For years, we’ve been told that it’s better to have babies while you’re young, because the longer you wait, the more likely your child is to have birth defects. Or you might not even be able to get pregnant at all. Your parents and aunts and grandparents are begging for grandchildren the moment you get married or turn a certain age, making it very difficult to stand up for yourself if you’ve either chosen to wait for the right time to have a baby or just haven’t been able to have children as early as society expects.
Whether you need some backup while talking to your relatives or just want some research behind your arguments when someone shames you for being pregnant at an “advanced” age, we’ve got the information you need!
Recent research has shown that while some birth defects do increase in likelihood in babies born of older mothers, there are other birth defects that the children of older mothers are statistically less likely to have. On top of that, older mothers are more likely to raise more well-adjusted children with better verbal and social skills.
A study published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology found that older mothers are less likely to yell at their children or physically punish them. Their higher tolerance for their kids’ natural imperfections lead to a more stable discipline system that produces happier and more well-behaved children. Older moms also tend to have less anxiety and a more positive outlook when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood.
If you’re an older mom (or are planning to be), you’re in good company. On average, women are waiting longer to have kids now than ever before. The majority of children are now born to women over 30, and the number of children born to women over 40 has quadrupled since 1985. So don’t let anyone tell you that there’s anything wrong with being an older mom.
And just in case you’re a young mom beginning to think you’ve gotten it all wrong, don’t freak out just yet. The Denmark study also found that the extra benefits of late motherhood taper off by the time their kids are about 15 years of age. Your child will turn out just fine, no matter what age you are! Keep up the good work!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?