I didn’t fully commit to the idea of having kids until I was in my mid-30s. At this point I had already reached a period called “advanced maternal age” and when I became pregnant, it was called an “at-risk pregnancy.” Needless to say, while my own doctor was cool as a cucumber about my risky state, any other doctor I visited for services related to my condition felt compelled to remind me how old I was and how risky my behavior was. Not unlike heli-skiing, skydiving or swimming with sharks. I don’t know what it’s like to have children in my 20s, but I have observed several benefits, the best of which is that kids are usually well on their way to self-sufficiency just as one is passing 40 years old. On the other hand, when you are having your kids at “advanced maternal age,” passing 40 looks much different. In order to spin this choice in a way so I can meditate with gratitude every day on having children at “advanced maternal age,” I decided to compile a list of reasons why women should consider having children at roughly the same time of life when we are starting to think about dentures, joint replacements and bi-focals.
1. When you reach advanced maternal age, your patience has reached advanced tolerance levels. You might not be Job (of Bibical status), but you are closer than you have ever been. This new level of patience comes in handy. Enough said.
2. At advanced maternal age, you might be at a phase in life where your career is more “settled,” hence you might have some actual vacation or sick time built up to cover maternity leave. If you live in the United States, you will need that paid time off since birthing a human being, which turns your world upside down, deprives you of sleep forever, causes permanent hormone imbalances and alters your cognitive processes only really gets you a medical recommendation of 6 weeks off if everything goes well.
3. Having kids at advanced maternal age means that you might be less resentful about the time child rearing consumes because you have essentially “been there, done that” in several realms of life such as dating/marriage, educational pursuits, jobs, travel, partying, jail time, drug experimentation, etc. Pick your poison, likely by 40, you have tried it.
4. Just at the point where you feel like you are losing touch with popular culture, having children at advanced maternal age allows you to reconnect with your passion for children’s television programming (my children always look for Mouseketools to solve household problems), slang, the latest dance moves (whip and nae nae), music (most people with little girls have probably seen them belt out “Let it go” by now) and fashion trends (do kids these days wear really wear dresses on top of skirts and leggings with swimsuits? My 3-year old insists they do).
5. Having children at advanced maternal age allows you to go completely hands off with technology. I find that my children have better mastery over smart phones and tablets at age 3 than I have at age 43. When I can’t figure something out, I just pass the device to one of my toddlers. They simply stare intently at the device, furrow their eyebrows, chew thoughtfully on their lower lip and push a few buttons and they are able to straighten everything out for me.
Yes, the benefits are real, albeit a little challenging to identify without significant thought. If you’d like to share your experiences about having children at advanced maternal age, please drop me a note so we can share in the gratitude process. I’ll be planning our next family outing: swimming with sharks…