Is an omission of truth a lie? Okay, but technically? It’s a matter of taste and more realistically, what kind of position we’re put in and have to get out of. Because when we’re not the one keeping a secret, an omission totally counts as a lie. And when it’s our neck, it’s just a necessary precaution. That said, it’s not like most OB-GYN’s are going around trying to deceive any mothers - older or otherwise.
It’s more that the experience comes with so much information and so many potential pitfalls that there's not time enough to go over all these truths. Or the fact isn’t a medical one so much as a life experience that the clinician doesn’t have first hand experience with. Not only is there a difference between street smarts and book knowledge, there’s the kind of information that’s even covered and included in either. No one’s writing medical studies on the experience of older moms at the grocery store (right? I guess I can’t be sure). The point is, these are the kinds of facts that only older mothers think about after they’ve been through the process because it’s so unique. No one’s trying to keep secrets - it’s just that one person can’t possibly know everything.
20 Your Grooming Is Your Business
Every gyno and obstetrician should be body positive. Let’s just start from that very basic fact (that gets overlooked in women’s health because the world is against us) - this is about keeping your body healthy and safe. It’s not about what’s in most music videos or whatever the Kardashians are doing. More power to them, but your personal grooming is no one’s business but your own - and that includes the doctor. Whatever look you’re opting for is totally natural. If, by some chance, a gynecologist does make you feel negative or in someway worse because of your grooming- it’s time to find another doctor- they just lost a wonderful client.
19 Please Shower Beforehand
But natural isn’t the same thing as stinky. It takes about as much self-absorption and hubris to show up to the gyno sweaty as it would to show up to a pedicure in unwashed gym socks. Why make that person’s day all the more difficult? They have so many feet to look at, or in the case of a gyno… You get it. The point is, a gynecologist is viewing you from a medical and professional standpoint (and if they’re not-get out) but they still have a nose. Help them help you and take a shower just in case.
18 Don't Text Or Answer Calls
There’s doctor’s office etiquette and then just basic manners. Don’t answer calls or texts while you’re in the doctor’s room- not even if they’re looking up something. For one thing, whatever they’re doing will take about a moment because of the miracles of digitalized information and for another- you’re just distracting them. Their time is seriously valuable- think about how long it took to make this appointment and all the time leading up to it. Great, so act like it. Put the phone on silent or airplane mode and help the person who wants to help you do their job.
17 And No Fads For Personal Hygiene, Please
Gwenyth Paltrow has a lot of ideas and some are better than others. That should really be the disclaimer on the homepage of her lifestyle blog- same goes for you, Blake Lively. The overarching point is that your body, especially down there, is self-regulating and can keep itself clean. Do the normal measures to keep yourself clean, but there’s no reason for anything scented to be anywhere near that part of you. Women’s health doctors have enough to worry about, that all this steaming is just another reason to lose sleep at night. Look, ignore Goop on this one- play it old school in terms of hygiene.
16 Your Own Eggs Might Not Be The Best
After forty years old, some factors in fertility seriously decline. Being an older mother is an opportunity to consider what specifically you want to get from pregnancy and giving birth to a child who’s genetically “yours” (please let’s clarify that a baby doesn’t have to originate in your body to be rightfully yours). As one woman’s doctor laid it out- “You have around a 2% chance of conceiving naturally at your age… If you considered using a donor egg, that would increase to over 60%.” Perhaps the whole reason for opting for pregnancy over adoption is using your own eggs- it’s just important to consider the up and downsides of that.
15 You're More Likely To Have Multiples
Remember the Octo-Mom? Oh my gosh, no it’s okay- calm down. Don’t run away! We’re not saying you’ll have eight babies. That was weird for everybody (and not totally medically above board- it’s worth a Google search if you’ve got a spare hour for that rabbit hole). That said, pregnancies using IVF are more likely to result in multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.) than non-IVF. For some people, this may be a perk- one and done! As an older parent, biological clocks are a’clickin’ so why not have the full family in one session? That said, it’s not something you can request and besides, not everyone wants the stress of it.
14 Other Moms Might Seem Immature
It’s natural for people who are older than their colleagues to be more mature - that’s pretty literally the nature of maturity. So even though a 25-year-old woman is going through the same stage of life as a 40-year-old mother, the two may handle it very differently and one of them just objectively has more life experience. It’s not even necessary- plenty of differently aged people forge friendships. But it’s an inevitable fact that may lead to a sort of disconnect in mommy groups. That said, there are mommy groups for older mothers out there and that might be a perfect fit.
13 Older Moms Are More Likely To Develop High BP
One of the risks of conceiving later in life happens to be high BP. It’s fairly canonical that, “Women with borderline high BP or high cholesterol may end up with hypertension or other heart problems much earlier than they would have without a pregnancy. The extra weight you gain during pregnancy increases your risk for heart disease, as do some fertility drugs.” It's equally important to consider that, “If you’re healthy and don’t have full-blown or borderline heart, BP, or cholesterol problems, your risks aren’t much higher than they would be if you were in your early 30s.”
12 Take Prenatal Testing Seriously
As widely respected sources of medical information make it very clear, “The odds of genetic problems also jump as you get older: At 40, your chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome is one in 100; at 45 it's one in 30.” Prenatal testing is important for every expecting mother and growing family, but especially those who are in their 40s. Especially if the biological father is also the same age, there’s a higher chance of genetic mutations making their way into a baby. It’s another precaution to take care of as a mature mother tackling this stage in life.
11 It Might Take A Few Tries
If medical interventions are taken to become pregnant, that’s no small commitment. IVF is a difficult process for any family to go through while they wait with bated breath to welcome a new member. One mother who’s been through five pregnancies without a birth is completely honest when she remembers that, "Failure followed failure as the years passed. ... Maybe we should stop … It’s like our lives are on hold.” The wait for adoption is long and anxiety-riddled, but it’s even more tense waiting for your body to comply with the process. And while it’s easier to bemoan external forces in adoption, it’s so important not to see your body as less-than in this process.
10 IVF Gets Pricy
How much does IVF cost is about as open ended of a question as how many rounds it can take. It varies and while there are factors that can help determine it, no one entirely knows unless they can see the future (and don’t go to that person for medical advice). The basic gist is that, “The average cost for one in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle is $12,000. Basic IVF can be as much as $15,000 or may be as low as $10,000. It's rarely lower than that. These numbers do not include the cost of medications, which may be as low as $1,500 or as high as $3,000 per cycle.”
9 Not Everyone Will Be Excited For You
Older mothers, much like all women, get barraged with questions that border less on insensitive and more towards full-on mean. As one older mother recalled of an interaction, an acquaintance said, “I thought you’d left that behind a long time ago... you must be crazy,” and the mother recalled, “But I didn’t mind – I’ve never cared about the mainstream thing to do.” It’s entirely plausible that some people, potentially even other mothers, will doubt your choice and your judgement. It’s unfortunate but just a fact to prepare for. It’s not easy, but what other people think is nothing to plan your family around.
8 And Might Ask Rude Questions
People with absolutely no stake in a situation have a remarkable ability for imagining the least favorable scenario for you. That, or they love to jump to the end of a process that will basically constitute your entire life. That’s the privilege of an irresponsible imagination coupled with not enough of a conscious - asking troublesome questions during one of the happiest parts of your life. A common question older parents are met with is how they’ll feel about "leaving early” when their children are still young. You know, the ultimate “leaving early.” As if any parent knows how long they’ll live.
7 There's A Higher Rate Of Premature Births
It’s far from ideal, but the fact is that medicine has evolved to better care for premature babies. That said- there are facts to face. “7.8 percent of pregnancies in this age group resulted in preterm births and 1 percent ended in extremely premature deliveries. Women age 30 to 34 had the lowest risk: 5.7 percent of pregnancies involved preterm deliveries and 0.6 percent resulted in extremely early arrivals… Over-40 mothers were 14 percent more likely to have a spontaneous preterm delivery and 31 percent more likely to have early deliveries because of labor induction, cesarean births or other interventions.”
6 But Older Mothers May Feel More Prepared
The financial state of some older parents is the stuff of fever dreams for some younger parents. In one instance, "Carole retired two years ago to claim her pension and look after her two toddlers. “I think I’m coping with motherhood better as I’m more motivated than when I was younger.” Pension to pay for preschool is better than the majority of parents can envision and those perks aside, parents in their 40s may just be more financially prepared than their younger counterparts. It’s not that material things provide a happy childhood, but they do ensure a level of security that makes it a lot easier to live.
5 It's Not The Secret To Immortality, But...
Enduring a pregnancy is a large stress on the body, but not all doctors see that as a bad thing. For instance, "The baby boomers of today are doing the right thing by having children much later - because the evidence is that the later you produce children, the longer your life span will be," said Dr Dawn Skelton of Manchester University, a leading authority on aging.” Some professionals attribute that to the spike in estrogen at a time in life when those hormones are typically decreasing. It’s another figure to consider among many- all of these are facts that you and potentially your partner will pour over until a decision’s been reached.
4 And It's Becoming More Common
There’s definitely more mothers over 40 to serve as role models for others (or women aspiring to be) than ever before. It’s the benefit of living in modernity- “A total of 22,700 women became pregnant in 2004, up 1,800 on 2003. Older mothers have no shortage of high-profile role models, such as Cherie Blair, Emma Thompson, the actress, who gave birth to her daughter at 40.” Maybe your co-worker gave you a weird look upon hearing the happy news and perhaps there was some unsavory reaction at a family gathering- that’s not the direction our society is headed in.
3 It's All About Self-Care
These next words may sound like a tough joke for many new parents but many medical professionals make it clear that, "Sleep is the key whatever age you are.” It’s infamous that the first few weeks of parenthood are the complete opposite of that statement, but it’s still a valuable truth. Perhaps this feels impossible to achieve in those first few weeks, but it’s also more likely that an older parent has the mature support network (and possibly, financial means) to bring in back up. The point is- give your body the same resources, if not more than, that younger parents enjoy and you’ll see the difference.
2 And The Patience Of An Older Mother Can Be A Miracle
Some women can't imagine having been mothers at the age other women were. An older mother felt that her age and maturity was the reason she could enjoy motherhood so very much- “On the plus side, as an older mother, I’m sure I had more patience than I would have done in my twenties. A lot of childcare, when they are very small, is deeply tedious, but I didn’t resent it in the way that I might have done when I was younger.” Resent is a very interesting concept in motherhood- many of the lengths necessary for older mothers to conceive are difficult, but it’s also a pursuit that’s made much more deliberate than some other pregnancies.
1 And Ok, Maybe You'll Get Mistaken For The Grandma
We’re not saying that it’ll feel great that one time, maybe down the line at high school graduation, if (and not necessarily when) someone makes the mistake. It’ll probably be an eye roll of a moment for years to come- eventually a story that gets groaned over at family dinners. That said, how does a few moments of wounded pride compare to a huge joy in life? And starting an entirely new life in possibilities? It’s not for everyone, but it’s also not fair to tell yourself there’s age after which you can’t be a parent. If you’ve got the love and patience and time, you can't possibly be too old.
Sources: Saga.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk, TheGuardian.com, MayoClinic.org