Thinking about joining the growing numbers of women who are postponing motherhood till 40 or older? A stronger marriage, a solid career and a bigger bank account are making it a popular option. Still, being an older mom presents special challenges. Here are some issues to contemplate:
Are you ready for the changes a baby will bring?
The bottom line: Your life will never be the same again! A new baby will require you and your partner to make many adjustments, both professionally, personally and socially. An infant will add unpredictability to your well-structured life. Will you be able to go with the flow?
Do you have the stamina?
Take a cold, hard look at your health status. If you eat wholesome foods, stay active and generally treat yourself with respect, you’ll probably have the energy to weather sleepless nights and keep up with baby’s demands. If not, now is the time to tend to your total well-being.
Do you have help?
Younger moms often rely on their own mothers for parenting advice and a helping hand—a luxury older mothers don’t always have. Try to create a support system before your child is born. Ask your friends and co-workers to introduce you to new mothers. Talk to the women in your Ob/Gyn’s waiting room. Be prepared to make friends at childbirth preparation classes.
Do you have a sense of humor?
You’ll need it the day somebody asks how old your grandchild is! (It will happen even if you look like Michelle Pfeiffer.)
Are you willing to take medical risks?
The longer you wait to conceive, the harder it may be to get pregnant. If you do get pregnant, your fetus will be at higher risk for genetic abnormalities, miscarriage and stillbirth. You yourself will be more likely to develop gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
What about your pocketbook?
Having a baby at 40 means you’ll be heading for retirement as your child is heading off to college. Will your finances be able to withstand the burden?