When you’re an expectant mother, about to start or grow your family, the rush of joy and excitement can be overwhelming. Some mothers spend their time perusing the latest motherhood novels while others spend hours pacing the baby aisle, trying to predict everything their baby will need. When you are expecting, the joys of parenting and the beauty of childhood constantly crosses your mind. But when you are having a baby at a later time in your life, you may have some other things on your mind as well.
Being an older mother isn’t something to be ashamed of, and it is absolutely okay that you waited until you were ready to have a child. But now that you are pregnant, you may feel out of place and worried. Aside from the usual challenges of parenting, being an older mother has struggles of its own.
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Some parents, like Joanna Montgomery from The Stir, wait until they are in their mid to late forties to have children. If you are an older mother, you will become elderly while your children are still young. When your children start college, you could potentially be in your early 60s, depending on when you have children.
According to Montgomery, “[Older mothers] may miss a lot of things that younger parents get to enjoy: seeing our child become a parent, becoming grandparents, seeing our child succeed in her chosen career.” Montgomery adds that even if older mothers do live long enough to see these things, they may not be able to enjoy it as much as younger parents would.
According to Montgomery, although becoming a burden to your children is “probably the fear of every parent,” this is an even greater fear for older parents. Because of the large age gap, older parents worry about troubling their children sooner with health problems. As Montgomery writes, “I don’t want my child to ever have to worry about my health or well-being, but the odds are that she will, and at a much younger age than her peers.”
Every generation comes with its own set of norms. As an older mother, you may not understand many cultural trends of your child’s generation. Your child will most likely listen to different music, speak a different way and even aspire for goals you didn’t have the opportunity to attain when you were younger. Because of this, you will have to learn to adapt and be more understanding about his or her behavior, preferences and beliefs.
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It can be hard to make friends as an older mother because might feel judged and left out. According to Today, it can be nice to find a group of other mothers, but these women may not be going through the same things. Today writes, “If you’re having trouble breastfeeding or have a baby who’s not sleeping through the night, it can be hard to hear about a champion nurser or power sleeper.”
Not only that, but younger parents may not relate to your career, personal or physical concerns. But Today suggests you keep looking; sometimes you only really need just one friend who can support your journey as an older mom.
There’s no doubt that any mother will get tired while raising a child. But as Kveller writes, a tired 39-year-old probably feels her exhaustion as a greater level than a tired 29-year-old. As you get older, your health and energy gradually decline. You probably won’t be able to chase your children around as fast as a twentysomething and it may be more difficult to push through the sleepless nights of crying.
READ MORE: The Power of Having Other Moms as Resources
Although there are a lot of things to worry about as an older mother, there are also a great deal you should remember to be thankful for. As Montgomery writes on The Stir, because you are older, you are more financially stable, you are more wise and “intellectually equipped,” you are more emotionally stable and you take less things for granted. As an older mother, you will learn to cherish every moment you have with your child. Really, it’s up to you to decide if the good outweighs the bad.
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