I was at a meeting recently with several female physicians and young therapists. We were discussing a patient who was 45 years old and had a six year old son. One of the therapists commented:
"So that means she was.... 39 when she had a baby. That's so.... old!"
Crickets chirped. Almost every physician in that room had children at 39 or older.
On Facebook this morning, one of my friends posted an article about how families are having children at older ages and the consequences of this decision.
In case you don't to read the article, these are its main points:
1) The chances of learning disabilities as well as certain other problems such as schizophrenia and autism increase severalfold in older parents.
2) Women who have their first child at an older age are less likely to have the number of children they wanted ten years earlier.
3) Reproduction becomes more difficult and costly as you age.
4) Having children at an older age means having older grandparents for your kids.
5) Having children at an older age means dying when your kids are younger or at least being more infirm for most of their adulthood.
At the same time, the article also cites that children of older parents grow up in wealthier households, lead more stable lives, and do better in school.
Ultimately, it's a very personal decision, but I know when it comes to motherhood, we are all wracked with guilt about our decisions, and one of the earliest decisions you have as a mother is when to have babies.