The Best Age to Have a Baby: Forties

mom and baby

photo by madfoot

What's the best age to become a mom? There isn't one. A recent study shows that older moms and younger ones can do the job just as well. And as we all know, it's a tough job. Still, being a young mom has its advantages and its disadvantages, as does being an older mom. I interviewed moms of different ages to see what they had to say on the subject so we could all appreciate each other a little more. All this week in the Baby Buzz, you'll hear from women who became Baby Mamas in their teens, their twenties, their thirties, and their forties. And you'll find we're not so different after all. We're moms who love our kids no matter how old—or how young—we are.

This week we've met women who became moms in their teens, women who became moms in their twenties, and women who became moms in their thirties.


Today: Meet four fabulous women who had babies in their forties—and one fabulous woman who had her first baby in her teens, several in her twenties, and her last two in her forties.

Meet madfoot, Baby Mama to one-month-old Penelope

How old were you when you had you first baby?
I just had my first baby at 41. I didn't mean to wait this long! I am 
just a terrible procrastinator! Okay, what really happened was that I 
made some bad choices and spent way too many years in a dead-end 
relationship with someone who kept saying "Sure, we'll have a baby... 
next year." I finally got out of that and was very fortunate to meet 
a steady, wonderful guy who was happy to start a family. Phew!

What were the advantages to becoming a mom at that age?
I am so much more easygoing at this age than I was ten years ago. 
I really knew it all when I was younger; now I'm just like, 'Oh, well, 
no judgments, everyone does things their way.' I also don't feel 
pouty about missing out on any fun stuff. There is no fun stuff I'd 
rather be doing than being with my bebe. I sowed every wild oat I 
needed to. And I'm happy with the relationship I'm in, 
which is not something I could have said at any earlier point in my 
life. I know my little girl is growing up in an environment of love 
and encouragement—for her and for me and for her dad, all of us 
just happy. No tortured drama. That's a huge advantage over any 
earlier version of myself. And, of course, I'm much more well off than 
I was.

Were there any downsides to having a baby at that time in your life?
My poor body! The pregnancy was very hard on me and I got gestational 
diabetes and hypertension. Maybe that's age, maybe it's my formerly 
unhealthy lifestyle catching up with me. And, of course, now that I’m 
in this good place in my life, I want to have like fifty kids—and 
I'll be lucky if I can eke out one more. That makes me super sad.


Meet Michelle2931, Baby Mama to ten-month-old Ashley, and group owner of Older Moms 40 Plus

How old were you when you had you first baby?
Forty-five. I always wanted a baby, but when I was younger, I was goal- and career-driven—and my ex-husband did not want any children. I met my current husband and he wanted to try for a baby.  

What were the advantages to becoming a mom at that age?
I've already experienced a lot. I can't say I'm going to miss out on anything.

Were there any downsides to having a baby at that time in your life?
I've been asked if I'm the Grandma, and people ask why I waited so long.



photo by Cafe Suzanne


Meet Cafe Suzanne, Baby Mama to 11-month-old Clara

How old were you when you had you first baby?
I had my baby at 42. I never wanted to be an "old" mom. My parents had three kids by the time they were 26. My husband's parents were older—they had their first at 40, and then had two more. But life goes by so fast and I always felt young. I still do. I didn't get married until I was 35, and Mr. Cafe Suzanne didn't want kids right away so we waited. It all worked out for the best because if things didn't happen the way they did, I wouldn't have the baby I have and she is the light of my life. I wouldn't change a thing.

What were the advantages to becoming a mom at that age?
I am so much more patient now than I would have been had I had a child at a younger age. And I've really lived life—traveled all over, worked different jobs, lived in different places. I've been single, had "alone-time" with my husband, and now I have a family. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I feel very lucky, and I don't take my baby for granted. I treasure every moment with her and we have fun together. I don't stress out about things I probably would have years ago. I think she'll benefit from having this older version of me and all of my experiences.

Were there any downsides to having a baby at that time in your life?
I always thought my baby would grow up with her cousins and my friend's kids, but they're all much older now. Fortunately, my husband's siblings all had kids late so there are young cousins and babies on that side of the family. I worry about how much time my daughter will have getting to know all of her grandparents. But that's something one never knows. I'd love my daughter to have siblings—I had two sisters and that was the best. I'm not sure that's going to happen, and it makes me sad for her.


Meet Pataoker, mom to six-year-old David

How old were you when you had you first baby?
I turned 41, two weeks after my first son was born. I always wanted children, I finally found the right person to have them with.

What were the advantages to becoming a mom at that age?
I already knew a lot about kids. I had a lot of nieces and nephews. I was better able to afford a child.

Were there any downsides to having a baby at that time in your life?
It was definitely a change in lifestyle. Now vacations are no longer planned for the party towns, but more along the educational lines!


Meet momof2g3b, mom to 24-year-old Jillian, 22-year-old Roxann, 20-year-old Theron, 17-year-old Forrest, 3-year-old Robert, 6-month-old Merissa

How old were you when you had you first baby?
I was a teenage mom, giving birth to four beautiful children by the time I was 24. Then, at the wizened old age of 40, we adopted a baby boy, and again at 43, a baby girl. I am not sure it matters whether I gave birth or not at the age of 40, but I can tell you some things that have definitely changed, for the worse—and for the better!

What were the differences in having babies in your forties versus your teens and twenties?
At age 40, having adopted our son, I did not get to acclimate my body to the extra 10 pounds I would be carrying day in and day out. After the first month, I thought my arms would fall off; but then again, a few pounds of excess weight also fell off with the exercise, so no harm done! My arms were incredibly toned for baby number two!

At 19, 20, 22 and 24, I had much more stamina to chase after the little ones, as in playing horsey, letting them fly on my feet, throwing them up in the air just to hear their giggles and pleas for more. But back then it seemed I never had a moment to sit and read children's books to them, watch a movie, or just lay next to them to listen to them prattle on in small sentences about their big days. I take the time now to savor the sweetest moments. I take sedate walks around the neighborhood, stop to pull out the gas company's orange flags to march with, check to see if the turtle is in the creek...every single day of the week. These things matter.

At 19, 20, 22 and 24, my main concern was food, clothing, a roof over their heads and healthcare. I paid a baby sitter because I had a husband who thought I wasn't doing my fair share by staying home to raise our children. At 30, I reviewed that plan and opted for a different way of life. At 32, I remarried and was blessed with a man who understands that being a mom is the most important job in the world. I was able to parent the older ones and be there for them every day of their teen years while they sprouted their wings and learned to fly on their own; I am able to stay home and enjoy our newest chicks. Both methods have and will result in the same well-mannered, educated, loving, caring, productive adults.

Thanks so much to all the moms who participated in this series, and thanks to you for all of your comments.


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