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Older Parents: What are the Advantages of Having Children Later in Life?

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, January 18, 2007 | 0 comments

When I first published my light hearted and inspirational account of pregnancy and birth at the age of 40, I received tremendous feedback from older women (and men) from all over the world. Indeed, even now, I receive many wonderful e-mails every week from women over the age of 35 who are either planning a family, are already pregnant, or who themselves have had a baby over the age of 40. The article had offered hope, encouragement and reassurance in a world that seems otherwise to be filled with negative statistics and horror stories about being an older mother. It also highlighted the fact that far from being unusual, tens of thousands of women across the globe are becoming, what is affectionately known as, "older parents".

Currently, one out of every five women worldwide is delaying having her first baby until the age of 35, a number that is rising steadily, together with the growing trend for middle aged women to add to their existing family. There are many reasons why a woman chooses to have a baby in her forties; the establishment of a career before embarking on parenthood, for example, or a woman who has re-married and wishes to have a child with her new partner. Despite this, there still seems to be very little optimistic information available that is specific to midlife mothers. The focus definitely needs to shift towards the positive aspects of midlife parenting, particularly since medical studies have established that there is little added risk for a healthy woman in her forties embarking on motherhood.

In my communications with other older mothers, several questions were raised, one of the most common being, "Will my child object to having older parents?" I think that this question highlighted the assumption of many that old age goes hand-in-hand with ill health and incapacity and yet this is not necessarily so. You can be an unhealthy 25-year-old parent and a vital, energetic 75-year-old grandparent. You can also become sick at any age, so don't assume that just because you don't have a child until you are in your 40's, you won't be around to see your son or daughter when he or she grows up. Besides, it is quality of time and not quantity that is the most important and a child who is brought into a secure and loving environment by a middle-aged couple, is more likely to thrive than a child brought into an unstable home by young parents.

I interviewed several people who were raised by older parents, one of whom is an older parent herself and all of whom kindly allowed me to share their stories with you.

Full article:



About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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