Moms Worried About Starting Their Families Too Late Need to Chill Out

Mom Moment 11

shadowsThere's always something parents are collectively wringing their hands over, and this weeks it's Parenting While Old. We're starting our families later and later. Does this mean we're all going to be too old and rickety to pick up our genetically-warped babies when we do actually manage to squeeze them out? Thank you, this month's New Republic, for reminding us of yet another thing parents are doing wrong.

The magazine cover features a grey-haired couple holding a baby with the headline, "The Grayest Generation: We're Having Kids Later Than Ever. We Have No Idea What We're Getting Into." Inside, Judith Shulevitz explores how screwed older parents and their kids are, what with the unknown dangers of fertility treatments and the age-related genetic and epigenetic mutations. Oh man, you KNOW you should be scared when they whip out the epigenetic mutations. Or should we be worried?

XXfactor writer Allison Benedikt is worried and asks, Is Waiting Longer to Have Kids a Big Mistake? She's a 35-year-old mom with two kids and one on the way: "I’m wishing we had started popping out those kids, oh, say, five years earlier than we did, so that maybe, by 40, my bedroom and my sons' bedroom wouldn't be separated by a fake wall."

Benedikt lives in Brooklyn, and as a fellow Brooklyn parent I have to point out, almost-three kids at 35 is already pretty young and ambitious family planning for New York City. She got married at 26 and waited five years to have her first baby. I did almost the same thing: I married at 25 and waited seven years to have my first and only. But I'm not doing the math (how old I'll be, how much money I'll have spent, how long before I can afford more toilets in my apartment) and I'm not wringing my hands. And you know what? I refuse to worry about this.

Do you year me, Judith Doomsayer Shulevitz? I'm not freaking out!

I mean, I'm still being responsible with my finances. And I know it's harder to conceive the older you get. And I understand how babies born to younger parents would have all sorts of advantages.

It's just that these decisions we make about kids are so complicated. Why stress ourselves out second-guessing over how many kids you had/will have when? I think we're all making the best choices we can, based on our own unique circumstances. It's good to know all the risks so you can make the best choices -- but not if all that information gives you more gray hairs than you already have! And it's great that women actually get a CHOICE! Really, I'd like us all to just chill the hell out, because there is no ideal time to start a family. There's just the time you and your spouse decide to start.

Do you think we should be worried about being too old -- or too young -- to start a family?


Image via JeffreyTurner/Flickr

motherhood, trying to conceive, complications


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nonmember avatar Shannon

I had my first two at 41... after 1 round of fertility shots! I was surprised that it happened so fast... and so was the doctor! I am now almost 43 --- so I am done. I do wish I had started years ago because I always wanted a large family.

Sarah UsedtobeZech Cone

I think that there are advantages and disadvantages to both having a baby too young OR too old; but it's not up to me to decide when the perfect or "right" age is for everyone. Only the person/couple themselves knows their situation and if it's the right time for them to start a family. Personally I wouldn't want to have a kid after 30 but that's just me...I don't have a problem with and/or don't judge when others have a different opinion about when to have kids. What they do with their lives is their business!

corri... corrinacs

I guess you guys have never read the book "A Few Good Eggs".  Its a great book about women who focuses on thier great careers, but waited to have children.....the thing this article FAILS to mention is that your fertility drops off dramatically after 35.

Its unfortunately a trend that's happening more and more.  People waiting to have children, and now they are relying on ART (artificial reproductive technology) to have children...or adoption....or even choosing to be childless.

Point is, there are indeed pros and cons to either direction.  But women in thier late 30's do have a real reason to worry.  The author of this artcile didn't do her homework.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I started at 28 and felt mature enough and physically ready. But women who wait til 30's because of career may be hurting in the end, anyone can go to school or have a career and raise a kid. I had a c/s, started nursing school with a 3 week old and a 2 y/o, thank god mom and dad and husband helped me so kiddo didn't go to daycare til 6 weeks old 3 days a week. Thing is, don't wait cause of a career cause you can do both. Yes it's easier to wait but some of us, me, are late bloomers. Family then school cause school/career will ALWAYS be there but not my fertility.

pupuk... pupukeawahine

First child and only baby at 41, no fertility treatments.  Live healthy, it makes a difference.  Try for less stressful existence, even more important.  Most of all, if you do get pregnant at an advanced age for fertility, don't worry about being too old, how old you'll be down the road, if you'll ever see grandchildren.  Just be a mommy and love it. 

Rosas... RosasMummy

I had my daughter rosa when I was 18 and I am today exactly halfway through my degree in Biology, we have a home, a loving and supportive father/ fiancé, I am so glad that I had her when I did, there is no right time

nonmember avatar Gretta

I started at 28. Now considering my fourth at 34... I don't think that's too late but if it doesn't happen I will not do any artificial fertility treatments,

Snake... Snakecharmer76

I always shake my head at these notions that the vast majority of women who wait until they are in their mid to late 30's are doing so because of their careers. Honestly, the vast majority of my peers (I'm 36) are not putting off child bearing because of some fabulous job, but simply because they haven't met the right person to become a parent WITH! Go out and ask your average guy in his mid 20's if he's just dying to become a father and you'll find the majority will just laugh at you!

Robin... RobinNJ76

A lot of career minded women are now choosing to freeze their eggs so that when they meet mister right, or when they decide to build their family, that they'll have quality eggs to fertilize.  It's an interesting move and something I think more and more people will consider as women in general wait to build their families.

nonmember avatar Randheer Pawja

Women who wait are stupid! But then that's natural to women ... Fertility drops after 30 - enjoy that career and your lonely life. I always f*ck women in 20s so that they can bear healthy children.

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