There’s no denying it, I’m an older mum.  I had my daughters at 37 and 40 and I’m now 50 with a 12 and 10 year old. However,  have never really seen it as an issue or problem. Sure, as I talked about in the post ‘Older Mum? Or Just Plain Old?’I got a certain amount of attitude about my age during pregnancy but I know I was fit and healthy and fairly very young at heart. I knew there are people who think being an older mum is not a good thing but have never paid too much attention to it.

However, now I am blogging, I have set up google alerts about the topics I wish to blog about and yesterday I came upon this discussion on Pregnancy and Parenting which asks the question ‘what do you think about first time mothers who are in their 40s?’. Whilst it’s a fairly balanced discussion I was quite stunned by some of the criticisms of older mums.

  • Older mums are selfish because they are not thinking of the child, their own health or the higher risk of birth defects.
  • Older Mums don’t have enough energy for young children
  • Kids of older mums are too ‘mature’ because their mums don’t/can’t get down on the floor and play
  • Older mums are selfish because they have a greater chance of not being there for their kids as adults or – even worse – the kids might have to take care of the aging parent
  • Older mums are selfish because they put their career first and then give in to this ‘sudden need’ to have a child.

Wow! Some people really feel this way about older mums! I would say that they clearly don’t know many.

Women that become mums when they are older seldom plan it that way. Some, like me, just don’t meet and settle down with the right partner until they are older. Some try to get pregnant but do not have a successful pregnancy until they are older. And, yes, some chose to wait until they are older and more secure financially and I’m sure there are the few that just feel that biological clock ticking and go for it. I would say each and every one of them DOES think about what they are doing – very carefully – as they have lost much of the impulsiveness of youth.

On the subject of energy. I have days where I have little energy and days where I’m full of energy. I remember feeling that way when I was younger too. I would say that 50 sounds really OLD until you get there. I personally do not feel OLD – I work out, I play with my kids, we have fun. I certainly got down on the floor and played with my kids when they were younger. I’m sure there are some older mums that don’t but I’ve also know younger mums who just sit around watching their kids play.

As for the subject of not being around for your kids as adults. Well I say pooey to you! None of us know when illness and death may strike. In general people live longer healthier lives these days so there’s a good chance I’ll be around for 30/40 more years for my kids. On the other hand my Dad died from brain cancer at the age of 61 having been very fit and healthy up until that point. You just never know what’s in the stars for you.

I guess the point of my post is not really to put the case for older mums. I say whatever works best for each person is okay by me. But to those that see us as wrong for being older mums PLEASE don’t tar us all with the same brush and see that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mums of all ages.

Have you ever felt affected by some people’s view of you? Or have you faced the stigma of a different stereotype at all? Do you think it’s okay to be an older mum or are some mums just pushing it too far nowadays?

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Comments
  1. Hip Hip Hooray! I had my daughter at age 44. Now she is three and I certainly don’t think I am any less involved then younger parents. My husband and I often say if we were younger we never would have had as much patience!

    Most of my younger mom friends don’t even realize I’m that much older… until we talk about toys we had as kids or music from high school!

    Thanks for sharing the older mom perspective so eloquently!

    • Thanks for commenting! I personally feel that older mums have a lot to offer – though I would never knock younger mums either. I’d agree that most of my friends don’t realize I’m so much older either as my girls keep me young.

  2. Jean Bentley says:

    The best time to become a mom is when you’re ready. I’m with you, the folks that made those comments about older moms, probably don’t know any.

  3. Jen Sako says:

    Very good! I had my son when I was 35. I was labeled “at risk,” and had to see a perinatologist. After a couple of visits, he said that I looked no different than someone 10-years younger and didn’t have to come back. Other than that, my pregnancy was normal. As far as raising my little one, I wish I had more energy, but so does every other mother I talk to! Kids have limitless energy and I have seen them run teenagers ragged. I know we are not selfish simply because we waited for the right time to be exactly the kind of mothers we need to be–happy, secure and READY.

  4. I don’t even know where to start, so, I just will. I am sorry you didn’t put the sources of the comments about older Moms. Are they academic studies? Are they frustrated women who can’t/won’t have children? Are they older Moms commenting on their own experience?

    Without more information, I discount them all. Enjoy your daughters. Our children and grandchildren have the power to reconnect us with Now [Eckhart Tolle’s Now]. That’s a good thing.

    • Thanks for your comment. The sources of the comments are all in the link to the discussion that I did post. I didn’t have room to single each comment out. They appear to be younger mums who think they are doing it the right way. But thanks for saying and I do enjoy my daughters very much.

  5. KathyAlice says:

    What older Mom’s may lack in physical energy they make up in wisdom and financial resources. As a young Mom I had to work fulltime while raising my son, my friends who were older had the financial resources to spend more time with their kids and less at work.

    I will say that being a younger mom was lonely. None of my peers could relate to the trials of teenager-dom, their five year olds were the apple of their eye and they couldn’t conceive of their cherished one skipping school or setting TVs on fire.

    • Hi Kathy, thanks for commenting from another perspective. I think there are pluses and minuses to both but I was stunned at the comments about how selfish we are and that we are too old to get down on the floor and play – so not true.

  6. Donna McCord says:

    This is a subject very close to my heart. I did not have children in my first marriage of 10 years, (and not because we didn’t try!); my current marriage happened when we were both 40 years old, and I honestly thought I was beyond my child bearing years, but God blessed us with a beautiful daughter when I was 41! She is now almost 21 years old and a total joy! I completely agree with you that to make general judgments about people is such a mistake — it’s really all about love and how you bathe your child in that love 24/7, how being a mom is about relationship and responsibility and commitment. Looking back on myself and how I was in my 20’s versus how I am now, I see the wisdom in God’s timing!

    • Thanks Donna for adding to my point that there are a multitude of reasons why people become older mums and I agree that these things usually work out exactly how they are supposed to.

  7. Interesting… Here I’m a “younger mum” (I had my daughters at 27, 29 & 31) and I’ve always felt like the other moms in the playgroups who were 10 years my senior (and thus the same age as you having your kids) *looked down upon me* for not waiting till I was older to have children. It’s all about perspective!

    • Oh how funny Caitlin (well not funny about being looked down on) – I wouldn’t think 27 was very young at all! I might take a second look at a teen mum – or maybe not as that’s really common in Utah. Thanks for putting your perspective.

  8. Louise, I find that so many posts/comments on discussion boards can steer towards the negative and judgemental… I still haven’t figured that one out….
    Another commenter said,something like, when you are ready to have a child, you will have a child. And who is say what the “right” age is, except you & your body?
    I made a conscious decision not to have children, and I experience a great amount of judgement from that choice (and not positive judgement!). It’s interesting how others want to impose their opinion/judgment, when they don’t know the full story…
    Motherhood (and age of motherhood) aside, you are an inspiration, Louise! I love your jest for life, and you project such joy! Very refreshing (and Atti gives you a paws up, too!)

    • You’re right about discussion boards and I don’t generally pay that much attention but it just inspired me to write the post. I have many friends who have chosen not have children and yes, they have received very judgemental comments too. I don’t and will never understand why people feel the right to comment on people’s personal choices whether they know the full story or not. Thanks for your kind words also about me Heidi – I do have my down days but always try and turn those around nowadays – it’s much nicer being happy and positive. 🙂

  9. Dear Louise, I dont know why the world is filled with people who have opinions about things they have never experienced! The only thing I have ever read about older mums ( and I am one) is that they have a lot more patience than younger mums. And that is probably true up to a point, but your general point is well taken. Stereotypes are not real. What one is, is what one is. It has nothing to do with age, it has to do with attitude. I like your attitude Louise. I love feisty opinionated women, who are willing to get on the floor!

  10. So much comes to mind as I read your post and comments. I guess i fall in the middle as I was 30 and 33 when I had my daughters (it seems we all have daughters.) I think one of the reasons discussions like the one that caught your eye go awry is that many times people are looking for validation of their own decisions or situation and if faced with a contrary choice, feel the only way to continue to validate their own is to tear it down.

    Kudos to every mother that teaches her children to express their opinions AND graciously accept the opinions of others.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • I think you’re right Darcie. I try really hard not to judge other people’s choices and am trying to teach my daughters to do the same, yet to still be able to have an opinion – it’s a tough one. Thanks so much for commenting.

  11. OMG. Anyone who writes things like those comments don’t know the “older” moms I know. My “older mom” friends have more energy than some of the younger ones …

    The judging and bashing that happens to women by other women never ceases to amaze me. There is nothing wrong with getting your career going first. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be financially secure before having kids. Who decided that people who don’t meet the one until later in life shouldn’t have kids? Who Decided that one decision is any more right than another?

    The bottom line, you do what’s best for you and your family and if other people don’t like it, ignore them. It’s not your problem.

  12. Ron Britton says:

    Hi Louise, Great blog post. You touched on a big one here, the perception we each hold of our believed perception of us by others. Society puts such huge pressures on us via the marketing media, news, movies, and TV shows. It is not easy to listen to our own inner-selves with everyone and everything shouting at us. I am impress though with the comments so far on this post. Darn good consensus that one should listen to their body and their own individual situation to make a decision as special as becoming a mother.

    Thank you Louise!

    -Ron-
    Follow the Quest – MyWisdomQuest.com

    • Thanks for commenting Ron. Yes, I’m pretty good at listening to my own self and body and doing the right thing for me – I’m sometimes caught short by the opinions of others though as I walk around blissfully unaware that people might really feel that way most of the time.

  13. Irene Turner says:

    Don’t even get me started on the topic of others perspectives of me! I too don’t feel 53…and while I wasn’t lucky enough to meet my partner in time to have a child, and to fearful to have a child on my own, so, I’ve never had children…and I’m sad about that. I too say, it’s not the age, but the attitude and for everyone it is different. I have very close friends who were young parents, and those my age with children under 5…they all love their experience and are happy with their decision. While I can’t go back and have the children I always thought I would have, I am VERY happy to say…I lucked out in marrying a man with two older boys, and I am a Grandmother to a beautiful grand daughter age 10 months! NOW…don’t get me started on how I don’t even feel like a grandmother! But I do love being around this child and love her with all my heart and soul, and she knows it! So you go girl and forget anyone else’s opinion…so there!

  14. Wow- those comments blew me away. How many young moms do we know who don’t have the patience or caring to take care of their kids, but give them 10 or 15 years and they would have been excellent parents. Yet, at the same time, there are great moms at age 18 and great moms at age 44. Other than the biological issue, I don’t think that anyone can dictate when the “right” time is to have their children (or to even HAVE to have kids. We all need to be in the right place and time to take the responsibility to bring someone into this life. And it does take responsibility!

    As for medical issues, they can arise at any age. I got toxemia and my daughter was 3 months early (1 lb. 6 oz.). Even though I was 35, they said it had absolutely no connection to my age. My hospital roommate was 22 and had the exact same thing as me (although further along in her pregnacy). Same thing happened with my son, 3 years later (although with almost 5 months bed rest and hospitalization, he was only 1 month early and weighed a whopping 5 lbs!).

    But up to age 35, I just wasn’t interested or ready. Then it was the time! Had nothing to do with biological or whatever, it just was the right time. (And I often wonder if I wasn’t ready earlier because I had to be more mature to handle the difficult beginnings of my kids…) My kids are now 23 and 26, and I can look back and say, I would not have done it any differently.

    • Thanks Candace. I agree – while I always knew that I wanted kids I wasn’t ready until my late 30’s as I didn’t feel old enough – lol. I wouldn’t have it any other way either. Thanks for your comment.

  15. I’m a dad and was 39 when my son was born. Being older brings a completely different perspective and life experience. Thanks for pointing this out.

  16. […] this discussion on Pregnancy and Parenting suggested older mums do; and which inspired my blog post On Being An Older Mum. So, I thought I’d let you see a few photos of our trip to the hair […]

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