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I'm an advocate for being an older mom. I'm not saying that it's better to have kids when you're more advanced in years, as I did. What I mean is that having kids later in life is an option — which is great since more and more women are waiting longer to have children. Being pregnant in your late thirties and early forties seems to be quite normal nowadays. Gone is the stigma related to childbirth after 35.
But wait. Now some women are waiting until their late forties and even late fifties to have children, according to an AARP article, and they have no regrets. Although these are high-risk pregnancies, the women interviewed explain they were aware of what they were doing. Furthermore, it cost them not only time and energy but also money. They had to resort to donor eggs and implanted embryos, which are not exactly cheap, ranging between $25,000 and $30,000 per in vitro fertilization procedure. And if it's not successful the first time around, some women choose to try again, which means another $25-30K, plus the cost of doctor visits, pregnancy care and birthing.
The story that surprised me the most was that of Frieda Binbaum, a NYC-based psychologist married to an attorney, who birthed twins at 60, after being a first-time mom at 53. This means that when her youngest are 20, she will be 80, and when they are 30, if she's still around, she'll be 90.
In my late teens, I swore that if I hadn't had babies by 25, I would not be a mom. But then life happened.
Her story makes me feel that having my kids at nearly 38 and 41 respectively was actually quite young! In my late teens, I swore that if I hadn't had babies by 25, I would not be a mom. But then life happened. I could say I lucked out, as I could have become pregnant by a number of unfit partners, in the days when protection and birth control were not understood or as widely available as today.
I didn't marry until I was 35 and I had to convince my younger husband that I couldn't wait forever to have babies. And eventually, they came. Although I was ready to do anything necessary to become pregnant, from fertility treatments to IVF. I really, really wanted to be a mother.
Now, as much as I don't like to be judged for having kids later in life, and even feel a pang of hurt when women my age who had their kids younger tell me: "Oh, I can't even imagine having a baby at 40!" I'm also human and wonder about having babies at 50+ and even at 60 or older.
I understand a mother's urge to bear life and raise children to continue her legacy. I don't even question her stamina because I know first-hand that if you have to step up to the plate, you will. I mean, in many instances grandparents are raising their grandkids so the parents can work. My own abuelita, now 98, raised my younger sister and me when my parents separated. She cooked for us, helped us with our homework and took us to the park. She did that from the year she turned 51, when I was only 5 years old, until I left home at 19 when she was 70. I never remember her saying she was tired or too old to keep up with us or anything like that.
They most likely won't get to meet their grandparents and will definitely lose own their parents at a relatively young age. On the other hand, if they end up having to take care of their parents, they themselves will still be young and able.
But now, consciously birthing babies when your body is going through or has already gone through menopause … Is that right for the children? They most likely won't get to meet their grandparents and will definitely lose own their parents at a relatively young age. On the other hand, if they end up having to take care of their parents, they themselves will still be young and able. But then, most likely, their parents are well-off and will leave them set up financially when they're gone. They've planned out this parenting thing better than younger people can usually afford to do. These are couples and even single parents who are strongly committed to having children.
So it seems that there are both advantages and disadvantages to having babies at an age where our elders were already great-grandmothers.