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Better late...

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Sunday, February 03, 2008 | 0 comments

Better late...Forget all the scare stories about loss of fertility - women who delay having children are on to a good thing, according to a controversial new book by this academic and older mother. Elizabeth Gregory tells Helena de Bertodano why...

When Elizabeth Gregory gave birth to her first child, Anna, a few weeks before her 40th birthday, she did not think of herself as particularly old to be a first-time mother - even though doctors categorized her as an 'elderly primigravida'. In the process of establishing her career, it had not occurred to her to start a family any younger.

'I wasn't ready until then,' says Gregory, the associate professor of English and director of the Women's Studies Program at the University of Houston, Texas. 'Like many women, I was so focused on what I was doing, so absorbed in my career, that it wasn't until my late thirties that I started to think about having a family.'

Now 50, with two children, one biological, one adopted, she has written a book about the growing tendency to postpone childbirth, Ready: Why Women are Embracing the New Later Motherhood. The book, out next week, offers compelling evidence that women who wait to start a family are making a good choice on several levels. Not only do they have the chance to pursue their own dreams before settling down, Gregory says; once they do start a family they are usually in solid marriages, command higher salaries and have the clout to shape their careers around their families' needs. They often make better mothers, claims Gregory. And the icing on the cake? Women who give birth after 40 even live longer.

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TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
Image: Ready: Why Women Are Embracing The New Later Motherhood, by Elizabeth Gregory. Publisher: Basic Books (December 25, 2007)-
Ready:Why Women Are Embracing The New Later Motherhood
by Elizabeth Gregory

-- Over the past three decades, skyrocketing numbers of women have chosen to start their families in their late thirties and early forties.

In 2005, ten times as many women had their first child between the ages of 35 and 39 as in 1975, and thirteen times as many had their first between 40 and 44.

Women now have the option to define for themselves when they're ready for family, rather than sticking to a schedule set by social convention.

As a society, however, we have yet to come to terms with the phenomenon of later motherhood, and women who decide it makes sense for them to delay pregnancy often find themselves confronted with alarmist warnings about the dangers of waiting too long.

In Ready, Elizabeth Gregory tracks the burgeoning trend of new later motherhood and demonstrates that for many women today, waiting for family works best.

She provides compelling evidence of the benefits of having children later -- by birth or by adoption.

Image: Buy Now on Amazon.comPaperback: 336 pages
Click to order/for more info: Ready

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Catherine

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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