Every mother will say that they can’t pick their own timeline when it comes to motherhood. Sure, a woman can plan things to a T but there’s no direct science that will allow her to get pregnant when she wants it to happen. For some couples, it might happen on the first try. For others, several months. And then there are those who spend a decade trying just to find out that they can’t conceive.
And because getting pregnant can be so difficult, it’s hard to plan around it. You might be in your mid-twenties and fertile and ready to start a family. Others want to wait until they’ve put a few years into their careers before settling down with children. While there’s no wrong and right answer to when it's a good time to get pregnant, there are plenty of pros and cons.
Some people say that you shouldn’t get pregnant too early (especially if you are not financially secure) and others say you shouldn’t wait too long (considering the fact that your biological clock keeps ticking).
Sure, many mothers are delaying motherhood until the time is right for them. But should they? Here are 15 reasons why you shouldn’t have a baby after 40. Some of these might actually surprise you!
15 More Health Risks
Let’s be honest here. Every medical professional will tell you that you have more of a chance of developing some sort of health issue if you wait to have children later in life. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: you can’t go against what’s natural for your body. As much as you might want to fool science, it’s just not going to happen. Sorry folks, but the truth can sometimes be brutal.
Now, everyone has a different story. Some people struggle to conceive for years before finally getting pregnant with their first child. But if you are dabbling in motherhood for other (and dare we say superficial reasons) you might be forced to deal with health issues that you wouldn’t have even thought about earlier. Don’t believe us, ask your doctor!
14 Being The ‘Old Mom’ In Kindergarten
There’s nothing more embarrassing than when the other kids say, “Hey, Billy, your grandma is here to pick you up!” Oy. Can you imagine having to correct everyone and tell them that you are actually your child’s mother and not their grandmother (or even their nanny for goodness sake!)? That might happen if you wait too long before having your first baby.
Plus, children can understand your feelings, even if you don’t tell them about it. They might feel your awkwardness, your lack of self-confidence or your annoyance. You want to feel as comfortable as your child does in the playground. You don’t always want to explain that you delayed motherhood for reasons A, B, or C. You also don’t want to hold on to regrets and wonders for the rest of your life, too.
13 Not Seeing Your Grandchildren
As many benefits as there are to delaying motherhood, there are plenty of downsides to it, too. And one of the biggest ones might be not seeing your grandchildren later in life. And do you really want that to happen?
Look at it this way: what if you wait until you're 40 to have your first child. And then your child waits until his or her forties before having children, too. You’ll be in your 80’s by the time you become a grandmother. And while we understand that grandparents are living longer and taking better care of their health, you can’t beat the biological clock. There are very few people in their late 80’s that can run around with their grandchildren the same way as grandparents in their 50’s and 60’s do.
12 Dealing With Teens During Your Golden Years
By the time you reach your retirement, there’s no doubt that you just want to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself during your golden years. After all, you’ve been working your butt off all your life. You deserve a break! But that won’t happen if you are still parenting. If you waited until after 40 to have children, there’s a good chance that you’ll still be dealing with the turbulent teen years or worse, having to pay for college for your kid! You surely don’t want to deal with that kind of financial stress, especially when you’ll be preparing to exit the work force.
Now, it’s not impossible to deal with teens or college-aged kids when you’re older, but it does make things a little more difficult. Instead of focusing on yourself, you still have to be on your toes to provide your older kids with everything they need. The parenting just doesn't stop.
11 Being In A Different Age Bracket
Now, I’m sure a lot of people feel very different about this, but there’s a good chance that you’ll probably be left from all of the mom groups in your community or your child’s school. Sorry to say it, but it’s because you’ll be a in a different age bracket. Don’t get me wrong here, as this clearly isn’t the case for everyone. But if all the young lasses are buying tickets to Bruno Mars when all you want to do is put on some John Legend and enjoy a Netflix and child night at home, it’ll be hard to find your circle of friends.
A lot of moms will agree that they absolutely need a good support system, especially during those first crucial years. Moms need to lean on other moms for support. We’re a tribe, after all. But it might be a little hard connecting to some moms that were raised in a different timeline than you were.
10 Lack Of Sibling
If you waited until your early or mid 40s to have your first child, chances are that you might not give your child a sibling down the road. While this is not impossible, it sure is hard, though. As we all know, the longer you wait, the less chance that you’ll successfully get pregnant.
Now, that’s not to say that growing up as a single child is bad. With everything in life, there are pros and cons. But do you really want to put that kind of limitation on yourself? Or have your kid miss out on enjoying life with a sibling? Of course, that’s a choice that you want to make. But when it comes to pregnancy and parenting, you want to have options. That’s because you might change your mind in the future.
9 No Energy
It doesn’t matter if you’re in your mid-twenties, your mid-thirties or your mid-forties, we are all tired. Because let’s face it: parenting is no walk in the park. But let’s also be realistic here. The older you are, the less chance that you’ll have the energy you need to run after your toddler. You don’t want to be that mom who is constantly out of breath at the playground. Or that mom who can’t keep up with her own kids around the house.
As Sabrina Parsons of Forbes Magazine once wrote, “Between sleep issues, and keeping up with active kids, and making it to all the kid related activities, and work I am always tired. It makes me overwhelmed to think of me in 10 years still being in the same place.”
8 More Pressure On Kids
Statistics show that older parents usually put more pressure on their children to succeed. That’s because they spent half their lives themselves working on their successful careers. They know what it means to set goals and achieve them and they want the same for their children.
The problem with this of course is that many older parents don’t give their children the free time they need to exercise their creativity. Instead, they over book their children’s schedules with piano lessons, soccer lessons, swim tryouts, art club and so on. They want their kids to be the jack-of-all-trades without realizing that they are completely stressing them out in the process. Kids need to breathe. And kids certainly don’t need the pressure to bring home trophies and ribbons, especially if they are still in Kindergarten!
7 Micro-Managing Kids
With that being said, it’s no secret that older moms micro-manage their children’s lives because they expect results. Again, don’t get us wrong: not every older mother out there holds this same philosophy. But chances are that you’ve already put in a good few years at work and want to take a break from your career to be a stay at home mom. As a result, you’ll probably end up using all of those office and managerial skills on your kids to some degree.
Younger parents don’t tend to sign up their kid for every school activity, play, and sport. And that’s because they are sill trying to figure out life on their end or might not have the financial means to do so. Kids need balance. Too much of one thing isn’t always healthy.
6 Older Parents Spoil Their Kids More
Before we get into this, let’s get this out of the way: there are spoiled kids everywhere, regardless of what their parents’ ages are. But experience has proven that many older parents tend to spoil their kids simply because they don’t put in the time and energy it takes to discipline them or show them what’s wrong and what’s right. Instead, they are “yes” parents. They don’t want to deal with tantrums, meltdowns and so on. That’s why they say “yes” to everything. Whatever the child wants, the child gets.
There are a lot of consequences when you raise your child without borders, especially as he or she gets older. They will have a hard time understanding the meaning behind the word no and might retaliate against it. Do you agree?
5 A Case Of Mistaken Identity
This is something that you just won’t be able to avoid. Everywhere you go, other people – regardless if it’s your child’s teachers, coaches, or their friends’ parents – will think that you’re the grandparent, especially as your child gets older. And let me tell you, this is the part that will suck the most.
The last thing you want to do is repeatedly correct everyone in your neighborhood and community by confirming that yes, you are your child’s mother and not grandmother. But the older you get, the harder this will be. You can’t stop people from assuming. And you can’t stop people from wondering why grandma is volunteering at centers in their kid’s Kindergarten class. After all, there are a lot of young grandparents that are very active in their grandchildren’s lives.
4 Missing Out
A lot of people think it’s no big deal to get pregnant in their 40s because quite technically they are still young and still capable of doing so many daily activities in their lives. But what a lot of parents fail to realize is that their child isn’t going to be in their toddler stage forever. You’ll be raising a young child and young adult well into your 50s and your 60s. And will you be able to keep up with your kid while they grow, progress and learn? How are you going to feel raising a rebellious teen on your 60th birthday?
Also, there’s the possibility that you might feel like you’re missing out on a lot of “firsts.” Will you be able to make it to each college football game, each Homecoming dance, each driving lesson? Parenting is a non-stop job. A lot of people will agree that you are not the same person in your 60s as you were in your 40s.
3 Putting The Burden On Your Children
Think of it this way: when you’re in your twenties, you are just starting off on your life. You’ve probably just graduated from college and you’re looking for your first job and your first apartment. Or maybe even buying your first house. There are so many “firsts” you are navigating through. The last thing you want to think about is taking care of an ageing parent when you are trying to get on your own two feet. We’re not saying that twenty-somethings don’t care about their parents. It’s just that they are too young to deal with such a burden.
Sabrina Parsons continued, “Will your kids be young adults, and dealing with taking care of their now, very old parents, before they should or are even mature enough too? Is a 25 year old going to have to deal with you and Alzheimer's?"
And yes, there are parents out there that admit they’ve had their regrets. There are moms out there that have said yes, they do regret waiting so long to have children. That’s because they didn’t realize that they’d be putting such a burden on themselves, both physically and emotionally. They wish they would have started thinking about motherhood earlier. I mean, we all remember that one kid from high school who had the old and creepy parents. You don’t want to be that old and creepy parent.
As Rachel Lehmann-Haupt of Babble once put it, “If I could go back ten years, I might tell my younger self that she should deeply consider her future family. I’ve always argued that it’s better to have more choices, but when I hear these sadder stories, or suffer dark moments myself, I do wonder whether in fact my generation collectively screwed up.” Think about it.
1 Shorter Time Together
The longer you wait to have children, the less chance you’ll get to spend longer time with them. And unfortunately, statistics show that the longer you wait, the less of a chance you’re child will have you around by the time he or she becomes an adult. And honestly, that’s when we really appreciate our parents the most.
According to Slate, “A mother who is 35 when her child is born is more likely than not to have died by the time that child is 46. The one who is 45 may have bowed out of her child’s life when he’s 37. The odds are slightly worse for fathers: The 35-year-old new father can hope to live to see his child turn 42. The 45-year-old one has until the child is 33.”
Sources: slate.com, babble.com, cbsnews.com, time.com