In life, there is no ‘right’ time for anything. Realistically, everyone does things in their own time depending on what is best for them in their certain circumstances. Nonetheless, doing anything at any time in life means that you didn’t do it at another point. Which can often lead to regret.
Whether it becomes that you regret not traveling in your 20s or regret not focusing as much in university, regret is a real pain to hold on to. When it comes to motherhood, it seems that you can easily regret having kids at any time in your life, which is a real catch 22.
Having a child at 24 means that you might regret the things you won’t be able to do while you’re still young, such as hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. Having a child at 34 might mean that you regret waiting so long to have kids and now you don’t have the required energy. Then when it comes to having a child at 44 – well, there are so many potential regrets out there just waiting to happen.
There is definitely no right or wrong time to have kids. There is no magic age number to bear your first child. Yet, there is definitely social pressure surrounding the age that women decide to have kids. And this social pressure can come with plenty of regret.
Amongst women who decided to wait to have kids until their 40s, regrets are just part of the emotional rollercoaster that they experience. Every woman has the choice of if and when they become a mom, but it is key to remember this choice impacts on how the baby will be raised into a child and eventual adult themselves. Not every mom with a baby in her 40s will experience these regrets, but plenty of them out there certainly do.
15 The Obvious One – Career Woes
So there’s motherhood and then there’s a career and there is a perception that women can’t have both. Obviously, motherhood means sacrificing certain elements of a career. At this point in societal evolution, the only humans who can birth and breastfeed a baby are women. This means that woman need to let their body grow a baby which means that time off work is necessary.
For this reason alone, on some occasion women prioritise their career before having kids in their 40s. This means that they have a well established career to return to after maternity leave and a defined position in the workplace. This also means, however, that some women yearn for having their career being at their number one focus now they have a baby to look after. This can lead to women regretting having babies in their 40s, because it can feel like it would have been easier to have raised them in the 20s or 30s and established the career later. Work and promotions don’t go anywhere, but babies demand everything.
14 Biological Clock Regret
There is the argument that Mother Nature has had a biological clock ticking inside women since the dawn of time. This clock is ticking loudest in the early to mid 20s, even though many of us now believe that this is far too early to have kids in our society. Nonetheless, the clock ticks along nicely until the 30s but starts to slow down after that.
Basically, Mother Nature tells us that our eggs are going out of date after turning around 33. This can seem like Mother Nature being a control freak and trying to coerce us into having kids before our time. But really, Mother Nature is just giving out a friendly reminder that fertility fades into the 30s and things really are drying by the time 40 hits. It’s still possible to conceive a healthy child at 40, but realistically Mother Nature did warn you against it.
13 Being A ‘Geriatric Mother’
For ‘mothers of advanced maternal age’, there is a lot of negative social stigma out there, whether people are dishing out intentionally or otherwise. These are the women who have willed themselves into motherhood and pushed beyond the limits to bear a child. Yet, the thing they receive most from society is harsh judgement.
Motherhood is a terrifying thing and no one is really doing it ‘right’ at the end of the day. But younger moms are more willing to believe that they are, and scorn the geriatric moms who have ‘the grandma effect’ when picking up their kid from school.
It comes down to a matter of energy and flair for life. You’ll see young moms in the 30s with their toddlers playing in the park and swinging on the monkey bars too, whereas the moms in the 40s are sitting back on the park bench breathing a sigh of relief. It isn’t always the case, of course, but there tends to be regret and envy lingering towards those younger, more energetic moms.
12 Feeling Selfish For The Former Years
Humans are inherently selfish whether we like to admit it or not. We carve a lifestyle for ourselves based on hopes and dreams and ambitions. These lead us down a pathway of happiness. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a fulfilled life, whatever pathway one chose.
There is, however, a slight issue when those former years are more appealing to you than the current years with your baby when you’re in the your 40s. Often women who wait to have kids until their 40s end up regretting things about how great their life used to be in comparison. Although comparison is the root of all evil, it is a natural thing that humans do.
Some women can end up thinking that they traded their freedom for sleeping on the baby’s schedule, living a life devoid of sex, enduring exhaustion on a daily basis. And then, of course, longing to go back to being a carefree 20 something year old with no worries around. All the while, baby is crying you back to reality.
11 Not Looking As Good As Celeb Moms Over 40
The celeb moms are out there and they are making it look all too easy, even aged in their 40s. Is it their natural ability or is the air brushing skills of the magazines? Either way, these celeb moms instil envy and disillusion in many regular moms aged in their 40s.
Of course, unrealistic expectations easily draw regret. We really shouldn’t be looking to the media and celebrities for any kind of inspiration or guidance in life, especially not motherhood. So you’re a mom in your 40s and you don’t have the latest designer clothes on and your makeup looking flawless. Well, that’s ok, considering you’re not a Hollywood actor who has someone do their shopping for them and a professional make up artist on hand. Oh, and no paparazzi clicking photos of you to later be photoshopped for perfection. You don’t need to be a celeb looking mom, you just need to be a loving and attentive one no matter what age you are.
10 Not Being One Of The Cool Moms
There the moms one can see leaning casually against the fence post, chatting in the group of other moms where they’re clearly the coolest. Dressed in stylish jeans and a nice top, or even looking stunning in her active wear, the cool moms have reclaimed their identity as well as embracing motherhood. These are the moms kids are proud of, who rush into their arms after the school bell rings. Unfortunately, not many of these moms are aged in their 40s.
The moms in their 40s are on the other side of the fence, wearing sweat pants and a stained top and have bags the size of suitcases under their eyes. They can’t seem to get it together and can’t seem to fight off the exhaustion in a graceful way.
This is a pretty bleak picture and of course not always true. Motherhood isn’t about superficiality or materialistic goods, but it is human nature to envy others. There is a certain picture moms wants to present their kids after school. How charming is this picture when you’re a mom in your 40s?
9 Risking The Baby’s Health
Most women know that conceiving a child over the age of 40 brings with it an increased risk of health complications for both mom and baby. These are serious concerns that need to be addressed and discussed with a health care professional.
Even if you’re fit and active at age 40 and things are functioning well, there is still a chance that the baby can have health problems. Some of these include Down syndrome or learning difficulties. Nothing about having a baby at any age guarantees their health, but being aged over 40 does increase the risk.
Therefore, being pregnant in one's 40s can bring with it a worrying array of emotions where panic, concern, and paranoia are at the forefront. It is normal for pregnant women to be worried about their growing baby, but at age 40 all these concerns are highlighted even. And let’s be real, having that kind of stress at age 40 can bring some regret into the mix as well.
8 Having To Deal With Social Assumptions
If society wasn’t making false assumptions and presenting people with misconceptions, what else would it be doing? When it comes to parenting over the age of 40, women come into the game loaded up with ideas of how they’re going to think and act.
It can be a trend amongst health care professionals to assume that moms aged over 40 will be against immunising their child, for example. Teachers tend to think that older moms are more needy and anxious about their child’s schooling. And then older moms end up believing that everyone is categorising and judging them.
It really is a vicious cycle that needs to stop. This type of societal mentality is what makes women aged over 40 think twice about having a child and questioning if they did the right thing. And in most cases, they’re kicking motherhood goals. That’s what should be acknowledged rather than social assumptions and doubt.
7 Letting Go Of Young Mommy Ideals
Even as young girls, we create an image in our minds of what motherhood is going to look like. From playing mom with dollies and toys as a child to starting to think seriously about what age kids will enter our lives later on, motherhood is a notion that surrounds women. Some choose to enter the journey, others do not. Either option is fine, but entering motherhood should not come with preconceived ideals.
Everything you think about motherhood is probably going to be disproven straight away. If you’ve got the image of stock standard photo of you and your partner looking down loving at the sleeping baby, no wrinkles around your eyes, and hair beautifully done, you should forget it. Even if you wait until you have kids in the 40s, these images will still be present and desirable. They’ve got to be put aside somewhere else in fantasy land.
6 Lack Of Camaraderie With Friends
The problem with finding a solid friendship group as a mom in her 40s is that the options are slim pickings. Most personal friends will have already had their kids in their 30s and now have 9 or 10 years olds, not infants. And then most moms with an infant at mothers’ group are in their 30s. It’s an awkward scenario.
Of course, you can bond with woman of any age as this number is really just that, a number. But it can make older moms feel isolated and less accepted, especially when the conversations aren’t relatable. For instance, sitting with your friend who has a 10 year old kid and talking about potential high schools when you really just want to talk about the early years of your baby. Or sitting with a mom who also has an infant but she’s 10 years younger than you and starts laughing about some TV show reference from her own childhood that you totally miss. These are easy enough barriers to overcome, but barriers nonetheless.
5 More Responsibility Than Joy
Pretty much, since we leave home and go study in university or work full time, our lives become dominated with responsibility. The good thing about the early 20s and even into the early 30s is that these responsibilities bring a certain amount of joy. From adult-ing and kicking goals all over the place, figuring out life’s responsibilities are a joyous thing.
When it comes to being aged 40, you’ve dealt with a whole lot of responsibilities already. Now you just want the joy to revel in. The thing with a baby is that for as much joy as they bring, they come burdened with responsibility. You’re not going to get to enjoy the laid back 50s and 60s, because your child will be completing their schooling career. Life won’t be a breeze with an early retirement (if you could even afford it) because babies are expensive little devils. Babies bring responsibility, and this outweighs the joy of entering your 40s.
4 Harder To Deal With Noise And Chaos
There are times in life for crazy chaos. Times such as raging discos in the early 20s and festivals around the world. Times that involve going out to noisy bars in the 30s and enjoying drink after drink. Times revolving around sitting in airports waiting for a flight, listening to announcement after announcement and crying kids all over the place.
By the time 40 hits, there is nothing wrong with wanting a little peace and quiet. Some valued restful and relaxing time to yourself is well deserved. Sitting back, reading a book, and drinking a long cup of tea while listening to the birds chirp outside the window sounds like perfection. But not if you’ve waited until 40 to have kids. Sure, the noise and chaos of raising a child might not seem so bad and it can certainly be dealt with in a graceful manner. However, the desire for peaceful and quiet times is more likely to happen if you’re a mom in your 40s.
3 Endless Social Pressures And Taboo
Just in case motherhood doesn’t come with enough expectations and social pressure, a woman who has child when she is aged over 40 cops these left, right, and centre.
From being expected to maintain their career status and rock motherhood like its no one's business, being a mom in your 40s is really, really difficult. Society expects a lot from older moms. After all, if you've waited this long to have kids, you should have your life together, right? Therefore, if older moms fail at something, they're going to be judged even more harshly. This type of societal taboo is ridiculous, but it exists. And it can contribute to mom's dealing with regret for having their first kid into their 40s.
2 Longing For Younger Motherhood
Life is so much a case of the ‘grass is always greener’. For women who have kids in their 20s or 30s, there is always that one member of the social group who doesn’t. She is the one jet setting around the world, kicking career goals, and heading out to parties and bars because she has that type of freedom still. However, she is often the one longing for motherhood, but the circumstances aren’t right yet. She can often be the one envying her friends who are already doing motherhood.
Many women who wait to have a child in their 40s would have happily done so in their 30s, had they been with the right partner or had the right financial stability, or whatever. It’s not always just a black and white selfish choice to put having babies on hold. The time spent building a career or traveling won’t ever be regretted, but waiting so long to have a baby just might.
1 Harsh Self Judgement All Over The Place
Motherhood brings with it many cases of self-doubt, worry, and anxiety about doing it ‘right’. Ironically enough, there is no right or wrong way to be a mom, literally just what feels right at the time for the baby. Nonetheless, that is easier said than done, and many moms will judge themselves harshly. Especially if they are aged over 40.
Moms over 40 start thinking things like ‘I could have done this better if I was younger’ or ‘I was so much more active/creative/energetic when I was 28’ or things along these lines. It is natural to reflect on your former self and acknowledge how you have changed, but discrediting the skills you now bring to the table is very self destructive. Especially when you have a baby. It is so important to be a mom with confidence, pride, and happiness for the sake of raising a well rounded child. The negative self esteem that comes with being aged over 40 can be a problem here.
Sources: Theguardian.com, Telegraph.co.uk, Huffingtonpost.com,