My daughter was born a week before my birthday, and I tell her all the time that she’s the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten in my whole life. But while most women start having babies in their 20s or 30s, my daughter was born just as I was turning 42.
Having a child so late wasn’t necessarily intentional. My husband and I got married late (I was 37), and we wanted to wait a couple of years before we started trying to get pregnant. We were living in New York City and working jobs with long hours that involved travel, plus we wanted a little more time for the two of us to do things alone. Looking back, I do regret waiting because I believe I seriously jeopardized my chance to have a child. Once we started trying, it was not easy. I went to fertility specialists and, yes, faced the very real possibility that I would never become pregnant. I get so emotional when I think of how worried I was back then and how close I probably was to never conceiving. It is very distressing for me to relive it and is a place in my mind that I don’t like to go.
But it is also why I love my daughter so much and value my relationship with her. My number one priority is staying healthy so I can care for her and keep working for her financial security. My daughter is very accepting of me as an older mom, but I try not to make a big deal out of it. She sees that I don’t let my age hold me back from anything, so I don’t think it is an issue for her. It may have more of an impact as she grows older, but only if I get sick or can’t keep doing the things I am doing now. But for now, even though I know I am probably one of the oldest—if not the oldest—parent in her class and probably the whole school, I purposely work out almost every day, practice and teach yoga, and I try to stay healthy because I don’t want to embarrass her by looking old enough to be her grandma (she’s 10, so I am 52 now).
As for my daughter’s actual grandparents, that is one the drawbacks of me having her later in life. My parents are still alive and healthy, but they are older and not quite as able to do as many things with her, and they may not get to see as many milestones in her life. I also have financial concerns since I know I will pass my peak earning period sooner than other moms because of when I had her. Finally, my daughter will not have any siblings—at least not the conventional way, because of my age.
Despite all of the negative aspects of having my daughter in my 40s, I love that I had her later because I am more mature and confident in myself and my parenting abilities, and I was able to do many things that I dreamed of doing—like traveling and living independently—before I had her.
To younger mothers who didn’t wait as long as I did before having children, I would say to exercise patience with your child, and don’t yell at them. Raise your voice, reprimand them, discipline them, yes, but don’t yell at them, and don’t use foul language in front of them. I would also say not to overload them with materialism. I see a lot of that in 20- and 30-something parents because they buy, buy, buy and want, want, want—often because they were given too much as children. We all want stuff, and I love to shop as much as anyone else, but you must say no to your child or she will become a spoiled, self-entitled brat. I see that a lot!
Sometimes it is weird when I’m with my daughter’s friends’ moms because I am usually so much older, and we don’t have as much in common because of the age difference. When other moms find out how old I am, they are pretty surprised and sometimes shocked. I look quite a bit younger than I am, and I also have a young attitude, so I rarely think that I can’t or shouldn’t do something because of my age. But when I think about it, I think that is pretty widespread among baby boomers—of which I am one!
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