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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208 Comments

    1. says: 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

      1. says: 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.

        1. says: 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.

          1. says: Kelley

            I am 43 years old and never had children. I was ok with that until now. Now, I cry at the thought of being a mommy. I feel like I made the biggest mistake of my life by not having any. Should I try now??? 9mm

        2. says: Angela Stinski

          I’m going to be 36 and my husband is going to be 52 and our windows are closing well mine is his probably really should be. We have an almost 4 year old this year and I want another, but now reading all these articles I’m now torn on the thought and it makes me feel sad and I cry a lot because we want another, but don’t really know if we should. I mean I’m almost out of time and he’s 52 so that’s why I’m torn.

          1. says: Seana Smith

            Hello, 36 is still pretty young for you and men’s fertility lasts much longer. I am sure you have not run out of time at all. Your husband would be an older dad, but you wouldn’t be an older mum. How does he feel about it?

          2. says: natalie

            Don’t let this article sway you. It’s one person’s opinion. I’m about to have my fourth child at 40 and I don’t feel like this at all. Everyone is different. Follow your heart!

        3. says: Eli

          I’m in the same boat but with older boys…I think hanging out with people with younger kids helps a lot… The yearning for me is to hold a baby and cuddle it because my kids are now not cuddly…I think you get an addictive chemical from snuggling your kids and babies and that as theygrow up that drug starts to create withdrawals symptoms. And like all drugs …its not always wise to succumn to them. We have those drugs to make us procreate in our 20s and 30s or earlier but by the time we are forty we know that falling in love drug we used to crave as teenagers that falling in love or getting drunk and dancing with some hot guy is a load of crap. we used to crave going to parties and now they’re a chore…we used to crave the highest heel and now we just admit most of time we need a solid flat. Sometimes I put on a ton of makeup and some spanks and can revisit that feeling of being young but five minutes later I want my elastic waistband and my slippers. Sometimes I think it would be so cool to be in a band and be famous and rich and have a pony…but then I remember money isn’t all that fame is rather intrusive and ponies are a lot of work. And maybe the craving is there to establish our grandmother selves …. Like realistically our bodies stop having babies but for survival young ones need grandmas…and when our kids would be becoming fertile we need that craving to give us a motivation to help out our kids kids. Actually I think I’ve hit a nail on the head there. But our kods won’t have their kids when we are forty like nature might have planned to happen. I think I’m going to do some babysitting and visit people I know with babies just to remind myself of the downsides. In person. Cos I know I probably won’t ever have sex again let alone get a very young sperm sample and go through with it all… I probably could get pregnant but Christ where would I find a man who even looks genetically decent. I don’t love men like I used…all that glamour is gone. whatever hormone made me think they weren’t jerks is left my system. And if I did have one how badly would I regret it for my kids. I mean when my kids were three they wanted a sister…but now they’re teens the last thing they need in their lives trying to study is a baby?? The last thing they need when their friends come over to play is nappies around… Ya know. So if crave kids i say to myself you’ve already got kids…dpnt be greedy…consider the impact on their lives and my parents lives and the babies lofe being not really part of the family due to being so much younger. And remind myself …god ya know what …I bet there is an app that wakes you up with crying etc to yeach young girls and boys…but we could probably use an app likr that. Tremind me how hard it was! An alarm goes off with a baby at night three times and another screams at you it needs a nappy change. Oh wow I think that would sell. Anyway I think I am sure I’m not going to have another one unless I adopt or foster and that would be wonderful thing to do. As older moms we have a lot to give. But maybe we can give to the younger women by helping support them and helping society support the kids that need us most.

          1. says: Seana Smith

            I think the role of the grandparent is so crusial and so yes maybe channelling that urge for more babies could go that way. If you have never had any yourself at all then I can completely understand why people try really hard to have babies in their 40s, totally get that. And lots do… but most don’t.

            But for you sounds like a wise choice to channel your love into other peoples’ kids and then be a fab granny. If my kids have their kids as old as I did they might miss out on grandparents, just like we did – such a shame.

      2. says: Cath

        Hi Seana, thanks for such an honest heartful post on your own experiences. I’m 46 & mum to a little boy who is 3. I was 4 weeks off my 43rd birthday when I had him. I have days when I’m exhausted, I guess all parents do, I struggle to balance being the best mum I can be with my work, I guess so many mum’s do, & I definitely know I’d have had more energy 10 yrs ago. But, life doesn’t always pan out as you want. In my late 20s married I couldn’t get pregnant then, I wasn’t ovulating. I met my current partner when I was 38, after years of trying, many upsets, IVF, we amazingly fell pregnant naturally just when we’d almost given up & carried my little boy to term. I’d have loved a 2nd child, but my partner didn’t want to take the risk with our ages. I’m trying to make sure my little boy grows up with great friendships. His grandparents aren’t very hands-on, they’re all in their early 70’s, but you know what they were no more hands on 13 yrs ago with my neice either so…..a shame as I was so very close with my grandparents, I’m sad he’s missing that. Yes I worry that we’ll be so old at the school gate, & when he leaves school. No I don’t want him to have to care for me, I’ll make sure financially he doesn’t have to. But both my partner & I are pretty fit active 46 yr olds, how many 30 yr olds can hike 16 mountains in 24hrs, or do ultra marathons across mountain ranges. We’ve lived, we’ve travelled, we’ve worked around the world. We still hope we can show our son the world despite our age, & we still hope we’ve got nearly another half of our lives to live it with him & have great adventures & fun with him along the way. I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over & take him to a music festival & start showing him the wider world & all its amazement. Have I accepted that I won’t have a 2nd child, most days, almost. Love to you all wherever your life leads you at whatever age, it’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it xxx

        1. says: Seana Smith

          Hello and thanks so much for your kind words and sharing your story. How wonderful that you did have your son. I am 57 this year and my twins are almost 15 now.My husband and I keep fit too, him more than me, he’s doing a half marathon next weekend, I am a keen swimmer and will get back to doing weights at the gym next school term. My kids do laugh at me and say I am the only Boomer mum of all their friends. I really, really hope to stay fit and well and to be a useful granny one day. Today though I am not well and am in bed with the kids and hubby looking after me, it is great that they are old enough now to be helpful. Best wishes and here’s to heaps more family fun once this bloody pandemic is over.

          1. says: Liza

            Hi Seana
            I’ve literally just found out im pregnant, im 42. I have a 22 and 17 year old and a great career. I also have health issues now newly diagnosed diverticular disease with 2 hospital admission since March. Last one 8th May and I would have been 1 week pregnant I had all kinds of drugs pumped through me and ct scans.
            After reading this it seems I shouldn’t keep it. In so scared. My husband doesn’t want it we had a retirement plan is that selfish and with my illness its not fair to bring someone into the world I maybe can’t look after properly.
            Any thoughts please? I’ve always said I would never terminate i dont think I could but I may be forced to.
            And I always wanted a 3rd but years ago! But he never did.
            🙁

          2. says: Seana Smith

            Oh what a difficult situation… time to have a long chat to your GP and then to seek some counselling, some serious counselling. Depending on where you are it can be very hard to get appointments, if in NSW have you heard of likemind.org.au ?? It’s a free service. Your doctor should know of an appropriate place to talk through all your issues with an expert… whatever you decide you need to know that you have thought through all the issues and that you can live with your decision, not that it would ever be black and white, but we all need to live with the shades of grey that our decisions have brought to us.

            This article was mainlyw ritten about fertility though, and that’s not your issue at all… I had my twins at 42… I never did think of not having them, not ever… but I can tell you that two 15 year olds at age 57 is hard going some days…. only you can decide… but you need and deserve help and a lot of support. Hope your GP can be a good starting place.

    2. says: PregnantOver40

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

      Thats my honest comment sorry.

      1. says: 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!

        1. says: Yvi

          I’ve just read the article and got mad as well. I recently turned 40, don’t have a child yet because my life just didn’t go that way and my body didn’t agree either. So am I not allowed to become a Mother ever? Seeing all the countless young mothers in the media, feeling insecure about even trying to become one myself at the age of 40, there is absolutely no reason to add further discouragement. Trust me, if you’re wanting to become pregnant “at this age”, you very well know all the facts and figures and every last statistical chance of having all sorts of complications.
          Also we’re constantly hearing it from family, friends, and random people all over, that you should’ve gotten pregnant at least ten years ago, if you were right in your mind and thinking about the child’s future.
          I don’t see the humour in this article either, because miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and countless failed attempts on top of all are taking away the playfulness and lightness that would be necessary to “get it”.
          You just make us even more feel like losers and not entitled to motherhood, because we missed the right time, for whatever reason you don’t really seem to care about anyway.

          1. says: Seana Smith

            I am so sorry that you are having a difficult time conceiving. It is so distressing to lose pregnancies and the unasked for criticism of others must be very upsetting too.

            I still do meet people who think it is easy to get pregnant even in their 40s, the mainsteam media still glorifies. I can completely understand why attempts at humour about this and my own life are not at all welcome to you. I would feel just the same.

            Best wishes as you continue your journey. I am so sorry that life is being so tough for you.

      2. says: 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?

        1. says: 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!

          1. says: 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.

      3. says: 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

      4. says: 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.

      5. says: natalie

        Terribly negative, I agree! There’s a lot of idiot 20 year olds having babies too. “Oh no, my responsible, loving, attentive parents are old!” Get outta here!

    3. says: 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 !

      1. says: 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…..

      2. says: 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.

        1. says: 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.

  1. says: 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

    1. says: 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.

  2. says: 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.

    1. says: 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!

      1. says: 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.

      2. says: Lana

        Hi Seana, I have a question for you. I have three kids ages 12, 6 and 10 months old and I will turn 40 soon. We thought we were done with three kids since we are turning 40 this year. But now we are thinking about a fourth one because having two kids close in age, like 2 years apart, can be beneficial for them so they can play with each other and support each other when they grow up since we will have less energy as we age. Also, all my friends are done having their children like 5 years ago so we won’t have any playmates for our third son. Another option is we can stop at three and sign him up for more activities as he grows up to provide him playmates. I know that having children in 40s is not easy but we had our third at 39, so 40-41 seems very close. If you had a single child instead of twins, would it have been easier in the long run? I am sure taking care of twins in the first couple of years is very hard. What if you had kids 2 years apart by age 41, would it have been easier than having twins? Thank you for your comments! Lana

        1. says: Seana Smith

          Hello Lana, that’s funny, we were just talking about this the other day. I have to say that I feel very lucky that we did have the twins as they always had each other. They do play together a lot, well, they bicker a lot now that they are teens, but when they were little they played a lot together. We were really lucky then that we had a pool and a trampoline, that kept them very busy and happy! So I can definitely see why a fourth close to your third would be very appealing. One of the big issues with havving kids later is fertility but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for you – hooray. My friends with only children have had to be a lot more organised to provide playmates, and they often end up with loads of kids at their house. I have been very fortunate to have mine in two batches of two, as it were. Best wishes as you work it out and if you do try for another, hope it works quickly and then you have two of them to grow up together.

          1. says: Lana

            Hi Seana, thank you for your feedback! I have to ask you about bickering between your twins. Do they bicker a lot now and when they were younger? Do kids closer in age bicker more often? Or is it just more common in teenagers?

            Thank you!
            Lana

          2. says: Lana

            Hi Seana,

            I forgot to ask you one more question. Do you think it would be easier to have one teen when you are 55 or two teens? Do they keep each other busy or mad most of the time?

            Thank you!
            Lana

          3. says: Seana Smith

            Hello, will answer both questions in one… well, our house is definitely quieter when there is only one teen at home… my two are boy/girl and very different characters and they do bicker a lot. Now they are teenagers they spend most of their time doing their own thing, lots of time in their bedrooms playing guitars and music and watching movies. Dinner times can be a bit fractious… we parents can generally maintain our calm even when the kids can’t, we’ve had practice.

            I think they actually bickered more as little kids because they spent almost all their time together. Now things can be more explosive. When we go on holiday they play more, like when we were in Lennox head in January and they played for ages in the waves which was a joy to see… it felt like they were little kids again. But of course there are never any guarantees… you might get kids who don’t bicker as they have a lot in common.

          4. says: Lana

            Hi Seana,

            Thank you again for your reply! I have just a few more questions for you, I promise:)

            1. Did your older two boys bicker as much as your twins when they were growing up? How many years apart are they? I wonder if the closer the kids are in age, the more they will bicker over the same toys or topics. But the bonus is that they will probably play more also because of their similar interests (stages of development).

            2. Do you think bickering is worse between kids of opposite genders? I would think that two boys of similar age may have more things in common than a boy and a girl of similar age, especially in teenage years. Or their personalities are more important than their gender?

            3. Do your older boys have a close relationship now that they are grown? I wonder if all this bickering is worth it at the end of their childhood.

            4. Have you ever felt that you were too busy watching after your twins and you did not have enough time for your older two sons?

            Thank you!
            Lana

          5. says: Seana Smith

            Hello Lana, sorry for wee delay…. ummmm… so many things to think about. Starting at the end…. I did used to feel I was too busy with the twins and that my middle son in particular was given less attention, my eldest has additional needs above him and the twins below. He’s 21 now though, very independent and doing fine. The big boys at 23 and 21 are not terribly close really, they don’t live in the same city. I don’t know if there was much difference in bickering between the big boys and the twins… I am more patient with it all though. Yes, maybe gender makes for more bickering…. I really don’t think there are any rules though… and it really comes and goes. I found once they were teens they spent more time alone or with their own friends and bickered a lot less. Do you find that with your older ones???

          6. says: Lana

            Hi Seana,

            Thank you again for your response! I want to say that I really appreciate all your input on my questions because I am trying to make a big decision and I don’t have anyone else to ask about these matters. I and my husband are the only children and our parents think we are a little crazy to even have a third child (they think 2 is the maximum regardless of mother’s age:).

            In regards to my own children, my oldest son is almost 13 and my middle son is 6.5 (6.5 years apart) and they do bicker and physically fight sometimes, however, they do play sometimes as well. They like to play soccer and hockey together and computer games (I only let them play on the weekends though). They usually fight over things like: the middle one will take something out of the oldest one’s room, burp in his face or annoy him in other silly ways. So usually the bickering between them is the result of the middle one annoying the oldest one and the oldest one reacting negatively to the middle one’s behavior. They do spend some time apart because the oldest has a lot of homework now and sometimes he spends time with his own friends or alone.

            My baby is 10 months old now, so he is 5.5 years apart with the middle son. I foresee that their relationship will be similar to my oldest two. And maybe this is perfect and it is good to stop at 3…but part of me wonders what if I had a fourth one close in age with my baby (2 years apart), how would our family dynamics change… And how would dynamics between all my children (siblings) would change…Of course no one knows. I guess if I knew that most of the time the youngest two would play and get alone with each other, I would go for the fourth one, but if they would mostly bicker/fight, then I would stop at three. By the way the reason I think about 2 years apart because my OBGYN doctor said that I need to wait at least 12 months before next pregnancy since last birth but waiting any longer just goes against my biological clock.

            On another note about having children later in life (late 30s – early 40s), it is very interesting in my specific situation. I had my 1st son at age 26 and physically it was the easiest but I worked full time then and was attending graduate school, so I was emotionally drained! So it was the worst experience as a mother. I only had 6 weeks off for maternity leave. Then I had my 2nd son at 33 and I just started a new job, but my husband was attending graduate school then so kids were mostly on me, so again I was really drained. But better than the first time. The reason we decided to have our 3rd son at age 38 (almost 39) is because me and my husband were finally done with our higher education and my current job (teaching) is now flexible (combo of in person and online teaching). Also because I am a teacher, I got one year off to stay home and look after my baby. So even though having a baby later in life is physically more difficult, for me personally this was the best experience so far as a mother (maybe until I go back to work:) because I am so relaxed now and I have experience with kids and I just don’t rush. That’s another reason I think about a fourth child because I can stay home with my fourth child for a year or a year and a half (and with my 3rd child if he would be 2 at that time) so this idea is appealing. But I don’t have any experience taking care of a baby and a toddler at once and that seems scary. But I know that a year will fly fast and then they will go to day care…But I wonder for the next 18 years when I will spend time with all my kids during summer breaks, winter breaks, weekends and evenings, will the relationship between the youngest two make our life a lot more difficult or a lot more fun! Also, when my middle child will become a teen and will be more on his own, my 3rd son will be 8 and he would probably still enjoy some company…or not… Also, as parents, will we enjoy one quite teen (when my 3rd son becomes a teen) at a dinner table or two bickering teenagers….or two teenagers who would make each other and us laugh.. Sorry for so much writing but I fee like I summarized it all now.

            If you had one child instead of twins, would you go for another one or stop? If you only had one child in your early 40s, do you think it would have been a lot easier then and afterwards or just really depends on a day and kids’ personalities?

            Thanks so much again!
            Lana

          7. says: Seana Smith

            Hi there Lana,

            That is all so interesting. You started young and have had such different experiences with all the kids. Do you live in the USA?? I think one of the things I really missed on was having family support. I am from Scotland but emigrated to Australia? Do you have family around that support you and your family? I was 42 when the kids were born, if I had just had the one I definitely would not have tried to have another child at 43 or 44 – no!!! But you are younger.A baby and toddler together is hard but also full of joy… which is just the way all of parenthood is, I think. And so many days are different… we still have days and days of calm and then explosions and bickering. I am with my 24 year old son at the momement for a couple of nights. I look at him and feel as if a giant stole my wee boy!

          8. says: Lana

            Hi Seana,

            Thank you for your reply again! Yes, I do live in the USA and I also did immigrate here with my parents 23 years ago. My mom still works so she helps occasionally but very little. My dad passed away at age 51 before I had any of my children; even though he was only 25 years old when I was born, he never got to see his grandchildren. So having kids younger does not guarantee anything either. He would have been a great support for us …I actually spend some days helping my mother after his passing because she was dependent on him, so some days I feel like I do have four children. My husband’s mom still lives oversees because she still works and eventually we plan to bring her over here, so again this probably will be more work for us than help really:) My aunt had her 3rd child at age 42 because of the second marriage, she thinks it is best not to have children after 40, but her husband thinks it is wonderful. Go figure!

    2. says: 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.

      1. says: 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!

      2. says: Art

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

  3. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: 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.

    2. says: Kate

      I had my first at 41 and second at 43 too, and while it is inevitably hard in many practical ways, I am loving it. I feel grounded in a really important way I never did before. In fact I happened upon this article while musing about the possibility of a third! It is really such an individual thing, as individual as we are and our kids are. The hardest thing I find is a sense of when will I ever get to focus on my personal dreams again type of cc angst, because looking after little kids is so time intensive. If I’d had kids earlier I might had less of that sense of loss as I would believed I’d have time to get back to those things when the kids were older. But on other hand I went into motherhood already having done so many wonderful things in my life so I was well and truly ready to focus on my little ones without resentment.

      1. says: Seana Smith

        How lovely to read this, wonderful that you had your two and that you are loving it. Hooray for a happy mumma…. and if you do decide to have a third, please do let us know. It was me going for a third that led to twins at 42!!

  4. says: 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!

    1. says: 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.

    2. says: 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.

  5. says: 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!

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: 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.

        1. says: Vtay143

          Thank you for sharing !! I feel Exactly the same way , I am 40 and will have my first baby in 6 months right before I turn 41. I danced professionally all my life and chose to live out my dreams before settling down , which I do not regret. I also never met the right person until now , my current boyfriend is 6 yrs younger then me and we are a perfect fit . I have been doing cross training my entire pregnancy as well as dance and yoga and I am more physically fit then half the women , half my age in the classes I attend . I do not feel my age , I do not look my age and I never have . People think I am early 30s. I have a lot of energy and take very good care of myself . I believe that it Is a mind set and everyone is unique , depending on how you live your life and take care of yourself and if you choose to let a number determine your capabilities. All women in their 40s are not the same,I believe that things happen in life when they are meant to happen . We should be thankful for it when it does 😉

          1. says: Seana Smith

            It’s wonderful to hear that you are expecting your first baby and are feeling terrific. Everyone is different, and everyone’s situation is too. It’s just excellent that your fertility is still good and you sound ready for motherhood in every way. I hope that all goes really well for you xx

  6. 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

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: Jane

        I love this post!! I found it searching for having a third baby at age 39/40 which my husband would like but I would not. I think of all these things you are talking about and it reaffirms to me that it’s not a good idea. I do not want to be 40 and pregnant. And while I have a 4 and an almost 2 year old at 38, I do wish to move on from the baby stage.

        My family history of women who’ve had babies over 40 isn’t good. All autistic non verbal, still wearing nappies at age 7, 9 and those boys were had at age 43,44. Another cousin had her first baby age 44 but she sadly passed away due to significant heart problems. I just wouldn’t want to put myself through that. I think I’m lucky I have two beautiful healthy girls I had at 34,36 and it’s time to call it a day.

        If you could write a post about how to get your husband to have a vasectomy that would be great ?

        1. says: Seana Smith

          Hello, you sound pretty definite and that’s a great space to be in. I wish I could help with the old vasectomy situation, but have no wise words. My husband put off having one for ages after our first two boys, he had a referral from the doctors but did nothing with it… then I persuaded him to try for a third (which turned out to be third and fourth, what was I thinking?). After the twins he did get one very sharpish. Good luck!

        2. says: Mamahood

          All I can say is that this post made me sad. I had my first at 35, second at 37. I am really trying hard not to want a third at 39 but it’s so so hard. The pull is so strong. Reading all of this negative realism is really hard. I do feel incredibly sad I didn’t start sooner now that I’m so in love with my babies.

  7. says: 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.

    1. says: 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!

      1. says: Jane

        Regarding your last comment about people over 40 and waiting- I know a woman age 41 who has been married since 29, and they keep putting it off because they think they have heaps of time. She tells me “look Janet Jackson had a baby at 50!” “Cameron Diaz had a baby at 47” I’m like yeah but they most likely used donor eggs, and Cameron def used a surrogate so if you want your own biological kids you should start now!!

        I feel like celebrities being dishonest or not open about how they created their families are doing a disservice to women. If my friend waits until she’s 47-50 I fear it will be too late for her.

  8. 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.

    1. says: 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.

  9. says: 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!

    1. says: 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.

  10. says: 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

    1. says: 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.

  11. says: 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!!

    1. says: 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.

  12. 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!

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: 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.

        1. says: 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!

    2. says: 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.

      1. says: 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.

    3. says: 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.

  13. 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 😉

    1. says: 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.

  14. says: 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

    1. says: 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.

  15. says: 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!

    1. says: 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.

  16. says: 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

    1. says: 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.

  17. says: 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

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: 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?

  18. 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.

    1. says: 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!

  19. says: 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.

  20. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: 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.

        :>)

  21. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

  22. says: 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!

    1. says: 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.

  23. says: 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.

    1. says: 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

  24. says: 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

    1. says: 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.

    2. says: Sharon

      Pregnant here… unplanned and 46 years old… so trust me… I know how you feel! It has been a hard road with mixed emotions. My baby has Down syndrome and I am now 31 weeks pregnant. Not how I planned things… but trying to embrace this new challenge ahead. I could not even fathom aborting my child. I could not live with the guilt. I have considered adoption…. but that just doesn’t feel right for us either…. I have so much respect for the women who have given up their unwanted babies for adoption. I am not strong enough to do it. I pray you are able to heal from the emotional pain of your termination. My heart breaks for you. I didn’t start having kids until I was 31 – too interested in my career at the time. I conceived naturally at 42 and again at 46. This last one was entirely unplanned and unexpected. We both will have to live with our choices for the rest of our lives.

      1. says: Seana Smith

        Thank you for sharing your story, Sharon, what a lot of things you have going on and you have had to think through so much, and perhaps to reply on your gut instincts too. I remember dreaming about being pregnant again and deciding that adoption would be the best thing, but not being able to do it. Just a dream though. Very best wishes as you continue along on your journey with your new baby who I am sure will bring great joy.

  25. says: 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

    1. says: 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.

    2. says: CJ

      Thank you for your story Kristy. I have had similar circumstances. The grief will change and hormones are a bit crazy afterwards. Its not easy but it’s the best decision at that moment for you and you can now concentrate on your older kids more if they need it.

  26. says: 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.

  27. says: 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.

  28. says: 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 🙁

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: 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!

  29. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

  30. says: 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 !

  31. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

  32. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: 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.

  33. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

  34. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

    2. says: 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.

  35. says: 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!

  36. says: 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.

    1. says: 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,

  37. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

  38. says: 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 ?

    1. says: 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.

  39. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

    2. says: 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.

    3. says: Sharon

      Not sure how old your post is … it let me state for the record that I Love being a parent. I know I am so blessed to have had 5 healthy kids between the ages of 31 and 43… (currently 46 and pregnant). I do wish I was 10-20 years younger, of course, but my kids keep me young and I love them dearly and they are my biggest joy and blessing. I do not think 40’s is too old… harder? Of course… but so worth it!!!

  40. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

    2. says: 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 🙂

      1. says: 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.

  41. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

  42. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

  43. says: 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.

    1. says: 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.

      1. says: Sara

        I’m reading this, I’m so incredibly sad, and I feel so guilty ever since my baby was born.

        My husband and I have been married for 7 years and just had our first child. I brought up having children before this many times but he kept pushing it off.

        Now I keep thinking about the future and the situation I put our child into and I feel terrible everyday. I was going to have my kids young and I set myself for that to happen. I got married young and everything. We were financially stable but he just didn’t want kids and he said our ages wouldn’t matter.

        But they do matter. I hate him so much because I feel I can never have another child and I already put one into a less than ideal situation. I feel so bad.

        1. says: Seana Smith

          Hello there, you are sounding very upset and I am wondering how old your baby is and whether you might be in need of some general support at this time? Having babies is hard work at every age, and although you say that you do not think you will be able to have another one, you never know, but you have this one now. I hope that you can feel better and really embrace parenthood and find the joy in it.

  44. says: 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

    1. says: 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.

  45. says: 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.

  46. says: 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.

  47. says: Grace

    “You might take the whole thing a lot less seriously when you’re younger and that’ll be good for the kids”….

    You can’t be serious. ?

    My hubby and I were lucky enough to have an incredibly healthy pregnancy and natural birth at 37. My entire experience was dare I say easy compared to most of my friends who gave birth 10 years younger. I attribute BOTH my ease of fertility & our raising a incredibly well-rounded happy little one with an abundance of love, patience and know how PRECISELY because of how “serious” I took it ALL.

    I was ready.
    I was confident.
    I was educated.
    I took exceptional care of myself.
    Bottom line- I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I would NOT have been half the mom I am TODAY had I not waited for the right time!

    I think you are giving MANY 40 yr old moms the short end of stock- I’m sure you mean well with your “advice”, but I’m afraid you are unknowingly projecting your own mental and physical limitations on to others.

    Theres so many 40 somethings today who would leave most 25 yrs olds in dust when it comes to energy & the emotional stability motherhood requires BECAUSE WE TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES both physical & emotionally. You’re looking at one right here. ?

    All your reasons are generalizations AT BEST that simply ignore the fact that 20 somethings can AND DO have fertility issues, die young, be unhealthy, have low energy, etc.

    Yes, fertility is a real concern at 40 of course, but all the rest- overall PROS vs CONS- that’s for the birds and all in your head.

    Words & thoughts are POWERFUL.
    Stop spreading NEGATIVE energy. ??

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Good to get your perspective. You had your first child at 37, you write – well done. Are you planning to have more children?

      There are no blacks and whites here, only shades of grey. I’m generally a positive person but think it’s important not to sugarcoat the harsh realities of fertility. I am 56 now and my twins are 14. I keep healthy and well and have less money and work stress now, that’s the upside of being a mum of teenagers later in life; more experience and more patience too. Also more exhaustion!! Hahaha. I feel very responsible and motivated to keep healthy and active as long as possible so that I can be present in their lives as long as possible. I’d love to be a supportive granny if and when they have their own kids.

  48. says: Kathy

    Seana

    Thanks for your honest post. I am 40 now. I had my first at 34.5 and second at 36.5. First girl was conceived thru Ivf and second child (boy) was conceived naturally. I have a healthy frozen girl embryo that I want to bring to life. There is too much risk for me but perhaps find a younger surrogate mom who can bring her to life. I was going to do that half a year ago before I turned 40 but I got cold feet and wasn’t sure if my reason to have a third was strong enough. I wish I started earlier. My reason for a third is to give my eldest one a sister. I grew up with sisters and we are all very close. My husband say it is good but not necessary. Hubby is 41 and is content with our current boy and girl. I am grateful too but wondering if i should make it happen or always wonder what if I did. If I jump through hoops and hire surrogate to bring this healthy embryo girl to life (created when I was a little under 35), by time she is born age gap between baby and son would be 4 years and between baby girl and eldest girl would be 6 years old. I am afraid to be old mom at school for youngest daughter but also thinking how nice would be to give current kids additional sibling and support to have each other later in life, Altho i know not guaranteed and not sure if a 6 year age gap between the girls is worth going through all the hurdles because my main reason to have another baby is to give my eldest one a sister and for the kids to have each other. Restless nights…

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hello, thanks for sharing your story. There are no easy answers and no guarantees. Best wishes during your restless nights and I hope that you can find peace with whatever decision you make and whatever happens after your decision is made.

  49. says: Masha

    As an older mother myself I can relate to this a lot and I think it’s an important, albeit not always welcomed, conversation to have. Growing up in the 80’s as girls we were told we could have it all. I had a blast during my 20’s travelling and partying – the idea of getting married and having kids horrified me. Suddenly, after a few relationships with unsuitable partners I found myself in my early 30’s – I realised if I wanted a family I was running out of time (although celebrities made having kids in your 40’s seem easy and no big deal) plus what I looked for in a partner had changed significantly. I was lucky to meet my husband at 34 and we had our first child at 36. We started trying strAight away as a close friend had gone through the trauma of IVF and losing twins at 20 weeks). After I had my son I struggled and did wish I had started my journey earlier. Due to severe pregnancy complications, ending up in ICU my husband didn’t want any more. I was upset about my son being an only child but also didn’t couldn’t justify possibly leaving him motherless. 8 years down the track at 44, despite the mini pill I discovered I was 16 weeks pregnant. My husband panicked and didn’t want to continue but I couldn’t see myself not going ahead with it. After a high risk pregnancy, and a month long stay in the hospital for both of us we are now almost 50 and have a 14 yr old and a 5 yr old. They are both great kids and we love them but if I had a choice I wished we had met and started a family younger. I still have ongoing health issues from the pregnancy and struggle with having enough energy at times although I’m also a lot more relaxed the 2nd time around. I find it a little curious some of the very defensive replies. The reality is there is much in life we can’t control and we can only make the best decision at the time with the cards we are dealt. I guess some comments are upset as they feel this article is suggesting that being older makes it harder to be a good mother whereas I see it as simply raising some of the very real issues to be aware of when making decisions regarding when to start a family. I do realise that for many it is due to circumstances and being older when they met their partner but I also know I didn’t start seriously looking for a suitable long term partner until I was early 30’s falling into the movie trap of thinking it would just happen. We encourage young people to plan their careers and work toward goals but often leave romantic relationships to chance. I’m not saying girls should be desperately searching for husband material constantly but it’s important to work out your priorities and timeline. My sister didn’t consider such things until she was 38 and is still waiting and expecting the “fairytale” ending at 44. Parenthood is daunting and expensive but rewarding and there are many paths it can take. I feel this article raises some of the very real issues in becoming an older parent just as we are aware of the potential pitfalls of having children very young. Everyone’s story and journey will be different but being informed is important. Life is messy and rarely goes to plan so we have to do the best with what we have.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment and for explaining your own experiences. I so agree with your thoughts, everyone’s story and journey is unique. I was trying to explain my own experiences as an older mum, I am 56 now and my twins are 14. A benefit of being older, and I know I am very fortunate in this, is that I can pull back on work and have a bit more free time to look after myself which really helps me to stay calm through the inevitable pushes and pulls, ups and downs of life with teenagers. Very best wishes to you and yours and thanks for such a deep and insightful addition to the discussion.

  50. says: Clucky no more

    What a brilliant read. Thank you for this! I am 44, had my children when I was 17 and 21. I have a new husband of 5 years, he is 10 years older than I (has never had his own children – except for my grown kidlets), and for the last 12 months I have been yearning to go again. Hesitant to do so knowing full well that if I went again this time round would be soooo different. But that yearning has been getting a little cray cray lately, the force is strong, but I am pretty sure it’s the impending closing of THAT window that is making my clock scream “do it, do it NOW”. Would I be in such a hurry to do it again if it wasn’t for the time sensitivity? I doubt it.

    My Son’s daughter was born this week, my new granddaughter and first grandchild. I think that has also had a very strong pull on my maternal instincts.
    I had a very messy divorce and very messy shared parental access arrangements when the children were younger that impacted most of their childhood, and I feel like I missed out on the “real” mother experience because of it. I still have to “share” my kidlets with the stepMum who is a little younger than I am and who is their best friend and the knowledge holder of all worldly and wise advice – yes, I am bitter. It’s a process that I am working through. But still, I feel ripped off and have longed to share the parenting experience with my husband and have a happy positive experience at Motherhood.
    But reading this lighthearted truth has just made me see some sense. Those rose coloured glasses have been removed. The politically correct view about Motherhood has been left at the door and some truth bombs have been laid.
    How can I even contemplate having more babies, when that would mean sacrificing my afternoon nanna naps !? They are my life! What was I thinking 😉

    Honestly though, being so young, healthy and energised first time around, and knowing how not so young, not so healthy, and not so energised I am now, I think would make the whole experience harder for me because it was so easy when I was young. That’s not to say if I did have babies now I wouldn’t love them any less or love being a Mum OR that I don’t appreciate that some people don’t get the blessing of being a Mum at all. But I do know that it would be a totally different experience and a lot more challenging for me – I mean there are days when I struggle to get out of bed because I slept in a slightly awkward position !

    Thanks for a different perspective 🙂 I will just embrace the fact that I now get to be the coolest Nanna and I am able to hand her back to Mum and Dad when Nan is menopausal or in need of her NannaNap…. or when she has just had enough.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      What a lovely message to read! I am sure that your hormones are going a bit mad as the door closes on fertility and menopause approaches. Menopause does take all those longings away, I can promise you! I bet having a new baby to hold also gets your maternal feelings zinging and singing. Why wouldn’t it… you are in a great situation and I am sure you’d be a fab mum, if exhausted… you could do it, but that doesn’t mean that, on balance, you’d chose to give it a whirl.

      We never had any grandparents in the country, they were all in Scotland, and I always tell my kids that I will be a good granny and help them and they just laugh. Your kids and the grandkids will benefit so much from having the collect Nanna in town around… I do envy you a grandchild, I am 57 and a perfect age to be a granny and I adore wee babies… but my kids are 23, 21 and 14 now… there’s no hope. I will probably be in a bathchair by the time it happens.

      I really appreciate your writing and only wish we could meet for a cuppa and keep chattering!

  51. says: Anna

    I want to say that it is tremendously sad to see articles like this, especially written by women, and that we, as women, aren’t more supportive of each other in a society that isn’t supportive of motherhood at all.

    Think about it this way:

    -Had a kid at 15? you ruined your life. – at 20? Ruined your chances for college.
    -At 25? Why did you go to college if you are going to be a stay at home mom and /or why did you have a kid if you are going to have strangers taking care of him.
    -At 30? you have debts, why do you want a kid.
    -At 35 ? Too late, eggs are old and you will have chromosomal problems, just give it up.

    I don’t even want to start talking about the intense pressure and criticism mothers over 40 have to go through. From everybody. From science, (even though their studies are based in data from the late 1800s or more recently 1995 data) , to doctors, to society, to family members, to basically all of the Internet including this article. Women in their 40s everywhere deserve better. Along with teen mothers, they are the most discriminated mothers in the world, and the world is incredibly harsh when it comes to them.

    People are never happy and will try to discourage you of anything and everything. If having a kid in your 40s is right for you, DO IT. Freeze your eggs when you are young or simply , like me, give nature a chance. If you are fit, healthy and have no chromosomal issues in your family and conceive naturally, your chances are really good. 95% chances of NOT having a child with an abnormality at 45, vs 99% chances when you were 25. Look it up and do the math on those grim statistics they cite everywhere if you don’t believe it.

    It was the right thing for me and I don’t regret waiting. My 20s and 30s were a blast, and free of responsibilities. I’ve been happily married for over 20 years and my husband and I went everywhere and did everything, we bonded amazingly. Our 40s were the correct age for us to have a kid, we are in the best shape of our lives, healthy, have no debts, are semi retired and we are completely ready for this. My husband isn’t “so old” that he can’t play soccer with our kids. But to be fair to the author and other parents in their 40s, we also didn’t spend our 20s and our 30s running after toddlers, fighting with teens or desperately worried about money, trying to pay for someone’s college on top of a mortgage and accumulating debts.

    Being child free most of our lives, means we also kept in shape, have about the same weight we had in our 20s and eat very healthy foods so we are in basically the same health we had in our 20s. So, we, as first time parents in our 40s, aren’t sick or tired physically, morally or financially. The opposite, we are mature enough to be patient and not dwell on little things like spilled milk or our future teen losing his cell or destroying our car, we already lived our lives to the fullest and travelled extensively, so there’s no rush for us to go into retirement to be free and “start enjoying life”, we already did that, and financially there’s not a single worry anymore about the future.

    It’s a matter of perspective. No matter your age, motherhood will be harsh in one way or another, but it’ll also be a blessing. So, if you are a 15, 20, 25, 35 , 40 or 50 mother or expecting mother, know you are loved and supported and you are doing the right thing for you. You are a woman which means you are a warrior. You can do this. Don’t be discouraged!

  52. says: Cindy38

    Yeah. I think alot of us millenials i.e in our late 30s and 40s will regret we had our kids so late. I think as long as you feel young you will argue but as you actually start to realize you are aging you will regret it. I think as humans we just always do not want to accept that life does not go on for ever but the fact is that age catches up with us all eventually. I think that ideally we should try to be done with having kids by 35. I think alot of us do not realize that we will not live to see our kids become adults and be grandparents. It does suck. My dad had me at 43. I am 38 now and yes he is still alive and alert but I think he is an exception. He only got saved as a result of heart surgery and an extreme diet change at 60. So he almost died when I was 16 which is too young to lose a parent but will happen to alot of our kids as we are having them so late. Most of us will not be that exception like my dad and we do not realize that. Many of my dad friends are dead or have diseases. Children should not have to have the burden of aging parents when they are graduating high school. I think our kids will go back to having kids young and then career . Maybe this is why shows like teen mom are so popular. Before I had my child at 34 my mother said “You can always have a career. You cannot always have kids. “This is so true. I think putting career before kids is a huge mistake of our generation. Hate me if u want :). Now I am 38 and hoping to have a kid before 40 but my hubby is of course like no big deal uf you have one in your 40s but I just do not for all the reasons in this article !!!!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Yes, I think what you say is true. My daughter, for whom I wrote this article is 14 now and I am 57. She thinks I am ANCIENT and she tells me I was far too old to have her. I hope she takes a leaf out of her own book. I would really love to be able to be really helpful to my kids if and when they have children, it was so hard bringing them up with no extended family and I’d love their parenting years to be easier. We will see. Best wishes for your own journey xxx

  53. says: James

    Thanks for the story, I’m 45 and my partner 43. We’ve just found out she is pregnant. We already have 2 boys, 7 and 5. They are full of energy and to date have exhausted us. Sure we love them, but I have been craving getting my life back. Time to exercise, spend time 1 on 1 with my wife (we never have time just for us), not be rushing around to day cares & pick ups and the freedom of the kids being more and more able to look after themselves. Life was getting much more enjoyable now that the boys are not babies or toddlers. But, my wife has a completely different point of view and seems to have forgotten the hard work. She believes it will all be fine, workable and an easy addition to our life. I’m worried it will break us, I worried about all the risks and selfishly I am sad that the easy life is now further away. I’ll be 63 when our child leaves high school. Am I a bad person for asking us to consider termination? We have only ever agreed that we would never have a 3rd child, but this has happened, and my wife now feels connected to the baby. Our difference in opinion has already created a fracture, and I’m not sure I can be happy about this birth. I’m definitely feeling massive guilt about not being happy already.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Oh what a difficult situation. I think that pregnancy hormones do a wonderful job in making women want to have their babies… not always, but it is a powerful urge. Have you thought about having some counselling together to work out your feelings and to help with acceptance? I really hope that you can come together and make peace with whatever choices you made.

  54. says: Claire

    Like you said, this is an opinion post, not a fact post. However, for anyone reading this looking for the positives of having children later, there are many! I had my girls in my 40s because I did not meet my amazing husband until later. Yes, I would have loved to have children in my 30s!! BUT, it wasn’t an option. SO, here are the great things about children later.
    You are more mature and are more likely to be more responsible and a better parent.
    Having kids in your 40s usually doesn’t happen on accident so you most likely REALLY wanted to be a mom and this is awesome.
    I am more fit now than I was in my 30s and having young children will keep you younger longer! While maybe aging you in other ways 🙂
    If you are secure with yourself it doesn’t matter how old other moms are. So what if you have more wrinkles, you also have way more experience and knowledge in life.

    IT IS ALL GOOD!

    Xx

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Great to read this, yes, there are advantages too… absolutely. We have retired early – so lucky – and we can spend so much more time with our teenagers than we did when our older boys were teens. Also we have more space in our lives for self-care which is great when the teens are being challenging.

  55. says: Emma

    Hi,

    I found this article (and comments) wonderful to read. I am a mother to three children (8,6 and 1). My children were born when I was 34,36 and 40. My husband and I are currently considering our future plans and whether we are completely done with 3 (very possible) or whether to try for number 4 (very uncertain).

    I grew up in a picture perfect western family – mum, dad, girl and boy. I had lots of extended family around and great grandparents etc. On the outside our family looked great but little did others know my father is an alcoholic and my mother has mental health issues. I’m unsure which parents issues came first but both created a highly toxic homelife.

    I did my best to escape my parents. I moved interstate and later overseas. I always worried that I would have children that were like my parents, or a terrible dysfunctional family if I chose to have a family of my own. This really worried me. I spent a long time questioning whether marriage and kids were for me. I enjoyed being single and free and my own homelife always burdened me. It still worries my brother. He has chosen to remain single and childfree due to our damaging homelife.

    I finished university, lived and worked overseas twice (China and UK), travelled (to over 100+ countries and all 7 continents), partied, played sport, worked extra jobs, invested…pretty much jam packed my twenties and early thirties with as much as I could. I got married at 30 to a lovely guy who did his best to remind me and encourage me that we could make a better family life than the one I grew up in.

    Luckily I believed him. I now have 3 wonderful children. My parents were both in their twenties when my brother and I were born. My parents struggled with parenting and life in general. This was despite having children at the optimum health stage, having many extended family close by (who did help out), a dad who had a comfortable job, a stay at home mum (until I was in my teens), stable accomodation (my parents were paying off their mortgage) etc. despite all this, mental health and alocohol dependencies ran rampant.

    My mum was envious of the self centred life I enjoyed while I was in my twenties. My dad constantly told me not to get married or have children until I was at least 30.

    In comparison, I live interstate with no extended family close by(not that my parents would help out even if they were close by). Today they are still unable to remain pleasant and sober for the 1week a year that we visit. My marriage is good. My finances are in good shape. My health is good. I have had flexibility to take time off work and then also worked casual since having kids (on my husbands days off). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a mum. It is the best thing I have ever done in my life.

    My older two kids are like little besties. I love them to bits. My third has been like magic. A real bonus. I fell pregnant easily with each of them. I did however spend some time trying not to worry when I was pregnant at 40 with my third. I had the harmony test and there was definitely more concerns even though it all turned out well… but trying to get pregnant in your forties doesn’t sound like the best idea. On one hand I had a great pregnancy/birth at 40 so I could be a good candidate to go again…but on the other hand I feel like I have already pushed my luck..so 3 could be it.

    For people reading, theres a few things I would say… historically women have had babies in their 40’s for thousands of years. Look into your ancestry and family trees. Pre1960’s families were big. Quite often women started having babies in their late teens/early 20’s and went into their late thirties/early 40’s. If you look prior to the industrial age (late 1800’s) you’ll also see many mums with 3-4yr age gaps due to extended breastfeeding and natural contraception. A baby at 40 was not uncommon. Having your first at 40 was though.

    I also believe my generation has been encouraged to get educated and travel and forge a career. I do not remember my parents or extended family or friends families recommending becoming a parent in my 20’s. If anything, the opposite was encouraged..which in some ways is sad. I never thought I would have 3 kids or even consider a 4th child. Motherhood was deemed boring, tedious and uneventful…in my experience with my own mother it was something to regret. Even now with 3 kids I sometimes entertain ‘breeding’ comments. Australia’s fertility rate is 1.8 per woman…which is well below the 2.1 needed for natural replacement. My 3 kids do not have any cousins. My only sibling doesn’t have children and my husbands only sibling doesn’t have children. I also have cousins who only have 1 child for a multitude of reasons. It seems for many, having children and families is an afterthought, an inconvenience, undesirable or just too damn hard regardless of age.

    Having kids is a minimum 20yr committment (possibly longer if your children have disabilities or acquire medical conditions in the future). It’s a huge personal sacrifice to try and do your best for such a long period… so it shouldn’t be taken lightly…but it can be extremely worthwhile.

    My best advice would be to get to know yourself well beforehand. Do whats best for you. It may be the same as your friends or parents or quite different. Everyone has different circumstances. I have a close friend who had a baby in her 30’s like me and she misses her old 20’s childfree/ carefree lifestyle and really hates parenting. She stopped at one, and while she loves him dearly she believes parenting wasnt the best choice for her.

    Pro’s and cons. For and against. Everyone different. You need to try and do whats best for you and your situation. Speak to others who have done what you seek. That’s whats wonderful about this post and comments…many people commenting positive and negative who have just had babies or want to have babies in their 40’s…the original poster is 14years into parenting babies born when she was 42yo. Thanks for the interesting read and keeping it real!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Thank you so much Emma, I really loved reading your thoughtful comments and showing all sides of the story. None of this is easy and our decisions need to be uniquely personal. I share an alcoholic background with you, and my parents had four kids by the time they were 29. That’s why I ended up here in beautiul Australia, but it has been really ard at time. My oldest son has ASD, he is 23 now and doing fine but will always be dependent. The twins just turned 15 a couple of weeks ago. I am so lucky that my husband has retired and we are parenting the little ones in a way we couldn’t with the older two. Would you ever like to have a chatter on the phone, we have a lot in common.

  56. says: M

    Okay everyone has there own experiences and “opinions.” But realize that this is not fact, although written as such. So much outdated ingormstion is still out there on this subject.

    I travelled, had a career and married at 40. Had my healthy daughter naturally at 42. We are very happy with the timing. I was financially and emotionally ready. If you want a child after 40 you should go for it. I could write a whole post on young people having kids before they are ready to put them first.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Absolutely, and their own experiences too. I had my twins at 42 but that is the luck of the genes. Many people lose fertility much, much earlier. No blacks and whites. This article is written from my own perspective of having kids at 33, 36 and 42… and it’s based on the science of fertility. A personal essay from someone who has kids early and could write their own story, their knowledge and wisdom and what they’s advise others to do would always be welcome.

  57. says: Amy

    Hi, I confused how you can be too old to have baby yet you got pregnant? Nature doesn’t stop you until menopause. I think with all the modern birth control women now assume stop making babies at 35 but nature doesn’t agree. If you are actively trying not to get pregnant in your 40s that’s your choice but doesn’t mean it’s evolutionary correct. I can understand if you have a demanding career but that’s a choice beyond motherhood.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hello Amy, there are so many individual personal stories in the comments on this article. Although I did have twins at 42, I wrote the article as a letter to my daughter suggesting that she has her children younger… it’s just a scientific fact that fertility decreases with age… so although some people still can have kids in their 40s, most do not manage if they start trying then. Lots of women seem not to know this or not to believe it. Everyone has their own story and their own experience though. Life is never black and white.

  58. says: Anna Lizzy

    Hello! Thanks for this, it’s really interesting and helpful to me. I had fertility problems in my early 30s and had my son by IVF. I then got pregnant naturally shortly afterwards but found out the baby had Down syndrome and I had a termination. I had my daughter shortly after that. When I was 37 and my children were 4 and 2, I got pregnant by accident and really agonised about what to do. We’d always fantasised about having 3 but had decided against it as life was a bit of a tricky balance as we’re both doctors, plus we were really enjoying our 2 and now able to do lots of fun stuff together. I ended up having an early termination at home after lots of counselling. I am having feelings of regret and wondering who the child would have been. But when I read your post it reminded me of some of the factors that came into my decision: not wanting to be tired, wanting to be physically active, wanting to really enjoy the 2 I have got, wanting to ensure I stay healthy and a feeling of ‘not wanting to push my luck’ with having healthy children. I know it wasn’t meant for this purpose and some people will think I have made a big mistake (me too at times!) or have done something morally wrong. But thanks for putting this opinion out there. Obviously it’s just an opinion and people can take or leave it. Xxx

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hello Anna, good to get your thoughts and to hear of your own life experience. I can totally understand why you made the decisions you did, and am sure I would have done similar and that I wold also have had mixed feelings. I do moderate comments on this post and delete ones which are abusive. I’ve just got out of bed here in Australia and seen yours. I’m definitely not anti-abortion, far from it. Lots of people can be very judgemental but I am not one of them!! Best wishes and thanks for sharing your story and thoughtful comments.

  59. says: My 2c worth

    I know this article was meant to be fun etc but after reading it I’m even more convinced that ppl should do what suits them. Imo pregnacy/young childhood period sucks and is hard at any age (& is tough on the body at any age). Fertility rates in 40s are actually changing, I feel this is due to our modern lifestyle/health. If when you have kids is wholly depicted by our body/fertility then 15 is actully our peak. Personally I feel like life without family can be quite empty and well boring (especially as we get old). Ppl worried about not being there for their kids later in life or kids not having grandparents well these things happen and quite often can’t be controlled for. I had my 1st two kids in early 20s lost a parent just before (1 month prior actually) and shortly after. My parents had me young and urged me to have kids young as well. While my hubbies mum was 40 when she had him (her 5th and 6th kids surpise twins) they’ve been there for my kids. Out of all her 6 kids her twins are her favourites and they are the closest to them and their children. Just be informed and think it through carefully (be aware of all the sucky stuff of parenthood) then go for it and don’t look bk.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Great advice, I think. Thanks for your considered comment. I should really write a companion piece about the upsides of having children in your 40s too.

      I totally agree that people should and can and must do what suits them – absolutely.

  60. says: Cary

    I’m just hitting 40 and stilll younger than my mum when she had my little brother and my dad was almost 10 years oldercthan my mum. They were too old to be baby boomers.
    Having older parents is difficult, why?
    1. Health problems, here’s one of my regular childhood outings… going to the hospital to visit sick father. I actually feel calm and relaxed by hospitals as it is associated cwith fun childhood outings.
    2. I had to have kids younger in order for my child to have a grandparent and they were too tired to be grandparents.
    3. They retired while i was in my very early 20s By the time I had hit my 30s my role was essentially carer. I don’t feel I’ve ever had an adult relationship with parents. I skipped that step and went from child to carer.

    Yes I had all the benefits of stability, wisdom and impeccable manners. I never got in trouble once at school, I was never rebellious but now I am angry at them for being out of step with every other parent. I had friends with grandparents the same age as my parents. I really needed their support in my 20s and they had checked out by then… I was on my own.
    I’m not saying don’t be an old parent but be aware you are putting a burden on those kids think about how you will help them to manage your aging and death in their younger years.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hello Cary, thanks for your persepctive. I agree with you in saying ‘I’m not saying don’t be an old parent but be aware…’ That is just what I was saying too really.

      I am absolutely old enough to be my twins grandparents. I am now 57 and they are 15. When I am 70 they will be 28. I am able to take time to exercise and eat well and feel a huge duty to stay as well as I can for as long as I can, for them as much as myself. The big brothers are 21 and 24 now.

      There are benefits too, my husband (who is three years younger than me) and I are semi-retired, we have heaps of time to spend with the kids and we are much less stressed than in our 40s and 30s. It’s all swings and roundabouts.

      1. says: cary

        I really apreciate the fact you gave space for this side of the story, growing up I thought I was the only one who had aged parents and no one quite got how I felt about it.

        It’s interesting you mention spending more time than normal with kids as that happened to me. From my perspective that was one of the biggest cons. As a teenager I loathed it and it did actually interfere with my social emotional development. I was extremely immature in many respects and needed a lot more support than my peers who’d been latch key children. I also found that because my Dad was retired he no longer had any idea about how the world of work operated, when I entered the workforce much of his advice was wrong and I had to learn how to fend for myself the hard way. It’s hard to explain it’s almost like the support I needed wasn’t there, but there was a cloying oversight. I have another relative who was a change of life baby and had a similar experience.

        To my Dads horror I kinda went the other way with my child and have given him a lot more space. He’ll probably be angry at me for not being around enough :).

        1. says: Seana Smith

          Oh that is so interesting. Theoretically I do believe in a bit of benign neglect. I have in mind what someone said to me about teenagers.

          ‘Your daughter has to learn through her mistakes that is how she will learn best. So do not get in the way of her making mistakes!’

          That made a big impresssion on me.

          I will bear in mind what your experiences were. I feel I do need to help them be independent… I was in my 50s when my mum died at 78… they will be much younger when I pop off I am sure. They have older brothers too though, but who knows if they will be close or even friends at all.

  61. says: Kat

    What if you haven’t met anyone to have kids with in your 20s or 30s? You know you want a family one day, but don’t want to do it alone and want kids to have a family and have a good partner to rely on and do it all together and share with. And when you meet someone and happen to be approaching 40 and finally have the chance at everything you’ve wanted. You even have eggs frozen prepared for this moment, so you have options. What would your advice be to those people?

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hello Kat, do what is right for you, that’s my advice. That’s my advice for everything. Everybody’s story is different. Go for it!

  62. says: Davina

    Hi Seana, I wish your post was around 10 years ago. I started dating my husband at 19 he was 25. We didn’t have our first baby until I was 30 so he was 36. We are expecting our second next year so I’ll be 33 and he’ll be 39. It’s my worst nightmare. Because when my second child starts school my husband will be the same age my dad was when I graduated highschool. I was so focused on trying to do the right things like get a good job, travel do all the things you might regret you didn’t do That time just flew past. And having had young parents myself it’s only in these last couple of years that I’ve noticed my parents are really ageing my nana just turned 80 and grandpa 85. Im very lucky to have them I know but I keep dwelling on the fact I didn’t have kids 10
    Yeats ago. And how much more energy they all would of had 10 years ago. I’m the only child too and I’m very close to all of them. My husband and I live with all my family. So my son really has the best of all worlds. BUT everyday I wish so so so much that I should of just starting having kids in my early 20’s. All millennials have been brainwashed into thinking that you need a home, a good career and a dog before you fall pregnant because god forbid you go on centerlink. But no one ever tells you that you can start a career at 30 mentally I don’t feel any different to what i did at 20. But I feel like my 20’s were such a selfish time . If I had had kids in my early 20’s my husband would have been a dad at a normal age. And not be a dinosaur when the kids start school. I have two friends that managed to do it all “right” great Careers kids at 26 and 29 and now finished. And I can’t stop comparing it brings me so much sadness I wish I could explain it. My grandmas sister who’s 75 has a great grand child who’s 14. Things like this make me compare my family dynamics and I just get so sad that I had the opportunity to be a young mum and I didn’t do it. I get it some women can’t fall pregnant don’t find the right person etc etc. but I didn’t have those problems and I know of so many people in my position. I personally feel like I made a huge mistake. And I hope my kids have kids before 25. Because I would trade the career for the extra decade with my family in a heartbeat.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Oh, you are in a good position with family all around, I am so envious! I could never have had kids in my early 20s as I was such a mess back then and didn’t find a safe and reliable partner until I was in my 30s. I was 33 when I had my first son, and now that even seems fairly young. I guess it depends too on where you live and whether there are more younger parents or older parents. But your perspective is so interesting. No regrets allowed now though – too late! You will have two lovely kids within a secure family, and that is well worth celebrating and being very happy about.

  63. says: Erika G

    I am 47 and had twins at 41. My first child was born when I was 29 and then I went to law school and did not get pregnant again until I had already established my legal career. My husband was 17 years my senior and he thought it was a bad idea to have another child at his age. My need to become a mother again clouded my better judgment. My husband is now very ill with a pulmonary disease that might take him from us sooner than later. It’s like being a single mother to three children, 1 is going to college this fall and 2 are starting kindergarten. This is how I see motherhood past 40:
    PROS:
    1. They keep you active
    2. They keep you busy
    3. They force you to be healthy
    4. You will probably be more financially stable if you want until after 40
    5. You have settled down already, you are a better and wiser parent.
    6. You will forget about your achy body after you see them smile!
    7. Other parents will see you as a super-hero when you tell them that you have college aged kids

    CONS:
    1. You will enter peri-menopause before they reach 10 yrs old
    2. You will enter menopause when they are in their teens
    3. You have a lot less energy than you did 20 years ago
    4. You resent not having the time for the things people your age do (read, travel, hobbies, etc).
    5. You worry a lot about dying and leaving them motherless
    6. Your parents are too old to help
    7. You may need to alter your retirement plans as you have to save for college
    8. You will be facing aches and pains that come with aging and start buying Aleve at Sam’s Club
    9. You will develop an ulcer from taking so many anti-inflammatories just to keep up with them, then worry that you will die from peritonitis.
    10. People will ask if you are their grandmother
    11. You will realize just how old you are when you attend a PTA meeting.

    I love my children more than anything but if I had to do it all over again, I would start a lot younger. Life happens and modern medicine now allows us women to have a child at pretty much any age. However, the body is wise and begins to slow down after 40 however much we want to force it to keep going. There is a reason fertility declines after 38. I feel guilty everyday and think that I am not being fair to my children, they deserve a younger and more energetic mother. I then remember that due to my financial stability, they will have more opportunities than 90% of Americans and feel a little better. Will it offset my shortcomings as an older mother? Only time will tell.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I can so relate to your pros and cons. I have been asked if I am the kids’ granny so many times! Thanks for your perspective. Like you I love ine very much and know there are all those pros as well as the cons.

  64. says: Ricki G.

    As someone who is 35 and wants to have kids and may well be into her 40s until I have them I will say this is a bit disheartening. I understand what you’re saying, but much of my 20s and early part of my 30s I was struggling financially and also I don’t have a partner. And I’m not the only one to think like this – many of my peers want to have babies but unfortunately the timing wasn’t right to become pregnant in our 20s…I just think you should keep this in mind as well.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Yes, I do know and many comments are along the same lines. The article is only one perspective, mine and it’s very specifically advice to my young daughter… who will not listen I am sure! I know women who decided to try to have a baby alone in their early 40s and late 30s too. Some did manage to do so and some didn’t… everyone’s story is different. I totally understand why people wait and also why they want to have babies. Lots of people don’t really have the choice. I hope you can do what is right for you.

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