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I recently had my first baby at the age of 35. And what I learned is there is so much that comes with having a baby at that age. People will make you think and feel all sorts of different things. But the truth is there are both pros and cons to having a baby at the age termed “geriatric.”
Whether you’re thinking about having your first or fifth child at an “advanced maternal age,” below I share all that I experienced having a baby at 35 years old: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thankfully there’s a lot more good than anything else!
You get a lot of used gifts from other people
What’s nice about being older when having a baby, is that many of your friends have likely already had kids. In fact in my world, most of my friends, siblings and sister-in-laws already had kids. That meant they had lots of baby stuff they wanted to give away and I was the recipient!
This was so helpful for us, especially being on such a tight budget the time our boy was born. And when you think about it, babies outgrow clothes so quickly that there’s not a whole lot of reason to spend money buying too many new outfits.
Other than clothes, I received 2 breast pumps, a changing table, a swing, toys and so many other things. I appreciated it all so much!
You get helpful tips from other people
This one could be good or bad. As we know, many people love to give mothers advice – whether it’s asked for or not.
But what I am able to appreciate is being able to call other amazing moms and ask them questions based on their experience.
Sure, Google is always an option, but that can’t take the place of speaking with people you trust who have experienced first-hand what you’re going through. They have been through it before, so why would I not want to ask them how they did certain things?
For example, we are just about to start sleep training our little guy. You can believe I am going to want tips and tricks from other parents on how they made it through this time!
You are more prepared
This isn’t to say that everyone who has a baby young isn’t ready for it. Of course that’s not true! It’s also not to say that being older means 100% of the time you are prepared. Everyone is different.
But the older you are, the more life experience you have to help raise a baby. There is also a good chance you are more settled into your career and more financially stable.
You learn what not to do
I have been able to watch and learn from many others who were parents before me. And I learned so many great things from them that I can’t wait to use with my son. But on the flip side, I have also seen how some of their choices weren’t the best.
That isn’t to say they are terrible parents or didn’t have good intentions (you can believe my husband and I are going to make our fair share of mistakes as well!) but sometimes some decisions turn out not to be the best ones. Because of that, there are a lot of things I have seen that I will probably try and do differently with my son and hope to have better results. And trust me, I have heard many times from other parents to not do what they did!
Your body isn’t as young as it used to be
For many, being able to get up and down off the floor with a baby is a tad easier in your 20s than in your 30s. And chasing a toddler around is exhausting, and possibly even more so the older you are.
I’m doing okay as of now with all of that. But I can certainly see how being a little younger could make it a little easier.
Also, I know someone that recently had her fourth baby at 40 years old. She said the night feedings are definitely a lot harder at 40 than when she had her first 3 babies. (Of course I’m sure having 3 other kids to take care of all day doesn’t help matters either!)
There are higher risks
There is a lot of different information out there and so I don’t want to give you any kind of stats on risks for pregnancies after 35 years old. Although my research told me most of the risks are only slightly higher, the truth is, there are some.
I also learned that every doctor thinks differently about this. When I first got pregnant, my doctor was not too concerned about it. And then I moved and my new doctor seemed a lot more concerned (although thankfully she certainly didn’t scare me about anything or make me feel it was too risky to continue with the pregnancy).
If you’re planning to have a baby after 35, talk to your own doctor and do your own research to determine what the risks are.
Others will make you feel old
Why in the world do they have to put the term “geriatric” in front of pregnancy when you’re 35? They couldn’t have chosen any other word?
I know moms that had perfectly healthy babies in their 40s. But alas, it’s the way it is. And boy oh boy did others make me feel old as I was going through my pregnancy.
My doctor was great in a lot of ways. And I will use her again for my next pregnancy. But she kept forgetting I was going through my first pregnancy “because of my age” as she put it. She also wanted me to be induced at 39 weeks, a common procedure I know, but looking at the risks they really didn’t seem all that much higher to me than waiting until I was full term. I was grateful she listened to my concerns and was okay with waiting until I was 40 weeks.
Do I regret not having my first baby until I was 35? Absolutely not! I am very happy with my decisions and all that has brought me to this place in my life. It’s not that I necessarily chose to wait so long. But I didn’t find “Mr. Right’ until I was 30 and then after we got married, he went back to school and we wanted him to finish before we started had a baby. And I hope to have another kid as well 🙂
The slightly higher risks do make me a little nervous, but I’m trusting God with it and have known people in their 20s that have had high risk pregnancies. So there is no guarantee either way.
If you’re 35+ or are considering putting off having kids until you’re older, do your research, talk to your partner and doctor, and make the decision that is best for you. That’s my advice to you!
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