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She’s a New Mom . . . at 43!

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Pregnancy related image Photo: Getty Images

This past weekend a dear college friend, at the age of 43, gave birth to her first child. Her baby girl, delivered by Cesarean section, is beautiful and healthy, weighing in at over 8 pounds.

Since our son is headed for college this fall, I marvel at this little gift that arrived so much later in life for her. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), my friend Beth is part of a growing trend of moms that are waiting until later in life to deliver their first child. 2008 Statistics from the CDC show not just a 4% increase in babies born to women aged 40 – 44, but a decrease in babies born to moms below the age of 40.

Why are we seeing an increase in older, first-time moms? Beth explains that there never seemed to be the right time to start a family. “I kept trying to finish college, and save a little money before I had the additional responsibility of a family,” she recalls.

“I went through a sad divorce and then decided to focus on my career.” She was happily remarried two years ago, and had started thinking about a baby. “We had many discussions with our doctor about the risks of conceiving after 40.” Indeed, older moms are at higher risk for miscarriage and their babies have a higher chance of being born with Down syndrome. Like other expectant moms over 35 years of age, Beth’s blood pressure and sugar were carefully monitored. Her doctor also recommended procedures to screen the fetus for possible genetic problems.

I admire Beth because she finished her higher education, launched a successful career, and will now enjoy the gift of a baby. Some other famous ladies chose the same path. Halle Berry, Salma Hayeck, and Brooke Shields all had children past 40. When I had our son at 25, I barely understood who I was or what I wanted to do the rest of my life. As an older mom, Beth has the added bonus of understanding life a little better and feeling secure, financially.

Although I haven’t met the new baby in person, I have chatted with Beth over the phone. I could hear the excitement, relief, and happiness in her voice loud and clear. I am confident that she is about to experience the most rewarding time of her life!


Reviewed July 19, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle

Add a Comment32 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I'm 43 and still wish to have my own child. I have been trying since the day after I turned 36 (and one day after I married for the first time). At the same time I was desperate to quit my horrible job that severely affected my health (adrenals and thyroid) and probably my fertility. I finally got a BFP 2.5 yrs later but sadly had a miscarriage at 8 wks due to Trisomy 15. No luck since.
If I had any inkling of these health problems years ago, maybe I would have chosen a different path and thought about marriage and children at a much younger age. I had fertility tests run again 2 yrs ago and the results were great - FSH really low, everything else GREAT...RE said everything was staying very young. Too bad it just won't work for me. Not everyone puts off having babies til their 40s. I would give anything to have my own children and I cry all the time.

July 24, 2011 - 4:27am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Dear older moms to be - no one wants to think about increased risk (greatly increased risk) of genetic problems after 35, but it's there, it's real, and I barely lived through it. At 43 I became pregnant (happy with my 9 and 13 year olds and not trying for another). After the initial shock, I was excited, I love my children and already loved my latest baby. Finding out my beloved new life was already dying from Trisomy 18 was devastating to say the least. After the ordeal was over at 19 weeks (and after my milk came in totally, all I wanted to do was nurse my baby, just like I had my other 2), one of the things that helped me pull through was the fact that I was already blessed with children - I don't know how people face such a loss as their only child. Is this letter scary? Yes. Can older women have healthy babies? Yes. can younger mothers have my situation? Yes. Just go into this with eyes WIDE open - and pretending it won't happen to you is foolish for an older mom. That situation reminded me that not all women get pregnant, give birth at 9 months, and everyone lives happily ever after. So, over forty crowd, the very best of luck to you, babies have fulfilled my life, but PLEASE do genetic testing so you are prepared. Genetic testing doesn't mean abortion, it simply means being ready.
As a last note, after my ordeal which my best friend witnessed and supported me, she remarried. She had 2 children from a previous marriage that were both in their teens. Having witnessed what I went through, she did much soul-searching and research. She gave birth to her third child at age 41 in spite of the risks of being an older mother. Her baby is beautiful and happy and so are they, and so am I (although I think I was more of a wreck secretly than anyone while she was pregnant!). So the moral of this story? Get informed and be prepared, and rejoice when it all works out!

July 24, 2011 - 5:59am
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know it will help other moms! Good luck to you!!

July 25, 2011 - 7:46pm
EmpowHER Guest

Please,let's not glamorize this growing trend of bohemians who are under the impression that they can have it all. I don't have the answer for why women at mid-life,decide to start families,but I have theories. One of which is,the preoccupation with careers. 43 and with what is more than likely going to be an only child? that smacks of selfishness as far as I'm concerned,but that's the world that we live in today. Being 43 doesn't mean that you understand life any better than you did at 33 or 23,it simply means that by the time that you're getting ready to retire,you've got a teenager in the house to deal with. And using examples such as Brooke Shields and Halle Berry to support what I feel is a poor life decision for all involved,is neither here nor there.

If she were gainfully employed at say 27,what prevented her from having children then? that's right her own agenda. Only children don't grow up with more love because they're the only ones,they grow up alone. And maybe when everyone stops Ooohing and Ahhhhing over a middle aged woman having a child,they'll think about the child for a second who will more than likely have no siblings to play with,talk with,laugh with and parents who will essentially be too old to do things when he/she becomes an adolescent.

She may have circumvented the problems that come with having children when you're younger,but that in no way means that she didn't run head first into problems that arise when you have them when you're older. There is a natural order to things but arrogance convinces people that they are not beholden to the laws of nature because Dr. Phil or Phizer told them so. Such a sad world that we live in today.

July 23, 2011 - 10:56am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am curious if you have children? I hate that you feel the need to say such things. I would suggest that, for one, being on the earth more years SHOULD mean that you understand life better than you did 10 or 20 years ago....you've had more...life. If someone does not...it appears that would be a lack of maturity issue and not an age issue. Secondly, I wonder if you have been to a restaurant or any kind of public outing in quite some time if you feel that the only children of older parents have cornered the market of "spoiled children." And the term spoiled child is kind of crass and cruel is it not? Are not our children THE most precious of resources that we have? Lastly, these terribly "spoiled" and selfish children with chronic misbehavior issues either have some sort of disability or they have not been lovingly and adequately trained or possibly just didn't have a nap on the particular day you saw them.

Oh well, I circumvented the natural order of things so my punishment must be that I will be cheering at ball fields and attending school plays when my friends are busy playing bridge in the assisted living facility....drats how arrogant of me! Really?...is that comment the ONLY thing you could have done with your time today? If so, THAT is what is sad. You could have played chase or wrestled and tickled and then gone out to say nite-nite

to tree frogs before bed time. That's what we did.

July 31, 2011 - 9:59pm
EmpowHER Guest

I agree. I am 34 years old and haven't had any children yet. Instead I built my career which is still in turmoil due to the ecomony. The job expires in a couple months and many turn downs from job application after job application.....I am glad that no children have to be thrown around the country with me. Until I am established FINALLY, then possibly a husband and child. I fully support children with Mother's in their 40s.


July 23, 2011 - 9:49am
(reply to Anonymous)

Missie, thank you for your positive input. Good luck,

July 25, 2011 - 7:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

40+ might be the ideal age to have and raise children based on the crappy job most young mothers are doing with their children today! Biologically the 20's might be the ideal age to have children but today women (and men) and far too immature in their 20's.

Times have changed. I believe a man doesn't become a "man" until he is at least 35. People love having babies but have no clue how to raise them. Maybe by the time someone is 40, they have had enough life experience to do a better job.

July 23, 2011 - 9:07am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Not all young mothers do crappy jobs raising their kids -- I am sure that you know that but had to say it anyway.

I have four kids -- first born when I was 20 and last born when I was 29. The oldest is now in graduate school and the second just left for college last weekend. As of yesterday -- I am 43.

I finished college but never had a career outside the home -- unless you consider hours of volunteer work a career. I do sometimes wonder how my life would have been different if I hadn't had my children when I was so young, but don't dwell on it as there is really no point -- there are no do overs in life. Looking forward to what lies ahead :)

My parents adopted me when they were 38 and 40 -- really old to have a baby back then (1968). They are both still alive and have great relationships with all of their grandkids. They are amazing parents!

I am glad that I had my kids young --- if I had waited, maybe I would have been glad about that. I do feel that I had more energy and patience when I was younger, but I am sure that there are many people who feel the exact opposite!

I have told my daughters that I think that early 30's would be the most ideal time to have children. My oldest is 22 and I am not at all ready to be a grandmother!

August 31, 2011 - 12:31am
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for being so supportive of an "older" mom. It's refreshing to read positive comments about motherhood in one's 40s For whatever reason that people wait (or have to wait), the reality is that more women are having children over 40. Let's be supportive of them.

July 23, 2011 - 6:27am
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