Motherhood After Thirty…

I come from a generation where education was pushed upon us in order to pursue good and long lasting careers. I am from an era where women have felt it possible to be strong, career focused and independent just as much as men. There are a lot more single, childless women in their thirties and above that are from my generation, then there were in the generation of my mother and and the one before, of my grandmother! Women today may have amazing, enjoyable, well paid careers, but no Prince Charming or 2.4 families.It is hard to achieve one, let alone the whole package. Regardless of generation, we were all spoon fed the same fairy-tales of once upon a time, watched the same Disney Princesses and love stories and despite growing up to be well educated, achieving unimaginable careers and healthy bank account’s, I believe that the want for fairy-tale romance has still been indented in most of our brains and hearts!
Some women thirty and above may not have been successful with their careers, their maternal instincts may have just simply not kicked in, perhaps they just haven’t settled down, wanted children earlier in life or had any “accidents”, whatever the reason, pregnancy can have serious health repercussions and becomes a serious situation as you grow older. So far it seems that the female body and pregnancy respond much better at a younger age and often with very little or perhaps no health risks at all. I know of teenagers who have conceived upon loosing their virginity in their teenage years, I know of women that are my age who have from one to five children. I have personally always wanted to have children but never found the right partner or time and it terrifies me that I am thirty two years of age and have no idea if I am fertile or not. I have an awful menstrual cycle, I always have and at the back of my mind, with the unpredictable, heavy, iron stealing cycle that I have, is that a sign for unsuccessful pregnancies? May I ever become pregnant at all? My mother, auntie and grandmother conceived in their forties and I am holding on to my genetic family history, that I just might still have time yet, but at what risk? The reality is that fertility and conceiving becomes much harder for a woman the older you get. Biologically men tend to have a little more leeway, although again, the younger the better! Although it is not necessarily problematic for all people to have children later on in life, everyone of is built differently but medical statistics do suggest that the older the woman, the more the health risks when it comes to conception, pregnancy and delivery.
It is not just older women who face health risks if they have children later on in life, but both mothers and babies can face pregnancy-related complications and health problems. There are hundreds of negatives that can go along side pregnancy as an older woman. Pregnancy can be complicated at any age but unfortunately more things can go wrong with age, as we as human being’s are not immortal, our bodies naturally start slowing down. There are risks of high blood pressure which could lead to pre-eclampsia or even worse if untreated, eclampsia. Early miscarriage is a common scenario. Conceiving a child at any age can cause psychological difficulties, having lived a longer life may make you more susceptible to this. There are increased complication risks during delivery, such as longer labour, the need for assisted delivery and intervention cesareans, should you manage to make it to full term. The risk of still birth is also a major and unfortunate potential problem. The risks of a baby with congenital abnormality are high, down’s syndrome being very common.
On a lighter note, recent celebrity news is that Janet Jackson is having her first child at fifty! Congratulations! With that in mind, we cannot rule anything out. Did she get the best IVF treatment that money can buy? Did she conceive naturally? Did she plan the pregnancy? Did she have health problems and miscarry privy to the good news? We may never know but I think it gives us childless and older women out there, just a little hope.
What a liberty, to be put in the, “old” category when thirty-plus but in the land of fertility, that is exactly where we belong. The pro’s to becoming pregnant and delivering a healthy baby at an older age is that we all know that children are expensive, and if one has had time to financially establish themselves before parenthood, life would probably be a lot easier, you could vouch for financial security, perhaps stability of a good home and secure family,but from a non materialistic and medical point of view the health risks of conceiving, maintaining and delivering a healthy child safely past thirty can put you in a health risk zone. I think being aware of this is important because whether it has always been your dream to be a mother and that for whatever reason that dream only becomes possible at a later age and stage in life, or if you fall pregnant by surprise later on in life and anything in between, as women we need to acknowledge all health risks because the greatest first gift that we can give to our children is health!

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