all babys are this good and if I’m lucky enough to have another it might be a different story ?

    • Reply September 26, 2019

      Seana Smith

      There are no black and whites, are there? Everyone’s experience is different, as are all our hopes and dreams. I feel a very fortunate mother to have had two healthy twins aged 42 and my older boys when I was 33 and 36… but am still advising all my kids to have their children a lot younger than we did. But I wonder what their lives will turn out like… Very best wishes as you try to have another, I lost three pregnancies between 40 – 41 years and then had the twins, very lucky.

  • Reply November 3, 2019

    Scruppy

    Your post has made me feel so sad. I am 45 with an 8 month old from IVF and a 4 year old who was naturally conceived when I was 40.
    I read your post with such dismay – it made me feel sick to my stomach to be reading yet another negative story about parenting later in life.
    I only struggle with my age because so many people have so many negative things to say about it. I just want to feel good about just being a mum, regardless of my age. I also want to try to have another child with my remaining embryos, because I want my kids to all have each other later in life.
    But everything I read about being an older mum is negative. It makes me feel so anxious, hopeless and depressed. I’ve got to the point that I can’t even enjoy my children to the fullest extent anymore, because I constantly feel enormous guilt for having had them so late in life. It is a horrible, desolate feeling, and it is a waste of precious time with them.
    Yes, in an ideal world we all would be having our children in our 20s and early 30s. But none of us know how it feels to have children until we’ve had them – and only then do we understand the enormity of what we’ve done, and what a huge and emotional responsibility they are, and how fiercely you want to protect them. If we did truly know these things, no one would choose to have their children later in life. I didn’t know this, and found out the hard way. I am incredibly sad about it. I stupidly turn to the internet for hope, for some positive story about parenting young children when you’re in your 40s, for positive stories about people who’s parents were in their 40s when they were born. Those stories are definitely out there, but unfortunately, there are so many negative comments and articles, I just feel that it is relentless, and it makes me feel hopeless.
    Intellectually, I know my children will love me, no matter my age. I am their mother. I gave my children life, and surely that is a blessing, even if I won’t be around for them the way my parents are for me now?
    Please, please, please think about this before posting yet another negative story about becoming a parent later in life. Some of us who have just become parents in our 40s are really struggling with the relentless negativity out there – I know I am not the only one.
    Please someone throw me a lifeline – I want to hear something good about being an older mum. I don’t want to feel that I have already failed my children when their lives have only just begun.

    • Reply November 4, 2019

      Seana Smith

      Hello, you sound as if you are really struggling and I am so sorry to hear that. Having children can be so overwhelming, and exhausting too. You have two lovely children, why read articles that you find negative? As you’ll have read, I had twins at 42… and I didn’t find a lot of negatives attitudes towards it at all, and in fact wrote this article to counteract what I saw as unrealistic articles about having babies later in life.

      In my mothering journey I have benefited a great deal from counselling and psychiatric and psychological support. You do sound low and I wonder whether you might have some PND and might benefit from more support yourself? If you feel very low for more than two weeks then I cannot advise strongly enough a visit to the doctor for help.

      Why concentrate on the negative when there are plenty stories about the joys of late motherhood too. But you have made me think. I am 55 now and my twins are 13, I could write on the upsides of it all too and should do that.

      However, I’ll still be advising my kids not to wait too long… of course, they won’t listen to a word I say.

    • Reply January 21, 2020

      Angela Jury

      Ignore this ridiculous post. I feel so sad that the negativity spread by one persons opinion will have this effect on others. What a ridiculous blog. Seriously. Enjoy, love and adore your babies you all deserve it. So many women are having families later in life and hell early 40’s is hardly OLD!!! You only fail your children if you fail to love them regardless of the circumstances.

  • Reply January 1, 2020

    Susan

    I’ll turn 44 soon. I got married not too long ago to someone younger. I am the main provider. I was trying to have my first kid the natural way. I know that it may or not happened but now I’m really panicking about the idea. I am worried about all the things that you have talked about. I also think that my parents are dead, my family doesn’t live near and everyone is older now so he/she would not have a support system (not even older siblings) I worry that my kid will be 17 by the time I am 62 and I will not be making the same amount of money to be able to support it or even to send it to college. I wished I would have had my kids earlier but it just didn’t happen.Then I think about retirement too. I don’t have a house yet. I am afraid and unsettle. I think that it is best for me not to have it but I don’t seem to find peace with a yes or not decision. I wonder if I will regret not even trying it. I know this is a personal decision but any advice that you can give me will be appreciated.

    • Reply January 3, 2020

      Seana Smith

      Hello Susan, thanks for writing your thoughts. I really do not have any advice to give… there’s just no right or wrong answer. I know a lady who had her first child naturally at 46, after just one miscarriage. That is so amazing, her son has no developmental problems at all and all went smoothly. Other friends have tried and not managed, others have tried and had babies with special needs.

      To have a baby naturally would be such a wonderful thing as an older mum, I was 42 when mine were born… but there are zero guarantees… and IVF rates are pretty low for over 40s too.

      What I do know is that many people find great peace with their situation after menopause… even those whose longing to have kids was profound and powerful find that things change and acceptance comes as they age.

      If only we had all been able to start earlier… but life turns out as it does. Best wishes as you think about it all, it’s not easy.

    • Reply March 16, 2020

      Mel

      Hi Susan
      I loved your post, to know I’m not alone… I had to reply to let you know your not alone. I am 45 nearly 46 and I have been on and off wanting to have a child since I was 33. My late husband who I was with for 20 years, who I lost nearly 3 years ago never wanted children and our fur babies were enough. At 33 when I discussed with him the want to have a child he said why have you changed your mind I thought we were on the same page. We had counselling it was heart breaking. I still crave to have a child and I’m with a new partner who is 7 years older than me and whilst he wants to make me happy, I know in my heart he does not want children. I am going to seek counselling in regards to this, as for all the reasons and fears you put, they are mine too. The article brought up things like retirement, hobbies, travel, relaxing after a life of working sounds wonderful. I want to make a decision I’m able to live with, not to resent… Its very difficult when life does not turn out how we thought, were my male partners bad choices for my wants and desires, I ask myself. However, I look that I am very lucky to have loved and love two wonderful men and to be loved and adored by them. I often ask if I don’t have children and have fur babies, will that be enough? Who is going to be my support network when I grow old, however I just spoke to my neighbour who when visiting her own mother said she checked in on her neighbour to see if she was ok, as her family does not care about her. I’m hoping karma is kind to me at the end of my life… All the best sweetheart, life is hard.
      Seana great post, thank you for being honest about what motherhood is like in our later lives. It has helped me as I gather information and grapple with the decision to have or not to have. I think I would be totally selfish having one or two now, if I can that is, however living with that decision and heart break is something I need to come to grips with. It will be another loss to grieve I think not having my own. What will fill the hole left! Hopefully I will find a purpose 🙂

      • Reply March 18, 2020

        Seana Smith

        Hello Mel,

        Thanks for your reply to Susan and thoughts. How wise you are to seek counselling in the aim of making a decision that can be accepted and lived with. No easy answers! I have met some people who have found that with menopause comes a very deep acceptance of not having their own children. That might be a way off for you. Best wishes with your own journey. Life is never simple, nor easy, nor black to white.

  • Reply January 3, 2020

    natasha

    Yes totally agree. Have your children when we are supposed to. . Fertility clinics give women a lot of false hope.

  • Reply January 15, 2020

    Trinity

    I had my first born at 39, second at 41 and third at 43. I fell pregnant straight away with the first two and the third took three months. All homebirths. All easy births. All kids are healthy. Time wise I wish I was younger so that they’d have my parents around for longer. But overall, I wouldn’t be the parent I am now if I was younger. There are so many pros and cons for all ages though. Mind you, I’m 45 now and I’ve found out that I’m pregnant. I’ll be 46 when I have this baby. I’m not going to lie, it’s closer to 50 rather than 40 and it’s freaking me out but I can’t change it now. I’m grateful he/she will have three siblings that are relatively close in age. The oldest will be almost seven when this one is born. Whatever happens at least they’ll have each other. Luckily I have/had three grandparents into their 90’s. Let’s hope I’m the same.

    • Reply January 16, 2020

      Seana Smith

      Hello Trinity, what an uplifting story. How wonderful for you that you are so fertile, even in your forties. I was lucky too, but heard stories of heartbreak all around me. It sounds like you have great genes for longevity too, wonderful. My parents died at 71 and 78 but they were not great at looking after themselves, with my Dad that is a major understatement! My wee granny was touch and lived until she was 99, so I am doing my utmost to live well so I can around a long time for my kids.

      BEST WISHES for this pregnancy and birth and for staying well. Having kids late does keep us young, we are living the lives of much younger people and I hang out with much younger people through school. Thanks for telling your story here, one of great joy amidst many that are so upsetting.

  • Reply February 29, 2020

    Sarah

    Thank you for your story. I am about to turn 35 next week and my fiancé wants to wait 5 years before trying for a family. I have been hearing my clock tick loudly for months now. This gave me confirmation that I am too old to have a baby now, let alone in 5 years. I truly feel I can now move on with my life and not fret anymore over not having a child.

    • Reply March 3, 2020

      Seana Smith

      Haha, it’s good to have a sense of humour. 35 seems so young! I had my first at 33 and second at 36 then the twins at 42 (ouch). Your fiance has got to be kidding!!??? This article shows how, generally, women’s fertility collapses in the late 30s… https://www.hellosydneykids.com.au/fertility-and-age-in-australian-women-the-statistics-and-the-stories/

      But of course this is just average. Some people are not very fertile at 30, some have babies with no help at 46… the thing is that none of us knows where we are until we try. Anyway, no black and white, we all live life’s shades of grey.

  • Reply April 28, 2020

    Rachel

    Some people have no choice. I am just starting my own business and will probably not be able to contribute to a family and I am certainly not going to wait for a man to contribute (its unfair to ask a man to provide most of the expenses for a family). I thus have to wait till I am more stable money wise to start a family and that won’t be till I am near 40.

    People start families later as men are less likely to look after a women and women are expected to pull their own weight more.

    • Reply May 6, 2020

      Seana Smith

      Very good points. Very true. I do hope that things do work out well for you.

  • Reply May 5, 2020

    Bree

    I don’t think it’s right to pressure your kids into having children young. There’s enough pressure in society already, especially for women, to find a man and start a family, even if that’s not what you want. Pushing the message of “You have to have your kids young!” may contribute to unhappy unions because of the pressure.

    My parents had me in their mid 30s. Both of them had previous serious relationships and could have settled down and had kids, but it wasn’t right. By the time they met eachother they both knew what they really wanted. They are still together. My Mum says if she’d stayed with any of her previous boyfriends they’d be divorced or very unhappily married. I’d rather have older but happy parents than younger parents in an unhappy marriage.

    • Reply May 6, 2020

      Seana Smith

      Your parents sound like me, I met my husband at almost 32 and then had kids at 33, 36 and the twins at 42. My experience is that there’s a big difference between having kids in the 30s and 40s. That’s my experience anyway. But I do agree, I must not pressure my kids… actually, chance would be a fine thing, they wouldn’t let me! But I do want to let them know that, seriously fertility is very varied from person to person… and I really think the 30s and 40s are different.

  • Reply May 30, 2020

    Irina

    Dear Ladies, I am almost 43 and my husband is almost 55, we have 2 children 12 & 8 years old, we did not plan to have one more. I am 8 weeks pregnant now, we were both in shock, because we always try to be very careful. My husband is afraid of his age for a new third baby and he suggests better to do abortion, so next week I have an appointment for vacuum aspiration, but I still thinking and worry..will I regret..it is very difficult decision, i still have 5 days..I know that my husband has right because baby will be only 5 when he will be 60..what do you think? sorry for my bad English it is not my native,thank you

    • Reply May 30, 2020

      Seana Smith

      Hello, I do feel for you. This is such a difficult area and only you can decide, and I am sure that there are many things to consider. I hope that you come to a conclusion that you are happy with.

  • Reply June 16, 2020

    Becca

    Yeah. Just turned 40. Really wanted kids but never found right one. Although more success dating now early. I have basically already decided if I find the right guy In next year or two I will say I am not pregnant in a year let’s adopt. And an older child.

    However I do kind of have to say this. It feels like women get blamed all the time for this. But really I think most women know they will have trouble having kiddos at 40. The real issue is the men. They think they can play Around and marry younger.

    • Reply June 17, 2020

      Seana Smith

      Yes, there is definitely that whole aspect.

  • Reply July 5, 2020

    Just an older mom

    I had three children back to back. I had my oldest at thirty five. I thought I was done at thirty eight but I got pregnant again with my fourth children at 42. Two out of three children are tube feeding children. My girl’s has feeding tubes. My six year old has a heart condition. She also was weak muscle due to her heart condition. My second child is a boy and has no serious medical issues. My youngest daughter was born with weak muscle tone. Both girls are still on the feeding tube. My oldest is eating more normal food. Every gene tests came back normal. I been tested to see if I carry the down system gene and I don’t carry that gene. I don’t know why my girl’s have these medical issues.

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