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Older mums - what age is too old ?

(110 Posts)
Tillyboo Wed 26-Jul-06 17:39:59

In light of the recent news about a 62 year old giving birth, I wondered what others opinions are of older mums.
62 is excessive as far as I am concerned (for lots of reasons) but at what age do the majority think it's still safe, fair, socially acceptable etc to have a baby ?
I had my dd at the age of 40 and although it's been physically tough sometimes, I don't feel there has been a lot of difference between myself and mums that are a lot younger. In fact in a lot of ways I am better off.
Obviously you have to take each person on an individual basis but would like to hear other people's general views.

suejonez Wed 26-Jul-06 17:43:42

My own preference is to have any children through university (if they choose to go) prior to me retiring at 65. So working backwards, that would put my own "end-date" as 44.

I don't have a particular issue with women over 44 getting pregnant, its more of a practical/financial issue for me (spot the accountant!)

shhhh Wed 26-Jul-06 18:31:19

Individual choice but personally I wouldn't want to have children any later than 35-40. Obviously there are also many factors as to why women have children later ie mc's/ ivf etc.

The way I look at it is that I wouldn't want my children to see me as "old" when they got to an age where they realised about age iykwim.

If the child was 16 and I'd had them aged 45 (for example)then I would then be 61. I just think of comments they would get at school etc and also that I doubt I would be as fit then as I would have been now aged 27.
I would also love to have grandchildren and to be able to interact with them as my parents do with my dd. Again if aged 45 at childbirth I would probably be between 61-65 (min) before gc came along..

All personal choice though.

Elibean Wed 26-Jul-06 21:18:07

Difficult one for me, this. I met dh at 34, but then had health issues (physical, which prevented me ttc for a few years), then strings of miscarriages, then fertility treatment. I finally had dd1 aged 43, and am now - to my ongoing amazement - expecting dd2. I was 45 when she was conceived, am 46 now.

Some days, I DO feel 'too old' partly because its tiring being pregnant at 46 with a toddler, but sadly also because of what I think other people might think. Though I've encountered no judgement, at least to my face. And yes, I worry about how both dds might feel in their teens - not because of social stigma (SO many kids are embarrassed by their parents, and SO many kids learn to live with much greater differences than older parents, and learn tolerance) but because of our lesser energy levels.

On the other hand, I had no choice - it would have been wonderful to have had, I'd love to have been five years younger for both and I still get waves of grief for all the frustratingly 'lost' years we could have been parents.

Perhaps I wouldn't have gone ahead if I hadn't known I could have some part time help, that we are financially secure, that my dh is a very hands-on Dad, and that several of my friends have had children in their forties and are thriving. That the dds will have several cousins their age, and a few twenty years older to bridge the generation gap. Oh, and that my grandmother is still alive and sharp at 99, the other one made it to 96, and both my parents are healthy and very much alive: I'm hopeful on the longevity front!

Oooooh, I don't know, ask me in ten, fifteen, twenty years time....

nicnack2 Wed 26-Jul-06 21:35:01

i am 36 and i have ds1 whose 3 and ds2 whose 5 months. i married at 32 dh is 46. i thought that after ds2 i would not want anymore and i did think that but now i am thinking wel maybe another one. i didnt have any cousins and neither do my two and i would lke them to have a big family. dh would not say no but i am concerned about his age and mine. i did always say 36 now i think 38. i think it is difficult and i have been very lucky that i concieved naturally and easily

eidsvold Wed 26-Jul-06 22:26:35

i did not meet my wonderful dh until I was 33 and had my first dd just prior to turning 34. Had dd2 just after turning 36. A friend of mine did not start her family until she was 39. I guess it is what is right for you and your circumstances. I would have liked to have had my children earlier - only so it meant I could have had the 4 I wanted. But life doesn't always go as we would like.

bluecheesefadgewash Wed 26-Jul-06 22:28:26

i had my second and last at 34. and i wish i'd started younger.

nooka Wed 26-Jul-06 22:37:38

My parent's ex-next door neighbour had a (surprise) baby at 56. Although she was delighted, it certainly took a big toll on her physically. Her partner was 20 years younger, so I don't think the old parent thing was such an issue, but she had breast cancer and fairly severe arthritis within 5 years of having him, which were probably related to having such a late menopause baby. I have several friends who have had babies in their 40's, and it is harder work I think (easier to miss sleep etc when you are younger), but then you also tend to have more resources (support networks, maturity, money etc) when you are a little older.

Elibean Wed 26-Jul-06 23:32:57

Generally speaking....its probably safe to assume that those of us who have our babies older don't do so by choice.

I'm sure there are exceptions, but out of my several friends over 40 with babes, toddlers, or pregnant - none of us 'chose to wait'. None.

And to be honest, if anyone had asked me at 34 what I thought was 'too old' I'd have said '38' just is'nt that plannable though...

Elibean Wed 26-Jul-06 23:33:50

obviously, we DO have them by choice - just haven't had the choice of having them earlier!

Elibean Wed 26-Jul-06 23:37:31

And the appreciation when they do eventually arrive, if they ever do, is immeasureable....

kittywits Thu 27-Jul-06 07:16:11

I'm 38, 39 this year and am 6 weeks preg with no 6. Started when I was 30, have had several miscarriages in between them all. I am tired, but I don't know how much that has to do with the sheer number of young kids around!

wools Thu 27-Jul-06 10:08:46

I'm due my third baby in October and I am aged 42. My first ds was born at age 39 and second at 41. I echo what Elibean has said, probably most of us older mums would have liked our children earlier but for one reason or another it hasn;t happened that way. I for one am very grateful that I am able to have children albeit slightly later than most.

DogMum Thu 27-Jul-06 11:03:09

I agree that later births are usually not through choice. I'll still be 39 (just) when my first is born in October. I didn't leave it late, my body just decided to become fertile now when it never has before. Having said that, I appreciate it more now than I would have in my late 20s/early 30s. Also, my financial situation is easier and I'm in a happy stable relationship. I'm also much calmer now and I'm sure will be a better mum. Women of our age also often eat better, exercise more and drink less, so having a baby is not such a shock to the system.

Does anyone's life work out the way they plan? I guess we make the best of the hand we're dealt. I'm also really pleased that having a baby in your late 30s/early 40s is now 'normal.' I know people who did it years ago and stuck out like a sore thumb with all the teen/20s mums. (I don't think you have to be older to be a good mum, just that I'll be better at it now than I would have been ten years ago.)

suejonez Thu 27-Jul-06 11:25:37

I also wanted to add that women having babies into their 40's and even 50's is not a modern phenomenon.

Having FIRST babies then may be, but all of my grandparents were one of 6-8 children and their mothers kept having children until they reached the menopause. I don;t think that was considered to be anything other than normal. My youngest great aunt is two years older then my mother! The age gap between eldest and youngest child was often 20-25 years and none of my great-grandmothers started until they were in their mid 20's which would make them late 40's when they had the last.

suejonez Thu 27-Jul-06 11:43:35

What do you think Tillybean having heard a few responses?

Elibean Thu 27-Jul-06 14:02:07

suejonez, you're spot on: interestingly, no one seems shocked that I'm pregnant at all. The only surprised/shocked faces I've seen have been when people find out I only have one 2.7 year old other child.

I read an article recently about stats on older Mums: up until around 1900s, having kids in your late forties was not that rare. It became much rarer with the advent of birthcontrol and feminism, and the numbers of women having babies in their forties now are much the same as they were a hundred years ago. Not for the same reasons, mostly, though

southeastastra Thu 27-Jul-06 14:06:40

too old is when you feel too old!

SSSandy Thu 27-Jul-06 14:12:09

When does menopause set in generally (I know it differs of course) but approximately - in your fifties?

suejonez Thu 27-Jul-06 14:13:25

Min you, my great-grandmother (mother of 12) was apparently knackered by 50 and she still had about 6 at home then. Though the older ones did look after the younger ones so she wasn't exactly without help.

Elibean Thu 27-Jul-06 14:13:58

I think the average age for complete menopause is 50, or 51/2. My sister had hers at 40, suddenly - my mother in her mid 50s.

Elibean Thu 27-Jul-06 14:14:49

Mother of 12?!? Entitled to knackered-dom, methinks! At any age.

suejonez Thu 27-Jul-06 14:15:00

average age is 51 apparently

SSSandy Thu 27-Jul-06 14:16:20

oh thanks. Didn't know you could go through menopause as early as 40. I'll have to google around and find out more about it.

suejonez Thu 27-Jul-06 14:16:33

Yes 12! My grandmother was the eldest and her youngest sister was two years older than my mum.

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