THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM AN ARTICLE I PUBLISHED IN THE
PORTLAND DAILY SUN JUNE 7
Can I request that the next generation of toddlers evolve with a snooze button? I consider myself a fairly energetic 34-year old, but there are days when the 6am wake-up call comes way too quickly. And that’s just the start. Baby Boy zooms throughout the day with the determination and speed of a racehorse. I am a zombie by dinner time. Knowing the physical and mental energy it takes to keep up with these knee-high tykes, I am baffled as to why there are women in their 60’s and 70’s having children. On purpose.
Aren’t these the golden years when you have the grandkids over for a meal of ice-cream and Werther’s then kick them out in time for supper at four and Mahjong?
Apparently, in countries like China (where women are looked at as horrible people if they are barren) there are doctors happily injecting grandma-age ladies with fertilized eggs. A few months ago a 71-year old Indian woman had her first baby.
The cons of having children when you are in the December of your life are obvious. But it did get me thinking as to why women are waiting longer to have children in general (“longer” meaning mid-30’s through 40’s).
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5% of women were giving birth past the age of 35 fifteen years ago. Now that number is up to 15%.
Most of the “older moms” I spoke with said that the financial stability, education and life-experience gained from waiting makes them more patient, focused and balanced parents.
Rhonda LaPointe-Lachance had many reasons for waiting to start her family.
Most importantly, “I waited to marry until I found someone who would make a good husband and father,” she says. “Had I married my boyfriend and had kids in my 20's I am pretty sure I would be divorced by now with more kids to support.”
Then again, “Because of the age difference, it's harder to find other moms I can relate to who have the same age kids. Thanks to the fact that I have stopped dying my hair, I am sometimes mistaken for my daughter's grandmother when hanging out at parks or at school events,” she adds.
Many older moms had fertility issues thus having children at all puts their life in new perspective.
“I know the monetary and emotional value of the sacrifices I do have to
make and that the time with my kids is priceless,” says Amanda Downing, who was 40 and 42 when she gave birth. “And I don't care as much about appearance or housework as I used to. Seriously, this helps me not try to do it all.”
Along with it taking much longer to get the bikini body back (and by “bikini” I mean full-coverage, black, rouched-to-add-a-waist bathing suit) another constant that older moms mention is that they likely won’t have as many years with their children as they would have had they had kids in their 20’s.
Hope Straw, 40, is Mom to a 4-and 2-year old as well as an 8-month old baby. Her own mom was 39 when she had her (a rarity in 1970) and had passed away before Hope had her own children.
“I've taken to writing letters to my kids--things I would want to tell them about, stories and things about their babyhood, for them to have and read in case I'm not around when they want to ask those questions.” she says.
Though none of the moms said they “feel old,” they do admit they run out of energy by day’s end. “I am pretty sure that I need almost as much sleep as my toddler
does,” says Amy Vintinner. “Although, napping on a Sunday afternoon with him is priceless!”
If you are an “older mom,” there is a wonderful community you can join through Mom to Mom of Maine (www.momtomomofme.org). They prove that hot mamas come in all ages wether or not we need a snooze button.