9 Reasons NOT To Have Babies in Your Forties

 

 

pros and cons of having a baby in your forties

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

It works best that way.

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

Let’s keep it that simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I certainly do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nine Reasons NOT To Have Babies in Your Forties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have your children young I tell my daughter because:

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

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

One day my little girl said to me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtus Health - Age & Fertility image

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

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

Was your heart broken too?

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Posted on: January 30, 2019

81 Comments

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Allison Tait

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

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

    • Reply May 5, 2017

      PregnantOver40

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

      Thats my honest comment sorry.

      • Reply May 6, 2017

        Seana Smith

        This really made me laugh. Love an honest comment!

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

      • Reply July 14, 2018

        Leslie

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

    • Reply June 11, 2018

      Jal Cal

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

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

      • Reply June 12, 2018

        Seana Smith

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

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Maxabella

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

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Hilarious! Pump out those kittens!!

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Alexandra

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

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

      • Reply October 30, 2013

        Alexandra

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

    • Reply February 20, 2019

      Elena

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Lauren A

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

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

      • Reply October 30, 2013

        Lauren A

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Kirsty

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

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Alisoun

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

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Desire Empire

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

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

      • Reply June 13, 2017

        Michelle

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

        • Reply June 13, 2017

          Seana Smith

          Blimey, how are you feeling about it?

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Corinne

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

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Deborah Dickson-Smith

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

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

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

    • Reply October 30, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    jess

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

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

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

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply October 30, 2013

    Rae Hilhorst

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

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply October 31, 2013

    Sam-o

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

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

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

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

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

    • Reply March 13, 2014

      Carol

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

      • Reply March 13, 2014

        Seana Smith

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

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

    • Reply April 13, 2019

      Isabella

      I applaud you

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

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

    • Reply October 31, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply October 31, 2013

    Anne Downing

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

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply November 1, 2013

    Morag Smith

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

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply November 2, 2013

    Hotly Spiced

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

    • Reply November 2, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

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

  • Reply November 2, 2013

    Rachel

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

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply November 2, 2013

    Mel

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

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

      • Reply November 5, 2013

        Mel

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

  • Reply November 3, 2013

    GourmetGetaways

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

    • Reply November 4, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply November 5, 2013

    Vanessa

    Hey Seana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Great post. Thank you.

    • Reply November 5, 2013

      Seana Smith

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

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

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

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

      Thanks so much for persevering and for sharing your story.

      • Reply November 11, 2013

        Vanessa

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

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

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

        :>)

        • Reply November 11, 2013

          Seana Smith

          This one worked!!

  • Reply February 26, 2014

    Angela

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for the post.

    • Reply February 26, 2014

      Seana Smith

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

      Good to hear from you.

  • Reply July 16, 2015

    Deborah

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

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

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

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

    • Reply July 17, 2015

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply September 14, 2015

    Seanna

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

    • Reply September 15, 2015

      Seana Smith

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

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

      From your Australian near namesake, Seana xxxx

  • Reply September 14, 2015

    Seanna

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

  • Reply June 9, 2016

    Kirsty

    Thank you so much for your Post Seanna 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks Again
    Kirsty

    • Reply June 10, 2016

      Seana Smith

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

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

  • Reply June 11, 2016

    kirsty

    Dear Seana

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

    • Reply July 5, 2016

      Lisa

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

      Thank you both, for sharing.

  • Reply November 30, 2016

    Anna

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

  • Reply March 12, 2017

    LaToya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Reply March 12, 2017

    LaToya

    I apologize for the typos! I am using voice dictation

  • Reply February 8, 2018

    Laila

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

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

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

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

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

    • Reply February 8, 2018

      Seana Smith

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

      • Reply February 9, 2018

        Laila

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

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

        So much to think about! 🙁

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

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

  • Reply June 11, 2018

    Grace

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

    • Reply June 12, 2018

      Seana Smith

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

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

  • Reply September 4, 2018

    Jal cal

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

  • Reply September 13, 2018

    ElizabethB

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

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

    • Reply September 13, 2018

      Seana Smith

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

  • Reply February 20, 2019

    Elena

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

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