Moms in their 40s are rockin’ it! So why is the medical fraternity lagging so far behind the times?
It really is time to say “cease and desist” to the medical community for the framing of mothers from 35 onwards as ‘old’. The use of archaic terms like ‘Geriatric Pregnancy’ and ‘Advanced Maternal Age’ is so offensive.
And here’s something else you might see on your file if you are 35 or older having your second or more pregnancy … ‘Elderly Multigravida’.
And if you are over 35 and it’s your first child, well, of course, that makes you an Elderly Primigravida’!
Seriously, who comes up with these terms?
This is one mother’s hilarious response after seeing ‘Elderly Multigravida’ on her file:
“Hello Ms. Smith! I see here we are facing a geriatric pregnancy. Oooh, and it’s an elderly multigravida. Before we begin finding the right tools to enter your archaic vag, can you tell me where you found sperm brave enough to enter your withering cavern? (Maria Guido)
As Maria says, in every other scenario, ‘geriatric’ refers to people 65 and over. “So who in the actual hell thought this was a good idea?”
Good question Maria!
Language does matter and whilst we can laugh with Maria at her hilarious turn of phrase, language can hurt. This is especially so when a woman is feeling hormonal and vulnerable!
Another mom states that when a doctor had the gall to call her a ‘geriatric mother’, she wanted to “punch him in his kidney.”
So let’s ditch the medical scenario and it’s ‘geriatric’, ‘high risk’ speak and move on to the wonderful ways in which moms are rocking it at 40 plus.
#1 On Having Lived!
As a midlife 40s (or 50s) mom, you have life experience and most likely built a career or business prior to having your baby.
You may have travelled, lived overseas or moved interstate and are worldly-wise. You’ve done your partying and are ready to settle down!
You have been through enough ups and downs, losses and gains, to have a better sense of who you are. You are confident in your own decision making.
This is reflected in your parenting style. You’ve read parenting books, visited blogs and have a clear idea of the kind of parent you intend to be and the knowledge to back it up.
You love your child beyond words and are full of gratitude that you have been blessed with this wondrous gift.
You are exactly where you want to be and you are bringing it!
#2 On Relationships
As a midlife mother, you are quite possibly in a long-term stable marriage or relationship. Over time you’ve dealt with the issues that arise to challenge most relationships and together you’re in a great place to raise a child.
However, for many 40s moms, it has taken a long time to find ‘the one’ – the person you want to have a baby with. Possibly this is a relationship after a previous divorce or breakup. In some instances, your partner is younger and loving being a first-time father.
Furthermore, you most likely have family members and friends around who are settled and on hand to support you and the baby when needed.
You’re providing a solid foundation and a caring environment in which your child can thrive.
“Age is just a number and you know your body best. Maintain a healthy recognition and respect for your provider’s knowledge and balance that with knowing your rights as a patient and your goals for your ideal birth.”
#3 On Being Healthy & Active
There are countless research studies that demonstrate that socioeconomic status is linked to a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits. Those of you who can afford to live a healthy lifestyle may well shop every week at the markets and the organic food store, although much more expensive than the local supermarket! It’s not hard to see how health outcomes are often tied to how much money you have in the bank!
You are very aware of the importance of eating food that is fresh and nutritious. And you take great pride in preparing your own healthy, homemade meals for your child once he or she hits ‘solids’.
You stay physically fit through walking, cleaning, lifting, carrying and, once your baby is walking, chasing!
One mum says that being an older mother “gives you a deeper appreciation of your body, as well as a deeper desire to preserve it.” As she says, you want to “be around for the long haul.”
Another mother says that despite the sleep deprivation, constant worrying, and creaky knee issues, “miraculously becoming a mother in your 40s can make you feel younger than you are.”
A 42-year-old mom says that being around younger mothers with kids her child’s age reminds her “how to have fun and see life through a different lens.”
Furthermore, a study by Birkbeck University and the University of London found that the children of mothers around about 40 tend to be in better physical condition. Furthermore, they have a lower risk of unintentional injury than children of women of 20.
This is because the children tend to receive more attention from their mothers, which is a huge bonus for kids of older mums.
It’s a win-win – younger feeling mums and healthy, fit kids!
#4 On Being The ‘Cool’ Disciplinarian
When it comes to the best age for motherhood, research is starting to show that the idea that ‘younger is better’ ain’t necessarily so!
In two research studies, one in Denmark and one in the UK, it was found that as an older mother you are more chilled when it comes to disciplining your kids. You are less inclined to resort to scolding or physical punishment.
This is because mental flexibility and tolerance tend to come with age and psychological maturity. You have the ability to be more tolerant of your child’s behaviour when she or he becomes overstimulated and emotional (code for throws a ‘tanty’!).
From the outset, you believed in strengthening your parent-baby connection and making your baby feel happy and secure. Your goal is to create an environment that is physically safe, emotionally nurturing and challenging to your child’s evolving brain.
You may have read Connection Parenting (2007) or The Conscious Parent (2010), The Other Baby Book (2012), Parental Guidance Recommended: How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children (2014) and No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame (2014). You may visit Janet Lansbury’s Instagram account and listen to her podcasts!
You’re a cool and (mostly) laidback mama!
#5 On Quality Time
Children of 40s moms benefit from the quality time they receive from mothers who can afford to be home with them when they are younger.
One mother, pregnant at 40, says that when she was in her 30s she wanted to be at the best parties and opening and wasn’t ready for a baby. But now she is older she says “I am much more grounded. I can enjoy spending time with my son more.”
Another 40s mom states that having her daughter has completely changed her. Her whole world revolves around her daughter and she says, “I feel empowered more than anything. I feel more comfortable in myself.”
You may have the time and money to accompany your child to early swimming, dancing or sports classes, and the means to take your child or children on regular outings and holidays. These experiences create happy memories in the process.
Those of you who, for whatever reason, do not have the disposable income to spend on extra-curricula classes or expensive holidays, still know the importance and value of spending quality time with your child. You know that by doing so you are providing them with a sense of being valued and appreciated for who they are.
Older moms enjoy being there for their kids.
#6 On Educational Advantages
A Swedish study noted that children of older parents tend to be more educated, growing up understanding more advanced levels of technology. In other words, their kids benefit from all the current technological innovations that would not have existed had their parents had their ’40s’ child in their twenties or even early thirties.
As an older mom, you are likely to have more books in the home and reading and constructive play are encouraged. You have expectations that your child will do well academically, indirectly providing a positive influence on your child’s development. Your child is more likely to go on and get good grades at school and go to university.
Good on ya mum (and dad)!
#7 On Gratitude
Amazingly, gratitude improves your heart health and the quality and duration of your sleep?
And gratitude is something that older mothers have in spades!
Cindy (47 with daughter 15 months) says “I am utterly grateful for the amazing, profound experience of being an older mom.” Cindy
Caren (mom at 46) states “I’m thankful I finally realized how much I wanted a child. And I’m grateful to modern science for helping me to have one.” Caren
Carolyn (53, son 6 years old) “For me, “after 40″ was the best possible place for motherhood to begin. I’m mature, settled, and have TIME to spend with him, and for that I am ever so grateful!” Carolyn
Another mother, speaking about being patient as an older mother, stated that one of the reasons is that she is so grateful. This is because she is very aware of how lucky she was to have a child at 40.
You feel blessed having your 40s baby.
#8 On Financial Security
If you (and possibly a partner) have spent the past decade or more building and consolidating a career, profession, vocation or business, you are now most likely in a secure position financially. You are able to support the considerable expense of raising a child.
Alternatively, you may be a mother who has chosen not to have a partner, possibly adopting as a sole parent. You will have made sure that you have stable finances and are in a position to support your child yourself before taking such a life-changing step.
Some of you may wish to return relatively soon to your business or career after the birth of your baby, but it is probably not essential from a financial standpoint.
On the other hand, many of you are most likely in the position where you can stay home with your child as long as you choose to do so.
However, not everyone is so fortunate. Shit happens and life circumstances can change or bring challenges.
Sarah (a baby at 45) resigned from her full professorship to be home with her three children full-time and her partner. It was everything she wished for but was not sustainable as she was living off savings.
She states “ I don’t ever want to say goodbye to this life design. I hope to discover a way to support myself without compromising my mothering.” Sarah
Hats off to all the 40s moms who have built a secure financial future for themselves and their 40s baby.
And hats off to all midlife moms who face the daily challenge of being there for their child and balancing the budget.
#9 On Living Longer
It’s good news!
Research (Portugal’s Coimbra University, University of California) has found that if you have your baby later in life, you are more likely to live longer than if you gave birth in your teens and twenties.
In fact, the older you get, and especially if it is your first child, the longer you are likely to live.
One study published in the Journal Menopause found that women who had the natural ability to bear children past the age of 33, were twice as likely to live to the ripe old age of 95 and older!
However, there’s a catch, this only applied to women who had three children or less!
No one really knows why, but it’s possible this longevity has something to do with genes and the ability to afford a healthier lifestyle which, as discussed above, links into being of higher social and economic status.
Another study suggests it comes down to the length of telomeres, the essential parts of human cells that affect how our cells age.
Whatever the reason …
Rock on Mama!
It’s clear to see from the above that there are so many advantages and benefits to being an older 40s mom, both for the child and for mom!
What do you think?