Being a mom is a wonderful thing, it's full of excitement, discoveries and love that is overwhelming. However, being an older mom, especially for the first time, can be very challenging. Some believe women shouldn’t have children after 40 or 50 years old that it’s a selfish act, while others see nothing wrong with it.
A number of variables should be determined if a woman is considering having a child later rather than sooner in her life. The health of the mother should be the most important variable in deciding if she should have a child or not. If the mother is not healthy, the baby’s chances of being healthy decrease as well.
An older woman planning to have a child should be in good health: no serious or likelihood of diseases, no serious overweight issues, and no serious conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.
Secondly, The older we get the less energy we have. An older woman should consider the fact that it takes a great deal of time and energy to raise a child. Chasing toddlers around, taking and picking children up from school and extracurricular activities are very stressful and taxing.
Also, the older we get the more health issues arise and the likelihood of death increases. Many opponents of older women having children argue that the parents or mother will be too old to enjoy certain things with their children and could very well put the child at high risk of not having their mother around for important times in their life.
Here are 7 advantages and 7 disadvantages for being an older mom.
14 Disadvantages - Age Isn't Just A Number
One of the not so awesome things about being a mom is the health of the mother. As we get older our health naturally decreases. It’s inevitable for most of us. Health issues are more likely to show up just because our bodies are getting older. And for women, the onslaught of menopause and changes in the hormones can cause erratic changes in our body.
The saying “age is just a number” may sound nice, but our bodies will tell us a different story. Joints start wearing down, muscles start declining. The simple wear and tear of our bodies over a period of time and ongoing usage will eventually wear these bodies down.
Pregnancy requires the mother to be in pretty good health to positively affect the baby’s health. If you’re at the point of needing vitamins or medication to keep your body functioning properly, it’s probably not a good idea to have a child.
13 Depleted Energy
There is a reason why most mothers are younger when they start having children. Simply because they have the energy. Energy is closely related to our health so if our health is on the decline just because we are getting older, then our energy will be on the decline too.
Pregnancy will sap energy out of you so if you’re struggling with this issue being pregnant will not be a good outcome. Energy is also needed after the baby is born. Mothers experience a lack of sleep which means a lack of energy.
If you’re already experiencing a lack of energy because you’re getting older, you’ll really be struggling to get important things done during the day. And we all know how energetic a toddler is or a young child can be, add a few more years to your age and decide if you can keep up with them when the time comes.
12 Hitting Menopause
Just when you think things should be getting better they can get worse when mom starts to enter menopause. Menopause brings with it a wide range of hormonal imbalances and changes that can cause women to experience a very difficult time in their life.
Lack of sleep and energy, hot flashes that won’t quit, emotional or mood swings, and host of other unbelievable symptoms will not mix well with young children. In fact, it can make your pregnancy worse which can cause undue stress on the baby prior to birth. Not to mention, the difficulties you will experience after birth.
For many women, menopause or perimenopause simply doesn’t match with pregnancy. Of course, some women don’t experience this drastic change in life so a pregnancy may not result in a horrible experience. If you’re getting close to 50 or starting menopause early in your 40s, this is something to think about when considering pregnancy.
11 People Stare
Unless you are a young looking mother in your 50s and 60s get ready for the awkward looks when your little calls you mommy. Or get ready to continually answer the question, “No, I’m the mother” when people ask you if you’re the mother or the grandmother. You can’t really get mad at people wondering and asking this question.
It’s normal and should be expected for the simple reason most mothers, and especially first-time mothers, are in their 20s and 30s, not 40s, 50s and 60s. It’s not something people are use to seeing.
In fact, you can turn any negative feelings you have regarding people asking these questions into something positive. Instead of feeling of the defensive simply say, I’ve been blessed or she or he is my special child in my older age. It’s only a negative situation if you feel there’s something wrong with you having a child in your older age.
10 The Grandparents Are Older Too
Most parents love the opportunity to become a grandparent. It’s a delight in their older age to spend time with their legacies. But it’s not as much of a delight if they are so old they can’t even enjoy the delights of having a grandbaby or young grandchildren around them.
And if they are in their 70s, 80s and 90s, it’s highly unlikely they will be around to see important times in their grandchildren’s lives like high school, college graduation and their wedding day.
They may not babysit as often as you or they would like because they simply don’t have the ability or the energy. And your children may not be able to bond with them because of the huge age difference. To most children -- especially small children -- 40 is very old, so not only will you seem ancient to them, but their grandparents will come across as being living fossils.
9 Being Older Than Most Parents
Just like the stares you’ll get, another odd moment will be comparing yourself with other parents who are young enough to be your child too. This will become noticeable pretty much all the time.
The doctors and nurses will remind you that you’re one of the older parents in the birthing area. The daycare will let you know most of the parents are much younger than you and the other parents do things differently. When you speak to your child’s teacher, you may be a lot older than her and can teach her or him a few things.
When it’s time for birthday parties, graduations and other celebrations, most of the parents will no doubt ask you just how you managed to raise a child at your age or you’ll feel like a fish out of water since more than likely you won’t have anything in common with the younger parents.
8 They Might Be An Only Child
Part of the problem some see with older women having children is the fact that you are at least 35-40 years older than them. This will cause a gap in being able to relate better to their situations and lifestyle. It’s already a gap issue for parents 20 or 30 years older than their children.
They don’t understand each other's styles, language or trends which can cause problems and disconnects when the teenage years arrive. If something is cool to them and completely foolish to you, there can be a disconnect.
Also, the older your child gets the more embarrassed or defensive they may come when explaining to their peers you and your age. And if you have your first child in your 40s or 50s, it’s very likely they will not have any siblings which can be difficult for most children. These things can make them feel more isolated from their peers.
7 Advantages - Wisdom And Maturity
One of the biggest advantages of being an older mom is that you have the wisdom and maturity many younger mothers don’t have. A young mother simply does not have the life experiences that an older mother would have. There's nothing like being able to provide wisdom and knowledge through experiences to someone else.
Many older women, even if they have not been mothers, have either babysat family member’s or friend’s children or they just have the necessary experience with people that allows them to deal with children or issues better.
Older mothers are not trying to learn how to be an adult while at the same time learning how to be a mother. They see things from a different perspective and are much more able to handle difficult situations, organize their time and handle multiple issues at one time. They’ll be better able to deal with issues with more patience and control.
6 Financial Stability
Another major advantage for being an older mother is financial stability. It’s not a given that this will be the case, but usually the older the person is, the more stable they are financially. Having and raising children is very expensive, from birth to college, it will take thousands of dollars to accomplish.
One of the main reasons why some women wait to become mothers is to make sure they are financially secure and have established their career. Having a child will disrupt careers for most mothers. It can be difficult to find appropriate daycare or some mothers just want to spend more time at home with their child so the career or job is put on the back burner.
An older woman who may have enough finances stored or enough time to take off is in a better situation to take the desirable time off to spend with their little one.
5 Stable Relationships
Now this may not be the case for every or even most older women but many will more likely be in a stable relationship and married for sometime. Many younger and new mothers may just have gotten married or may be in an unstable and or fluid relationships because of bad decisions made.
An older woman will know what they have in a spouse or future father of the child because the dad will also, more likely, be mature, older and settled. There’s no hoping and wondering what type of father their husband will be or having to depend on their parents or other family members to help them out with the baby and other issues.
Also, most older moms and dads will know what to expect and be prepared to take care of a baby, whereas younger moms and dads may not have been quite ready to take on this huge responsibility.
4 Hand Me Downs
This could be a very good advantage for some older mothers. Most of your peers, family and friends have had their children and may have a great deal of leftover clothes, furniture and supplies that are just sitting around waiting for your newborn.
Of course, the downside is that most of your family and friends who have had children have already gotten rid of those clothes and furniture by the time you have your child.
But many mothers who are your age but have adult children may still keep clothes and furniture to pass down to their children when it’s time for them to have their own children, and so there is still a chance to get those hand-me downs that work out just perfect.
And you never know, by the time you have your children those styles may be back in style by the time your little one is born.
3 No Regrets
Many younger mothers come to the realization that having a child matures you. It helps you grow up. You don’t have time for youthful activities and oftentimes have to turn down going out and partying or spending time with friends once the baby is born. Most older mothers don’t have this problem.
Those youthful activities have long been removed from your things to do list. Partying, bar hopping and getting inebriated or wasted are pastimes that no longer interest you. Having a baby does not have to settle you down because you are already settled down. A baby doesn’t abruptly change your lifestyle.
Older mothers are ready to have a child and prepare themselves accordingly. Just like many who go after their careers first and then have children, they’ve already got all the bugs out of their system, so to speak, that cause younger mothers to experience a major lifestyle shift.
2 There Will Be More Help
If you don’t have older children, you’re likely to have nieces and nephews old enough to help you out with getting things done. And if you just have one child, you’ll more than likely have younger relatives willing to babysit, play and teach the child while you rest.
Plus, you may have younger relatives that have their own small children or babies that are more than happy to help take some of the burden, if there’s any, off your shoulder. Younger mothers may have less help because their peers are having and raising their own children.
Younger relatives that are moms will be more in tuned with current trends that your little one may be interested in. They may also be willing to babysit your child which will help him or her hang around children their age and experience the benefit of having both a younger mom and the benefit of having an older mom.
1 Experiencing The Joys Of Parenthood
This is not to say younger mothers don’t experience the joy of motherhood but older mothers have more patience in dealing with their children because they understand people and children more and age has allowed them to realize that patience is a virtue.
Older mothers are more relaxed when it comes to raising children. This doesn’t mean relaxed with discipline and structure because usually older parents are more disciplined and structured but they don’t go overboard with making sure everything is perfect because they know it won’t be. They accept their mistakes, mess ups and do overs.
Older mothers are more appreciative of parenthood and tend to take more time communicating and spending time with their child. They simply have more time to devote to their child because they’re not running to and fro or expending energy that a young mother may have trying to work, play, and raise a child.