Let's hear it for the olds!
According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women in the United States are having babies at record low rates. In 2017, births were at a 30-year low, down two percent from the previous year.
With one exception: American woman over age 40 are having more babies than ever before.
The birth rate for women age 40 to 44 in 2017 was up two percent from the previous year.
“The rate for this age group has generally risen since 1982,” says the CDC report.
Meanwhile, the birth rate for women over age 45 remained the same, although that number rose by three percent from 2016 to 2017.
“This suggests, as a Pew Survey found earlier this year, that more women are delaying childbirth into their late 30s and early 40s, but ultimately choosing to have children in the end -- just perhaps not as many,” says an article, "The Rise of Older Mothers," in The Atlantic.
The article proposes that more woman are likely to get degrees, establish their careers, and then have a baby rather than give birth during their earlier work years -- potentially because women who have children between the ages of 25 and 35 suffer a hit to wages that they rarely recover from.
However, “it’s too soon to say whether this delayed childbearing will result in fewer babies overall,” according to the article.
I am an older mom. I was already of advanced maternal age when I gave birth to my son, and the doctors then acted like I was one of the Golden Girls. Now, almost four years later, I'm in my early 40s, I’d love to get pregnant again, and I don’t even know what they’d call me now -- Advanced Crone? Geriatric Mama?
But for all the times I mutter about my aching back or wish I had the energy of a twentysomething, there are definite benefits to being an old mom. I think I'm in a better emotional space than I was when I was younger. I am more tolerant and relaxed. And while I'm not well off, I'm about as financially stable as I'll ever be. Plus, kids born to older parents might have higher IQs and longer life spans, according to NBC News. (And who am I to argue with NBC?)
I look forward to more older moms joining me. If you want to find me, I'll be the one at the playground wheezing as I chase after my son, cursing under my breath as I contort my ancient bones down the spiral slide, then laughing all the way down.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.