Becoming a parent at 42+ years old...

parentastic

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Jul 22, 2011
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Hello everyone,

I am wondering if some of you would share their experience about having a baby very late? My partner is 42 years old right now, and I am 38. Is it different from having a baby younger? What was different? What shall we expect? :unsure:

I know that a decade ago it would have been considered very late, if not too late, to have children for a woman, however it seems that nowadays it is happening later for more and more couples.
I am curious to hear what you think of this situation.

Be well,
Nicolas
 

MomoJA

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Feb 18, 2011
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I gave birth when I was 2 months away from my 43rd birthday. I had practically no problems. I was living abroad at the time, and my doctor, who was from Switzerland, did an ultrasound every month, not because of my age but because that's the way she did things.

On my last visit before I flew back to the US, she found that I had polyhydramnios - too much amniotic fluid. It's still too soon after routine measurements of amniotic fluid to know what that means, but aside from a couple of birth defects that some theorize it is associated with, it is often associated with diabetes. My child was also measuring large for gestational age, another sign of diabetes.

When I got back to the US, I was assigned a maternal fetal medicine doctor. This may have happened even without the polyhydramnios and large baby just because of my age. I was also overweight, though I actually lost weight during the pregnancy.

It turned out I had no diabetes. My child was not diabetic. She had no other issues either except that she had jaundice pretty bad and she continues to have asthma, but I think this might be that she was probably not as far along as we thought and was slightly premature. (I had set my due date based on me conceiving the night my husband returned from three months abroad. I was induced at 37.5 weeks based on my estimated due date, but I'm thinking it might have actually been 35.5 weeks because of a physical development of my child that I initially thought was just a very odd physical characteristic but which two weeks after birth was actually normal. And she has a "hairy" back.)

I never felt better than when I was pregnant. I should qualify this by saying that no woman in my family has morning sickness. But I felt that "pregnancy glow." I had more energy. I felt more balanced. I felt strong. And I was carrying around excess amniotic fluid and a large baby, so I looked like I was having triplets.

As an older parent, I am not as energetic as someone 10 or 20 years my junior. There are also the fears that I will not be around for my child as long as someone 10 or 20 years younger than I am would be. There is the problem that the parents of my daughter's peers are not my peers. We can't really relate. (I know there are a lot of women out there like me, but I haven't met them yet.)

Other than that, and your partner's particular health issues, and the greater possibility of there being chromosomal anomalies, there is nothing to stop you from having a child at that age. Not only are more and more woman doing so, but during my pregnancy, I found a paper, which I haven't been able to find since then, that put the median age of women giving birth in around 1910 or 1920 at 40. Think about that. How many women must have been giving birth older than that for 40 to be the median age. I'm not even sure I believe it, but I definitely found it, and lost it.

I wanted to add that my labor, while long due to being induced, was relatively easy and routine. I did have to have an episiotomy, but that had nothing to do with my age. My daughter was about an 8/9 on the Apgar rating, maybe a 7/9.

And, last, though I know I am biased, my feelings are reinforced regularly by daycare providers, camp counselors, and people who come into regular contact with my daughter, she is particularly smart, which is good because due to my age, in the back of my mind I felt she sort of had to be like Ceasar's wife.
 
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MomoJA

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Feb 18, 2011
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I also wanted to add that I was not actively trying to get pregnant. We were letting nature take its course, and after a year of that we had sort of given up on the idea of conceiving and were investigating adopting. I was actually getting all our ducks in a row to do this when I became pregnant.
 

mom2many

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Jul 3, 2008
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I had my first at 19 and my last at about 38. There is a huge difference in how I have parented. With my older ones I was a lot stricter and god forbid they got dirty ;). I had very clear cut ideas of how they should and would behave, who and what they would become and learned from them that parenting is not that "simple". With the younger set, I am a lot more patient then I ever was with the older set. I find I let the younger ones get away with a lot more then I ever would have the older ones. Not sure that it is a good thing or not I just am usually past the point of 'fighting' the younger ones at every corner.

My goals are still the same, how I am getting there is a lot different. I guess you could say my house is an experiment in it's own right, there are things that I do regardless of what set we are talking about like co-sleeping...I am sure there is more but haven't had a full cup of coffee yet.

As for pregnancies, mine got worse with age physically. But whether or not that was age nobody will ever really know, it could have been just me. I did have one scare with Aiden (#7) being downs but it worked out fine in the end. Savannah was born with Mylticystic dysplastic kidney, basically one kidney that formed into a mass (cysts) and the other one perfectly functioning. We have chosen to not have routine checks of it yearly like advised because she has no complications from having the condition (although we are thinking this is the year to have it checked out) again could it be age related? Possible but then again we have been told it is a random and rather common condition.

My mom had my younger siblings in her late 30's, early 40's. One is 20 and the other is 17 plus one who would be about 15 (placed for adoption) she had easy pregnancies but she will tell you she a lot more forgiving with my younger siblings then she was me (there is also another sister who is 31).

That's all I can think of, hope it helps..
 

Shiroi Tora

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Aug 4, 2011
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My wife was 35, and I was one month shy of 41. For us, it was perfect. We had lived our lives...traveled and enjoyed ourselves. We decided that it was then or never. She got pregnant on our first try (although I hadn't realized how lucky we were...I thought it was just the natural course....birth control..no baby....no birth control....baby!).

Anyway...having lived our lives first, allowed us to mature and fully enjoy parenting. I am now retired and I can spend a lot of time with my son. My wife is an excellent mother (one of the major reasons I married her....great maternal instinct). My son reaps great benefits from our attention to him.

Although I cannot comment on the difference between early and late child birth...I can say that our relatively late birth of our son in our lives worked out very well. The fact that we both wanted the event (and had planned for it ahead of time) probably greatly enhanced it further.
 

IADad

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Feb 23, 2009
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I was 38 (DW was 36) for DS1 and we were almost 43 and just 41 respectively for DS2. So, being worried about the statistics of birht defects was about the only thing. We both noticed that we were A LOT more tired for DS2 (maybe we didn't have the exuberence of having our first child, dunno.) So, I think younger is physically maybe a little easier, but some other things are better, our perspective on life, financial stability (a bit anyway) etc. So I don't think one is better than the other, just different.

Now, for they poor unfortunate young daycare worker who announced to DS2 that "Grandma's here to pick you up...."when referring to my wife...well, I'm sorry for anything she might have said or projected on you....
 

parentastic

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Jul 22, 2011
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Thank you for all these great posts! It's encouraging to see that it happens a lot around, that many parents are having children quite late.

On the one hand, not being as fit as before to run with children, do activities, and become a burden to them earlier in their life, being tired all the time... that's not an easy thought. On the other hand, I like the thought of actually being retired and having a lot of time to give them, as opposed to working parents. Although, hey, I am still working for quite a while ;-) Not there yet!

Still, food for thoughts.
Thank you all!

Nicolas
 

parentastic

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Jul 22, 2011
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IADad said:
Now, for they poor unfortunate young daycare worker who announced to DS2 that "Grandma's here to pick you up...."when referring to my wife...well, I'm sorry for anything she might have said or projected on you....
Ohh gawd!!! :twitcy:

I think I had tears in my eyes because of how much I was laughing when I read that! boy oh boy, that must have been nasty for your DW to hear!!
 

stjohnjulie

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Aug 9, 2010
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I had my first at 27 (his dad was 45) and I had my second at 37 (his dad was 40). For me, it seemed different because I am more 'sure' of myself now than I was with my first. Both pregnancies were about the same. With the second, I was in the default 'high risk' category because I was 35+. Fortunately, I had the same midwife for both and she was not of the school that I was a high risk simply because of my age. She treated me the same for both pregnancies. I declined the standard proceedure of seeing the OB doctor just because of my age. I liked my midwife and trusted her judgment and listened to her advice. If she thought I should see the doctor, I would have, but that wasn't the case. With my second pregnancy I had a bit of a scare when after my glucose test the baby's heart rate dropped. I had it checked out and everything was back to normal within an hour.

One thing I have noticed... a lot of my stateside friends have babies later in life. Where I live now, they start young. I mean REALLY young. My husband's sisters are grandparents and he is just starting out with his first child. I suspect that has something to do with socioeconomic status as well. The native population where I am tends to be quite poor.
 

teenage_parent

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Apr 15, 2011
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you know what, i think the fact that you are older means you have a lot more experience in life. that will certainly make you a better parent.

unlike me, i'm growing up with my kid.

post lots. i'm sure many here would like to hear your experience in parenthood.
 

nwcrazy

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Aug 28, 2011
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parentastic said:
Hello everyone,

I am wondering if some of you would share their experience about having a baby very late? My partner is 42 years old right now, and I am 38. Is it different from having a baby younger? What was different? What shall we expect? :unsure:

I think the advantages are that you will be better prepared to do what's right for your child because you will have maturity, experience and the necessary finances. But, I think it's easy to go overboard with trying to do everything right. I think some older parents do too much to try to give their very young kids an advantage (since they have the resources). Sometimes, "lightening up" with the academics and classes (eg sports, music, etc) and just letting kids be kids does the most good.

The downside of being an older parent is that a young child will have HIGH energy, while an older parents energy level is on the downtrend. Believe me that will be a problem from time to time.
 

RegalSin

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Sep 3, 2011
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1. You can children at ten years old. Sex is that normal.

2. Parents ( your parents ) do not want you do have children, because they need to buy that second car, vacation house, or whatever. I know parents who are building brand new houses in countries where they have no legitimate documentation. That is why, and now you are over that age limit, they could not care any less or more.

3. Great you even made it past the bible age of child baring. Pat yourself on the back.

4. So what if your 40, 50, or even 60 years old. All you did was buy time for your children so they can exprience flying cars, the division of the states, teleportation devices that destroys you and clone you on the other end, and AIDS pills. The wonderful year of 2000. Where we live on the moon, and are wiping out the dirty colonization of Martians. Can life get better.

5. If your in good health, and he is good health the baby should not be a problematic thing. I don't know about how milk quality is affected, or if you will live to see your grand children.
 

nwcrazy

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Aug 28, 2011
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Well, I just thought of another thing you need to prepare for...

Colds.

Your young child will come into contact with other young ones...and will catch cold after cold. That's a good thing for your little one because the more colds he/she gets, the more antibodies he/she will develop. And that will help him/her to catch fewer colds as an adult. Also, if one is to catch a cold, it's better to do it while one is young and the metabolism is high.

Now, as an older parent there are a couple of BIG downsides: 1) Your metabolism slows down as you get older and 2) The immune system is not as "vibrant" as when you were younger.

So you have to be prepared to get more colds every year and (sometimes) more severe colds.

BUT, it's a small price to pay for being a parent.
 

Alenysh

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Sep 22, 2011
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38? may it be late for pregnancy? Nowadays more and more people decide to give birth to children after 30years!
 

Dad

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Jun 13, 2012
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I just scanned through this so I may be repeating someone, but just in case I'm not...

My wife and I had our first at age 40. One consideration (in addition to hearing "Your granddad is here to pick you up") is your social life. People our age often have 'no kids to attend' type of events or trips and other parents of kids our age don't socialize with us because we're as old as their parents. Nothing is rarely said but we just end up 'out of the loop' socially.
 

csdax

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May 5, 2012
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I was 34 when I had my first (my husband was 39). I was in the hospital for 5 weeks before the birth and shared a room (only for one night, thank God) with a teenager about to have her 2nd child. She told me she didn't agree with people having children 'so old' because it was too dangerous for the kid. Then she went out for a smoke. :arghh:

Upsides of having kids 'later':
- You're more mature, sure of yourself, and know more about your own values. Those things make parenting easier!
- You're more likely to be financially stable
- According to the book 'Freakonomics', which I haven't read but my husband quotes quite a bit, having kids past 30 is a major positive factor in having kids that are 'successful in life'.
- Careers are more likely to be well-established and on firm ground, so taking time off 'might' be less disruptive to your career.

Downsides:
- There are more risks of birth issues, but the risks are coming down all the time.
- You get tired more easily.
- Being mistaken for Grandma and Grandpa

If my husband and I had got together earlier, we might have had another. As it is, my husband, now 44 and being woken at least once a night by a 2 year old, says that he's determined to get some sleep by the time he's 50!
 

IADad

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Feb 23, 2009
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csdax said:
I was 34 when I had my first (my husband was 39). I was in the hospital for 5 weeks before the birth and shared a room (only for one night, thank God) with a teenager about to have her 2nd child. She told me she didn't agree with people having children 'so old' because it was too dangerous for the kid. Then she went out for a smoke. :arghh:

Upsides of having kids 'later':
- You're more mature, sure of yourself, and know more about your own values. Those things make parenting easier!
- You're more likely to be financially stable
- According to the book 'Freakonomics', which I haven't read but my husband quotes quite a bit, having kids past 30 is a major positive factor in having kids that are 'successful in life'.
- Careers are more likely to be well-established and on firm ground, so taking time off 'might' be less disruptive to your career.

Downsides:
- There are more risks of birth issues, but the risks are coming down all the time.
- You get tired more easily.
- Being mistaken for Grandma and Grandpa

If my husband and I had got together earlier, we might have had another. As it is, my husband, now 44 and being woken at least once a night by a 2 year old, says that he's determined to get some sleep by the time he's 50!
Ha, I know what you mean. During our first pregnancy, we went to the childbirth/parenting classes that our hospital offered and there were two teen moms, and both of them were interesting people. When we had a session on breastfeedng, they warned about alcohol comsumption, and the one wanted to know how much breastmilk she needed to express before she could "go out and get loaded." The insturctor had anice answer about being sure your baby was in good care before going off to intentionally be irresponsible. The other one, I swear HER mom was the one in class. It was very apparent that this young woman had no intention of actively participating in raising this child and was essentially going to leave it to "grandma."

Now, thinking back there was a couple who regularly sat at the same table as us, and she "cut him off" when they started the 3rd trimester...we felt sorry for him.

and yes, we did have an episode at daycare where one of the aids told DS2 "look, grandma came to pick you up." My DW was not amused.

I figure I can sleep when I'm dead...