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"It's not fair on your kids if you get pregnant in your 40s"

(88 Posts)
ElspethFlashman Sat 16-Jul-16 10:18:22

Can I just say this annoys me a lot?

I hear it in every conversation about older parents. There are actually 2 sides to this argument - that having older parents mean you are free of certain responsibilities at a younger age.

I had older parents. They just met late. They were in their 50s before I went to secondary school. Back then that was highly unusual.

I spent most of my 20s and 30s taking care of them and in and out of hospital. They died in my mid & late thirties. It wasn't easy - god no. It was a terrible burden. One I'm glad is behind me. I started a family and my parents will never know their grandchildren. It's sad of course.

But would that burden have been any less when I was 55? Or even 65? No.

I would just have been older and more shattered. And perhaps more resentful. My neighbour was taking care of "Mummy" up to her 60s. Filling in the gaps of the home helps and Meals on Wheels. All the hospital/GP appointments. All the maintenance on the mums home. She was exhausted. And Mummy was as demanding as old people are.

AIBU to think that if you are going to be saddled with the burden of care for older parents, then maybe there is something to be said for being free of that burden at a younger age?

Yes there are plenty who put their parents in a nursing home - but that's not easy either. The visits and the worry and the emotional pressure. It's never enough.

So AIBU to please stop using this as a stick to beat those who get pregnant later in life? "Your kids won't thank you for it". It's far too simplistic.

I'm grateful that the only people I have to worry about for the rest of my life are my kids. Sometimes I look at friends my age (40s) whose parents are showing the very first signs of not actually being immortal, and I wouldn't swap places with them for anything.

DeathStare Sat 16-Jul-16 10:22:07

I agree with you. Unfortunately our society uses many sticks to beat parents, especially mums....
If you're an older mum you're wrong
If you're a young mum you're wrong
If you're a single mum you're wrong
If you're a working mum you're wrong
If you're a sahm you're wrong
If you have many children you're wrong
If you have an only child you're wrong

We all need to stop being so judgemental of other people's parenting decisions

UntilTheCowsComeHome Sat 16-Jul-16 10:24:34

^ this absolutely

NeedACleverNN Sat 16-Jul-16 10:24:38

My mum had a surprise pregnancy almost 4 years ago

She is 46. My little brother is 6 months older than my oldest child.

She loves him to bits but admits some days it's so hard because she should be enjoying her grandchildren, not being a parent again.

But then he wasn't planned. He was unexpected. Anyone who chooses to have a child in their 40's, it's their choice. They are usually more stable in life too

ElspethFlashman Sat 16-Jul-16 10:29:11

Yes one lovely thing about my Dad being older is that he was at home a lot. He was still working whilst I was at school, but definitely working as little hours as possible. He was always around when I needed him and we were very good pals as I was growing up.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Sat 16-Jul-16 10:31:04

she should be enjoying her grandchildren

No, she "shouldn't". There is no 'should' about how you live your own life: there are just things that happen. Some we control and some we don't.

Not all parents grow old anyway.

gallicgirl Sat 16-Jul-16 10:31:56

I had my kids at 36 and 40 and I think i'm a much better parent for them because I was a bit older. More patience, more confident, got all my life experience out of the way so not much resentment that we don't get out much! Also better able to support them educationally.

But that's just my choice. We're all the best parent we can be at the time.

alltouchedout Sat 16-Jul-16 10:33:36

Oh, we've all done it wrong OP, didn't you know? It was wrong of me to have my first at 24 without an established career. Wrong to have my third at 33 knowing I'd have to go back to work FT when he was still very little. I'm terrible for not being a sahm, would be terrible if I was a sahm as I wouldn't be teaching my dc the value of paid work and wouldn't be contributing to society. Whatever you do someone will think it's wrong.

I have to admit people having fertility treatments to conceive in their 50s and 60s make me judgey though.

goddessoftheharvest Sat 16-Jul-16 10:39:01

I couldn't give a shit anymore about what age anyone has kids at. For all the sweeping generalisations, you always have someone who proves otherwise, be it the teenage mother who goes to university and gets a great job, or the older mum who ends up a hale and hearty 90 year old, trekking through Peru whilst those younger drop like flies.

None of it really matters. I think the most important thing is evaluating a situation and taking steps to minimise the potential downsides, then go in with your eyes open

Mummymoanasaurus Sat 16-Jul-16 10:39:49

People can die or get ill at any age ! Some people have parents who couldn't care less about their grandchildren, you could go on and on, everyone's circumstances are different. I have older children and young children, had my youngest mid 40's, they bring a new joy to all our lives. My take on life is just get on with what it throws at you and it has thrown me a few curve balls over the years.

Inshock73 Sat 16-Jul-16 10:40:14

I had my first baby at 42 and my second child is due this September, I'll be 43. I'm proud to be having my children in my 40's. I've lived a lot, I'm older, I'm wiser and I see my children as an absolute blessing. I'm in excellent health (thankfully!) and the consultant who looked after me during my last pregnancy said I'm in better shape than a lot of pregnant women in their 20's because I don;t take my health for granted and look after myself.

The stigma around having babies in your 40's is a relatively new thing and only started after contraception e.g. the pill became widely available in the 1960's, before then it was common for women to have babies up until the menopause, just as it was common to have lots of children because it wasn't so easy to control your fertility.

I couldn't give a monkeys what people think of me having children in my 40's . Having children young doesn't guarantee you'll be around for longer or less of a 'burden' on them, I have school friends whose parents died in their 50's/60's.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Sat 16-Jul-16 10:40:49

To be honest, anyone who expresses the sort of view the OP mentions tends to have a pretty narrow world view so I wouldn't worry about it.

maras2 Sat 16-Jul-16 10:42:31

DH and I are in our mid 60's now.When we were kids (Childhood sweethearts) both of our mums had late pregnancies ie. at age 45,as did many women from our socio economic group of the time.As told to us later, both his younger brother,by 16 years,and mine,by 9years were peri-menopausal babies,very common in the pre pill era.Anyhow no one seemed too bothered by these little surprises and if they were they had the good manners to keep schtum.< I may be wearing rose tinted glasses as our little brother's were a delight to us when we were younger and continue to be so now they are in their early fifties > smile

Inshock73 Sat 16-Jul-16 10:43:57

Just as a footnote, I don't judge the teenage mums either! I do advise my teenage nieces to wait until they're older but that's because time is on their side and there's a lot to experience in life and now I have children myself it is all consuming and hard work and I am of the opinion be as free as a bird as long as you can because you can't change your mind and give back the children once you've got them smile

RandomMess Sat 16-Jul-16 10:57:45

I don't think there is a right or a wrong (no judgement) but if you are planning to have more DC in your mid to late 40's I think it is right/good/sensible to consider the future implications of being older parents and what that could mean. It can be as simple as building a network of "younger" adults around your DC and planning financially in case you do need long term caring due to ill health etc.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Sat 16-Jul-16 11:03:01

I think all parents should carefully consider that they could die at any time and have a plan in place. Not morbidly but it happens!

Laiste Sat 16-Jul-16 11:04:44

You could go under a bus or die of a serious illness at any age. So YANBU OP. It's a fact of life that your parents are going to die at some point. You could argue round in circles all day about when the best time for that is.

Plus i've yet to meet anyone who actually wished they'd never been born (due to the age of their parents).

SirChenjin Sat 16-Jul-16 11:07:56

she should be enjoying her grandchildren

Grandchildren at 46???? God no - that's far too young!

As pp's have said, the 'stigma' (if indeed there is one, I know plenty of women who have babies in their forties) is quite a recent thing. Up until the pill 'surprises' at that age was very common. I agree that you're more 'likely' to have a shorter time with your parents if they have you later in life, but the most important things (imo) to bring to parenthood is love, stability, encouragement, confidence and good moral guidance.

BigDamnNCFail Sat 16-Jul-16 11:10:47

My parents had me and my brother when my mum was in her early 20s and my dad his mid-late 20s. Then, a decade later they had an 'accident' wink and decided rather than have her (my sister) be basically an only child once me and my brother left home, they'd have another. So, they were 30s when they had my sisters.

I think there were advantages and disadvantages to both.

With me and my brother they did have a bit more energy. My mum always made us elaborate birthday cakes and did loads of arts and crafts etc. with us. I always thought of her as a 'cool, young mum' and my dad was very hands on compared to my friends' older dads.

With my sisters, they were more financially secure and could afford more in terms of both stuff and activities. They had mellowed a bit and my mum had childcare qualifications so they didn't smack my sisters, which had been standard discipline when I was little.

Me and my brother got their excitement at being parents for the first time and had the benefit of them being full of energy.

My sisters got their experience and financial security.

Swings and roundabouts.

justpeachy74 Sat 16-Jul-16 11:12:35

I'm glad I read your post Elspeth. My parents were both older and had both passed away by my mid-thirties. My mum met my eldest dc which I'm glad about. I'm an older parent now myself and feel it was right for us to wait in terms of our 'readiness' even though dh & I have been together for years.
I miss my parents terribly still and I am sad that my dcs have only 1 GP but your point about not having the 'burden' of care for ageing parents makes sense. Also my oh's DF passed away relatively young and wasn't an older parent so you just don't know.

handslikecowstits Sat 16-Jul-16 11:18:01

Isn't this part of being a woman? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

echt Sat 16-Jul-16 11:19:06

My DH's mum had him at 40. She became grandmother at 80. She was overjoyed and had a rich life with her granddaughter.

DH and I had our DD at 40, and now he's dead two weeks ago.
Did he let her down?? No, because it's the life that's been lived that matters.

Don't get the point about being spared looking after older parents as some sort of bonus. hmm

MarklahMarklah Sat 16-Jul-16 11:23:14

Deathstare is right.

I got tuts and mutters when I became pregnant at 41. I hadn't wanted children when in my 20's/early 30's and when I did, it took time. Several of my peers are grandparents now (mid/late 40's) or have 20 something children. I don't feel I've missed out.

RochelleGoyle Sat 16-Jul-16 11:24:41

I draw the line at Mick Jagger's age! But 40s? No issue.

NeedACleverNN Sat 16-Jul-16 11:24:44

Grandchildren at 46???? God no - that's far too young!

She was 18 when she had me. I am now 27 so yes I have children but yes 46 is young for gc

My sister also started early by having a child at 20. She has two children now.

Altogether my mum has 4 grandchildren and her own son

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