Thursday

The Real "Problem" with Older Moms

It is such a problem being an older mom! Having babies after age 35 sucks. If I could give you a piece of advice, it would simply be this: don't do it! Here are reasons why~



1. Older moms are career obsessed. Why would any child want to have a positive female role model raising them? Smarts, drive, success, passion for something you love? Who wants to learn all those things by example?

2. Older moms have lots of money. Too much money, in fact, after so many childless working years. They might tend to spoil their children with all this extra money they have lying around.

3. They are too old and stiff to play on the floor with their kids. Everyone knows that younger moms make better playmates.

4. They are super uncool and so out of touch with current media and trends. You know what they said in the 1960s: "Don't trust anyone over 30!" That still applies today.

5. Not everyone can live in New York. It's true. Moms in New York are actually considered young if they are under 40, according to my friend Anna of Random Handprints. If you are planning on being an older mom, you should move to New York so you can feel young.

Okay, okay, I'm being facetious here, and I actually can't think of any other ridiculous reasons not to have a baby in your 30's and 40's.

But England can. There is a new ad campaign making a buzz today. It is a picture of a 40-something reporter dressed to look like a 70 year old pregnant mom. Take a look.


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The purpose of this ad is to make women consider having babies at a younger age. Excuse me, what? Consider it?

I considered it a lot in my twenties and thirties. I considered it so much that it made my uterus hurt. I wanted nothing more than to be a mom. If I could have planned it the way I really wanted it, I would have been married at age 24 and popping out babies by age 25.

But that's not exactly the way it worked out for me. Or millions of other women for that matter.

I am sure that there are women who purposely delay having babies so they can build a career, make money, and feel ready. Nothing wrong with that. If everyone would wait until they are ready to have a baby, we would have a lot less issues in health care, in education, and in society in general.

On one hand, I can see the purpose of this ad. The older parents are when they conceive, the more problems they tend to have - fertility issues, miscarriages, still births, children born with birth defects, Down Syndrome, and the higher likelihood of  an Autism diagnosis down the road - among other issues - all of which potentially drive up health care and education costs for the public.

From a short conversation on my Facebook page, it's clear that many women simply didn't have the luck of the draw, so to speak, to plan when they had their babies. I know I didn't. I married Hubby when we were 31, and we experienced fertility issues. I didn't plan on ever having a baby over the age of 40, but I was blessed with one.

The harder having a baby is when you're older, some would say you appreciate it more, you are more ready for the challenges of becoming a parent. Do I worry about not being around for my sons' graduations and weddings and babies? Absolutely. But there's not much I can do about that other than take care of myself and hope I'm healthy in 20 years.

Do I think older moms are better than younger moms? Depends on the person, really. My twenty year old hairdresser is probably one of the best moms I've ever talked to, confident and secure and doing everything she can for her baby.

I've known women who have gotten pregnant out of wedlock and given up their babies. I've known women who have had abortions. I've known moms who married and had babies in their early twenties, and I've known moms who have had their first baby at age 42.

And do you know what the problem is with all of these moms, not just the older ones? We allow society to make us feel guilty for our choices, whether they are ones we have consciously made or ones that were made for us by default.

Being older or younger.

Natural childbirth or drug assisted.

Breast or bottle feeding.

Co-sleeping or crying it out.

Potty trainer earlier or later.

Cloth or disposable diapers.

Private or public school.

Sports or academics.

And the list just goes on and on and on.

We all do the best we can. Sometimes we have all the information and sometimes we go with our gut. Sometimes we still get it wrong and sometimes we find success.

This ad didn't bother me at all. I didn't purposely choose to be an older mom. And yes, I faced infertility, miscarriages, and medical conditions with my children.

But I'm handling it, and I have the good fortune to have a partner who is handling with me.

One comment that came up over and over on the Facebook discussion was that the moms wouldn't trade all they'd been through - the loss, the problems, the pain and heartbreak that sometimes comes with being an older mom. The bottom line is that most moms see their children as blessings no matter their age or abilities or how much it took for us to get them, whether we birthed them, adopted them, or foster them.

If this ad was meant to "guilt" women into anything, I say, don't let it. Don't let guilt be a problem for moms of any age.

I think we're all doing just fine. Don't you?



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