As a child, I felt like I had my entire life planned out ahead of me – I knew exactly how my journey would pan out. I would go to university, meet the man of my dreams, get married, and of course have 2 beautiful kids – it sounds straight forward right? We all know however, that life doesn’t always take the path you might expect (in my case I skipped the marriage part all together!)
Whether it takes you a while to meet your soul mate, you don’t feel ready to start a family, or you face an unexpected fertility journey, you may find yourself welcoming your first child to the world much later in life than you had originally planned.
Although there are some additional challenges to conceiving later in life and higher risks when giving birth as an older Mom, there are also lots of benefits of waiting till you are a little older before welcoming your first child to the world. Here are some benefits of being an ‘older’ Mom:
- Life experience – Moms who have a baby later in life may be more emotionally prepared than their younger counterparts. Chances are, as an older Mom you will have seen friends and family members have children of their own, observed from a distance and even helped others with some of their never-ending parenting challenges. Whilst you may not have had your own paternal responsibilities, you may have spent a lot of time around children in another capacity. You’ll have also experienced your fair share of stressful situations, health challenges and even heart break to know that life isn’t always smooth sailing. As a result, you may find that you have more patience and are more able to cope better with what parenthood throws at you.
- Travelled the world – Travel, especially long haul travel – whilst not impossible, can be so much harder and more costly when you have a family in tow. Having had the opportunity to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice and travel to far flung destinations without having to worry about diaper changes and sterilizing bottles along the way is a huge benefit to not having children in tow. Many younger parents don’t get the opportunity to travel until their children are much older, so having had this experience in your youth is a definite positive to being childfree in your 20s.
- The ‘No Regrets’ mentality – One of the most common things I hear from younger Moms (myself included) is ‘I wish I’d done X before baby arrived’, I wish I’d planned my career better, I wish I’d visited my friend in Australia, I wish I’d had more time alone with my partner before the pitter patter of tiny feet.’ As an older Mom, chances are you’ve ‘been there, done that’ and therefore won’t feel that you are missing out or getting FOMO when all your friends are going out and socialising. On the contrary, you may be ready to embrace the quiet comfortable nights in at home with your newborn.
- More financially stable – As an older parent, the chances are, your career will be more established, you will have been actively working for longer, and are more likely to own, or at least be living in, your own home. Having had more opportunity to become financially stable means you may be able to live more comfortably with the additional expenses a child can bring.
- Keeps you young at heart – Whilst of course you may have less energy than you did welcoming a baby in your 20s, having a baby later in life is one of the best motivators for staying fit and active, running around after your child and ensuring you life a long and healthy life with them as they grow up.
No one said that having a child as an older parent would be easy, but there are lots of benefits – there is also no ‘right’ age to have a baby, so ultimately do what works for you and your family!
How old were you when you had your first child?