Is everyone around you suggesting that you should hurry and have a baby, as your fertility drops with age, and you’ll no longer be able to later on? Do you feel you are not yet ready to be a mom? I’ve been in your shoes, and I know what it feels like. I also know there is no “best” time or age to conceive. There is only the “right” time.
I was 25 when everyone began pressuring my husband and me to have a child. My mom had cancer, and treatment meant spending days in the waiting room, going from one hospital to another, and spending a fortune on medicines her health insurance didn’t cover and on bribery for doctors and nurses who would have otherwise left her rot in her room.
Between the pain of seeing my mother dying and not being able to save her, a job I desperately needed to pay the bills, and hospital stays, bringing a child into this world did not even cross my mind. Yet everyone was suggesting it.
“The hell with everyone”, I thought and moved on with what I knew mattered at the time. Two years later, on November 8, my husband and I figured it was time to give parenthood a chance since our financial situation had improved and we now had our own place. I went to the doctor and she told me I had the polycystic ovaries syndrome, which negatively impacts fertility.
We decided we were only going to give up protection until December 1st, so that I could still benefit from the monthly allowance my employer offered. We never looked at dates or try to figure out the best period to get pregnant. Three weeks later, the pregnancy test came out positive.
You’ll say we were young and fertile, and I can’t argue. Everything went perfect, and our daughter proved to be more than we could have asked for. She was so perfect, that we decided to dedicate our life to her and not have another child.
Fast forward three and a half years, and we became one of the 1% of couples for whom protection failed. I’m glad it did, as we now have one more miracle in our lives. But it wasn’t easy. The pregnancy occurred while I was on strong medication and physiotherapy for back problems. I even had an X-ray while pregnant, since I knew we had used protection and I couldn’t be pregnant.
Everyone advised me to end the pregnancy, but I didn’t. And she’s perfect too. I know, I was, still am, incredibly lucky, but this is not my point. What I’m trying to say is that things happen when they are supposed to, sometimes even when you are trying to avoid them.
You should have it because you conceived it, or because you finally feel ready to be a parent. However, keep in mind one thing: your ability to conceive may diminish with time, so you need to make sure that, when the time comes, you’ll be able to.
How can you do that? I suggest undergoing periodical medical evaluations and taking measures to increase your chances of conceiving when the time comes (freezing your eggs). But do not take my word for it. Instead, let’s see what others, better informed and more knowledgeable than I, have to say about age, fertility, and parenthood.
- According to CDC, the number of women over 50 years of age who have children increased by approximately 165% between 2000 and 2013. The age average for first-time mothers increased as well, from 24.9 in 2000 to 26.3 in 2014. This goes to show that women around the world are following the same trend: they want financial and emotional stability in order to bring a child into this world.
- Unfortunately, sometimes, wanting is not enough to succeed, and your chances to conceive decrease with age.
This is the conclusion of the scientists at the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who found that women are in the best condition to get pregnant and have a healthy child between their ages of 20 and 35.
- This is the period when their fertility is at peak level, their blood pressure is low, and they are less likely to suffer a miscarriage or require a caesarian section.
- However, older mothers bring smarter children into the world. At least that is the conclusion of a study performed at Aarhus University, in Denmark.
The study found that children with older mothers had fewer behavioral, emotional, and social difficulties. This could be a consequence of the fact that women who choose to wait before having a child are usually smart and independent career women.
- The same conclusion was confirmed by the Max Planck Institute, whose researchers found that children with older mothers performed better during cognitive ability tests compared to children with younger mothers.
Psychologists say that mature women are more patient and more responsible when it comes to their children’s education.
Unfortunately, these findings do not compensate for the fact that fertility decreases with age, and birth defects and miscarriage risks are higher in older mothers. Moreover, while raising an infant may be easy, dealing with a teenager when you’re approaching retirement is not.
Giving birth to a child at 40 or 50 years of age, besides slowing down recovery, means dealing with a wider gap between generations.
By the time your kid comes of the age to run and play, you’ll be too old and tired to accompany them. This will obviously depend on context, on your lifestyle, and dedication, but you surely get my point.
I’d like you to forget about age for a minute, and focus on what an unborn baby should represent – the greatest responsibility in your life. Before you bring them into this world, you need to make sure you can provide for them, care for them, and be there for them when they need you. Your child should have a loving family, a place to call home, and everything they need to grow healthily and happily.
Of course, you should also monitor and preserve your health, so as to make sure you deliver a healthy baby at term, and you are able to care for it and see it grow. This should exclude the idea of having children in your 50s or 60s. I think this is when a woman gets too old to have a baby. It is possible, with today’s technology, but it wouldn’t be fair to your body and to the child.
Instead, plan your life carefully, freeze your eggs just to be sure, and don’t wait too long to feel complete next to the person you love.
In the end, this is what a child brings along with it:
- a feeling of completeness,
- of immeasurable happiness,
- a reason to live,
- a reason to fight for a better life,
- joy to enjoy every minute to the fullest.
If you can’t conceive, you can always find a surrogate mother or adopt.
There is no perfect age for parenthood, but there is an instinct we all share, the one that whispers in our thoughts: now is the right time. You’ll know it when you hear it, and, if you listen to it, you’ll bring your own little miracle into this world, and a simple look at him or her will be enough to help you forget about ill-intentioned comments and suggestions.
What do you think is the correct age for having a child is? When did you have yours? Would you do things the same way if you had a chance to go back in time? Don’t hesitate to share your opinion in a comment!
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