The times certainly are changing, with more and more women these days waiting until they reach a certain age before taking the plunge into motherhood. Statistics show that the average age at which an Australian woman has her first baby is 30.1 years, compared to ten years ago when the age was 28.6. Although this might not sound exactly like an elderly lady having a baby, the jump in this number is indicative of the bigger picture.
Regardless of the reason for having your baby in the later stages of life, whether it’s due to infertility issues or a shift in goals once you’ve established a career, there are now more women than ever reaping the benefits of being an older mother. So, what’s so great about waiting until you’re older to have your first bub, and how does it fare compared to younger mums?
What’s Classed As An Older Mother?
Back in the day, it seemed the norm was to start having babies in your early twenties and getting the whole motherhood thing out of the way early. However, in 2017 women seemed to have slowed down a bit and shifted their focus elsewhere.
An older mother in today’s society is usually classed as anywhere from 35 and over, as this is the age where there becomes more a risk physically to carry a child. However, there are plenty of women today who easily fall pregnant and give birth to beautiful babies well above that age, with Australia’s oldest woman to ever give birth being an impressive 61 years old.
The Benefits of Being An Older Mother
So, why are some women waiting and what are the benefits to be had from doing so? Here are just a few reasons why you might want to consider motherhood at a later stage in life, keeping in mind they might not apply to everyone:
Developmental benefits for your child
Numerous studies have been done on the children of older mothers and found that across the board they usually perform better academically than those born to younger mothers.
If you’ve spent the early years of your adult life devoted to a career, you might find it easier to walk away for maternity leave knowing that you’ll be able to return at any time and find no difference. Although there are numerous laws in place, many mothers may still feel that they’re treated differently when returning to work after having a baby. With a more established career, this might be less of a worry.
Better financial situation
Having a child when you’re older might be helpful for some older mothers, as you are more likely to have your finances in order.
Fulfilled feeling about life
An older mother may feel a sense of satisfaction about what she’s already achieved in life in terms of travel, partying, and work, and might be less likely to feel she’s missing out on anything.
Older mothers live longer
According to a study in Menopause Journal, mothers who had their last child after the age of 33 were likely to live to 95 and older.
Why Some Women Don’t Want to Wait
Although there are plenty of benefits in waiting until you’re older, younger mothers experience their own advantages as well. Devoting your younger years to having babies and raising children leaves some women with free time once they reach their thirties, and feel they’re able to fully appreciate that time.
Some women have already established a career for themselves and are happy to take some time off. Others would rather raise a family while they’re young and healthy. The rest just simply don’t want to wait to make their own family. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of benefits to be found for mothers of all ages, as well as the added bonus of getting a precious bundle of joy to call your own, regardless of your age.
Your Motherhood Journey Needs to Suit You
No matter what age you were when you decided to start your family, or whether you’re still waiting for the right time, it’s a totally personal and private decision that can only be made by you. The truth is, many mothers claim that you can never really be ready for becoming a mum, so it’s all about a choosing a time that feels right for you.
While there are certainly pros and cons to being an older mother, only you will know whether it’s a smart decision. Babies can have such a huge impact on our lives, usually for the better, so it’s a personal choice that all mums have to make.
For more articles and news about the trends in motherhood and parenting, we invite your to explore more of the Peachymama blog.