Women Should Not Be Having Babies Past a Certain Age

In larger cities on the East Coast, it isn't at all abnormal for a woman to wait until her mid-30s or even later to have her first child. A number of factors contribute to this -- higher cost of living, more education opportunities, less emphasis on early marriage -- but the end result is many moms are a bit older than average. Now, it seems those numbers may skew even higher.

A recent article in New York Magazine highlights the "older mom," and by older here, they mean 50+. As in: Women who would be grandmothers in certain parts of the country.

There are a number of factors that go into a decision like this and it isn't all women who just felt like waiting and had a million other things to do first. The fact is, some women find their partners later in life. So why should they be deprived of having children because love didn't happen for them earlier?

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I feel for these women, I really do. Parenthood is amazing and wonderful, but it's also something that we lose the ability to do naturally in our mid-40s for a reason. The article says that we evolved to go through menopause in our 40s so we could avoid the danger of pregnancy later in life and that we have now extended our life expectancies so dramatically that it's no longer relevant.

But I beg to differ. I have parents in their early 60s, and while they watch our children on occasion, there is no way they could possibly keep our children on a regular basis. Part of this is emotional -- they have their own lives and interests -- but part of it is physical. They simply cannot keep up.

And while some older parents have a lot of energy, I have never known a single 60-year-old who could outpace a 30-year-old in terms of stamina and longevity. OK, maybe one. Or two. There was the 70-year-old who passed me in my half marathon last week, but we all know those people are the exceptions, not the rule.

As someone who lost a parent at 16 even though she was only 28 when she had me, I know there are no guarantees in life. But why would you possibly raise your chances of that happening? These children are born likely without grandparents to love and spoil them and will, in all likelihood, be without one or both of their parents by age 30.

Just because a thing is possible doesn't make it the right thing to do. There are many things we CAN do that we still shouldn't. For me, the cut-off will be 40. If I haven't had my third child by that age, I will not have a third child. I had my first in my late 20s and it's hard to imagine going back into babyhood in my 40s.

We need to get past the idea we have in our culture that children are a given for everyone. At a certain age, it's probably better to accept that ship has sailed and find other ways to give back.

Do you think having children in your 50s is good?


Image via New York

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