It is no longer unusual for a woman to have her first, and second, child after 35. This trend is increasing. According to government statistics, approximately 40% of all women who gave birth for the first time between ages 35 and 44 went on to have a second child.
With the help of assisted reproductive technology, women are able to delay childbearing but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to have only one child.
Because fertility medication can increase the likelihood of multiple births, older women may end up with two children instantly. But researchers do not believe this fact is responsible for the increase, as many of these women are expressing a particular desire to give their first child a sibling.
Some women have expressed concerns that, because of their advanced maternal age, their children will be on their own earlier in life, and therefore they want to give them a larger family as a support system. Others simply want the family they create to look more like the one they had growing up. The fact that they have started the process later in life is no longer the roadblock that it used to be.
The rise in older moms is particularly high among white, college educated women. Some tend to have their children relatively close together because they know they don’t have the luxury of time (because of their fertility status.) Others have their first child after 35 and seek medical assistance in their forties, giving them a larger age gap between siblings.
There is no doubt that there are challenges to parenting very small children when you are a bit older, and parenting two can be even more exhausting, but there are also many advantages. The early years for so many of these woman were spent pursuing careers, traveling, and learning about life. These are all things that will serve them well when it comes to being a parent and a mentor.
It seems that not only are women feeling more empowered to delay motherhood but they are also utilizing their options, which allows them more freedom to chose what they want their family to look like.
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