older mother with son kissing her cheek

‘I had my son at 45. This is what I wish people knew about being an “older mom.”‘

We know that the older a woman gets, the more likely there are to be complications and challenges with pregnancy. Many women feel that once they’ve gone past a certain age, their window for having children closes. This mom faced a lot of push-backs when she became pregnant at 45 years old. This is what she wants you to know about being an older mom.

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What It’s Like Being An Older Mom

At 40 years old, Anne de Manser’s marriage, from which she had two nearly grown teenage daughters, ended. She then married a younger man who had no children of his own. At first, they didn’t really entertain the idea of having children because Anne had already experienced some reproductive issues in the past. They didn’t think being an older mom would even be possible. Despite this, Anne wanted to have a child with her new husband and allow him to be a biological father.

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“We agreed that we would try without trying; we would not seek fertility treatment or pin our hopes on a ‘what if.’” she said.

Source: Mamamia

They then went through the challenging experience of having two miscarriages. They were about to give up when Anne missed her period days before an IUD appointment, so she took a pregnancy test.

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“my period was a couple of days late (yes, I was still counting!), and the two pink lines were stronger than anything I’d seen on a pregnancy test before. They were positively neon, and I can still feel the thrill and the frisson of terror that accompanied them.”

Source: Mamamia

Finally A Successful Pregnancy

They were so nervous that this pregnancy would go down the same road as the previous ones that Anne’s husband didn’t even come to her six-week scan. They decided that if they received bad news, she would be less stressed taking it alone. The news was anything but bad: The pregnancy was going along well.

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Unfortunately, she was not met with a supportive obstetrician. According to her story on Mamamia, the doctor questioned whether or not the pregnancy was intentional and if she knew the statistics about children born to older moms and down syndrome. Despite the negativity, they continued with testing and assistance from a different, more supportive doctor. The pregnancy was easy, and their baby boy arrived healthily and right on time.

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18 Years Later

Their son is now nearly all grown up. Anne and her husband and her first two children can’t possibly imagine life without the youngest member of their family. He has brought all of them so much joy.

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“Did I worry about having a baby at (almost) 46? So many worries, mostly fostered by others. “Do you think it’s fair to the baby?” “What if you die?” “OMG, you’ll be a pensioner before he leaves school,” she recalled. “Watching him grow has been my life’s delight, one I sometimes missed with the girls because I was always so eager for them to reach the next milestone. With experience, I’ve learnt to pick my battles, so we rarely fight.”

Source: Mamamia

While, of course, there are downsides to every situation (most of their son’s friends have grandparents the same age as Anne), the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. For one, they are in a better financial position. They have been able to travel the world with their son, take him to the theatre, and do many things that they weren’t able to do with their daughters because the money wasn’t there. Anne also says her son has forced her to stay on top of her health so she can keep up with him.

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Of course, she knows that her son likely won’t have her around for as much of his life as his daughters. He will, however, have two wonderful older sisters and a father, no matter what happens to her and when.

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“My miracle baby is turning into exactly the man I hoped him to be. Every wish and dream I had when I saw that neon line, that tiny blip, that little hand, is playing out in front of me,” she said. “ Every night, as he goes upstairs to bed, he yells, “Love you Mum, love you Dad.” Who could ask for anything more?”

Source: Mamamia

What You Need To Know About Being An Older Mom

If you are an older woman still hoping to have a child and feeling inspired by Anne’s story, you should know a few things. As Anne touched upon, there are definitely more risks and potential complications for older moms. After 35, you are automatically placed in the “advanced maternal age” category. Due to a steep decrease in the number of eggs your ovaries produce, your chances of becoming pregnant unassisted also go down. In fact, according to a 2020 review, after 40 years old, your chances of becoming pregnant are about 44%.

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Read: Inspiring Photo Shows The Strength Of Moms When Giving Birth

Risks Of Becoming An Older Mom

According to the Mayo Clinic and Healthline Pregnancy later in life does have more risks than for a younger woman. These risks include:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Chromosome Issues: The risk of having a child with Down Syndrome is much higher
  • Having multiples (twins or more)
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Low birth weight
  • Cesarean delivery
  • Higher risk of autism
  • Higher risk of schizophrenia
  • Slightly higher risk of acture lymphoblastic leukemia

All of this said, there are certainly benefits to waiting to have children.

The Benefits of Being An Older Mom

According to Forbes, many women are delaying have children now because they are first choosing to establish their careers before starting a family. This means more and more women are having children at older ages. While the risks are present, there are benefits as well. Some of these, as mentioned by Parents.com include:

  • May keep your brain sharper as you age
  • Decreased risk of children experiencing unintentional injury requiring medical attention
  • You are more emotionally and mentally ready to be a parent
  • Children of older parents tend to be healthier and more educated. This is in part due to technological advances and also a higher socio-economic status of the parents.
  • The parents may live longer. This is because you are forced to stay more active into your later years to keep up with your children.

Naturally, every woman is unique and the risks will be different for each person. Be sure to discuss pregnancy with your doctor so you can weigh the pros and cons for yourself and find what will work for you.

For more information on having a child after the age of 35, you can check out the website for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Keep Reading: 11 of the Weirdest Things Parents Have Seen in Baby’s Ultrasound

Sources

  1. ‘I had my son at 45. This is what I wish people knew about being an “older mum.”‘.” Mama Mia. Anne De Manser. August 2, 2020.
  2. “Knowledge about the impact of age on fertility: a brief review” Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences. January 22, 2020.
  3. Risks of pregnancy after age 35.” Healthline. Ashley Marcin. July 31, 2020.
  4. Getting pregnant.” Mayo Clinic
  5. New Study: Millennial Women Are Delaying Having Children Due To Their Careers.” Forbes. Ashley Stahl. May 1, 2020.
  6. 6 Benefits of Having a Child Later in Life.” Parents. Jenn Sinrich. February 5, 2019.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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