Cameron Diaz just became a first-time mom at 47, sparking a conversation about the joys and challenges of the growing trend of “later motherhood.”
Like many women today, Amy was focused on work and didn’t meet her future husband until she was in her late 30s. “We got married in 2014 and always knew we wanted to start a family,” says this mom who lives on the shoreline.
She gave birth to her daughter at 41 years old, an age that has come with joys and challenges. “My back hurts all the time, part of it picking her up and chasing her around but part of it is that I’m 44,” she says.
Amy is not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first birth rate for women age 40-44 doubled from 1990 to 2012.
While the trend is on the rise, the risks still exist.
“Fertility declines for women in their mid-30s, particularly so after the age of 37, so there is certainly the chance that a woman would have trouble conceiving with her own eggs,” says Dr. Elizabeth Deckers of Hartford Hospital, noting that if a woman does successfully become pregnant, there’s increased risk of spontaneous miscarriage, hypertension and diabetes among other things. She gave birth to both of her children at what’s considered “advanced maternal age” and says, embark on the journey, armed with knowledge: “Optimizing your health before you become pregnant is the best way to have a healthy pregnancy.”
“With all sorts of fertility treatments now available and surrogacy and adoption, there’s definitely more options for women to parent later,” says Robin Gorman Newman, founder of MotherhoodLater.com. She started the web site to find community and camaraderie. For her, being a little older when she adopted her son was a blessing.
“I trust my own inner voice, I have a lot of life wisdom,” she says, adding that, chances are, a “later mom’s” journey was challenging so there’s a huge sense of gratitude when the baby arrives.
Amy wholeheartedly agrees: “You go into it feeling very committed and blessed and happy that you have this gift.”
MotherhoodLater.com has in-person chapters all around the country and even just launched one in Nigeria.