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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 think part of the reason for a higher percentage of older moms (in addition to the male lack of devotion mentioned by a reader above) is the subtle effect of toxins on our fertility as a nation. The hormones in our meat/dairy supply, pesticides in our soil and produce combined with estrogen-like compounds in our plastics ALL cause sub-fertility in our female population. I started trying to have kids at age 29-30. I was not successful in giving birth until age 35 because of fertility issues. I started trying to have my second at age 37 and have still not succeeded despite thousands spent on fertility treatment. Now at age 41, I am not only facing environmental sub-fertility, but also advanced age for conception. Besides fertility, I am the picture of health & fitness. Having been in the "infertility world" for so long, I can tell you that infertility patients are getting younger and younger. The waiting room is no longer filled with old women who waited to long. It is full of 20 to 30-somethings and getting more crowded by the minute. Many of these women will not be successful until they are considered "older moms".

July 22, 2011 - 6:41am
EmpowHER Guest

I think the real issue with women having children older is that men are taking their time asking for marriage. I'm 40, and have dated several men for long durations, hoping they were 'the one'. It never happened. Now that I'm 40, I've met someone and we're talking about marriage and the possibility of having a child or two (and obviously the risks involved). What disheartens me or what has in the past, my male gynecologist who every year would ask, "When are you going to start having children? You're getting older and the older you get the more you should think about NOT having them." FIRST OFF, to have a child out of wedlock 'just because' I'm getting older doesn't sound ideal in the least bit. Who wants to struggle being a single mom? Hell, my mother had three of us and after her divorce, I had no idea who she was or if I even liked her (she had to work to make ends meet and let’s just say she wasn't happy about it). Second, BECAUSE men are taking longer to ‘pop-the-question’, we women NEED to focus on our careers to provide for ourselves and our questionable futures. This is more of the case than women WANTING to focus on their careers before settling down, getting married and having children. The majority of my girlfriends are older and having (or not having due to their age after getting married) children and not because they wanted a higher education and/or a successful career, it’s because they’ve dated men whose outlook towards marriage is surly negative due to gold diggers and women taking ‘half’ of everything they own after the downfall of the marriage. Hell, I wouldn’t want to get married when the milk is free and I have no obligations for support after the demise of the contract! I think the real issue with women having children when their older is not the security that usually entails when doing so, it’s because of our society and how we promote a lack of devotion and sanctity to the art of marriage. Raise your sons better, show them that marriage is nothing to be afraid of and that loving and devoting yourself to family is beautiful in itself -- oh young moms out there -- and the future will be brighter and healthier for the next generations that decide to have children in their 30’s instead of their 40’s (hopefully after being newlyweds a few years). And, I no longer have a male gynecologist.

July 21, 2011 - 10:43am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

You hit the nail on the head. I am 42 and have never been married. I have dated men over the years, but they are all afraid of marriage and think it is something bad. The seem to think that they would be "missing out on something" by devoting themselves to one woman for the rest of their lives. I am currently dating a man who is divorced, but he is scarred due to his previoius bad marriage and divorce. Therefore, he is reluctant to get married again. I have told him that not every woman is a gold digger like his ex-wife. I want children, but I refuse to be a single parent. I see what my single parent friends go through and I don't want that for myself. Not only am I am doing a dis-service to the child, but also to myself.
There are still women out here that want to be married, with a husband and a family..and not a "baby's daddy"!!!

July 24, 2011 - 6:36am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Just be sure not to cut your nose to spite your face. It's hard to know if you will have regrets later on in life of not having a child just because you weren't married. To me, having a child is much more important than being married. Thankfully I have a wonderful man and am 4 1/2 months pregnant after 3 years of fertility treatments (I'm only 39).

July 31, 2011 - 4:27am
EmpowHER Guest

i am so happy for you and pray the same happen to me

July 21, 2011 - 10:27am
(reply to Anonymous)

Hope so, too and good luck,

July 21, 2011 - 8:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

Let's be for real, there is nothing great about being an old mother. going to the playground people constantly asking you hold old is your GRANDSON? :( People were asking me once they found out it was my daughter, why haven't i gone through menopause yet?

July 21, 2011 - 9:26am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I think that kind of issue may differ in what part of the US you are in. In the Northeast (especially the big cities like NY or Boston) no one bats an eye at an "older mother", in fact if anything it's more common to see 30-something and 40-something mothers than younger mothers. I've heard it's very different in the South though.

July 31, 2011 - 5:54am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Yes, it is different in the South. Although I would say that it can also depend on the area of the state. People who grow up in larger cities seem to be on the fast track for career advancement, while people who are raised in smaller towns (especially in rural areas) still tend to marry much younger. When I graduated from high school at the age of 16 there was already one girl who was married and several others who were engaged. My mother married at the age of 13 in 1946 and had her first child at the age of 15. She gave birth to her 4th child at the age of 20 and her 6th at the age of 29. She became a grandmother at the age of 34. My older brother married 10 days before his 18th birthday. He is the oldest of the 6 kids in my family. I was 21 before I had my first child and became a grandmother at age 40. I am now raising 3 of my grandkids (ages 19, 16 and 15). The funny part is that no one questions that I am their mother (I have adopted them, so they are legally my children). I have also been told many times that I don't look my age, so perhaps that helps in the present time. I am 59 now.

August 30, 2011 - 11:59pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Oh dear lord! Folks can be so very rude. Ignore them and enjoy motherhood! Thanks for sharing your experience,

July 21, 2011 - 8:23pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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