Reality TV star Brigitte Nielsen recently announced that she is expecting her fifth child at the age of 54.

Nielsen has now joined the ranks with celebs like Halle Berry, Janet Jackson and many more, who embraced motherhood in their forties and fifties. Late motherhood isn’t discussed much in our society, as much as other aspects of pregnancy and parenting.

There is a group of people who even frown upon late pregnancies, especially when women are in fifties. Some also shame women for becoming moms at an age when their counterparts are becoming grandmothers.

Our society has always made it a point to shame women who steer away from conventions. But we need to have an honest discussion about late motherhood stripped of the social stigmas.

To me it seems extremely brave and applause worthy if a woman decides to have a baby so late in her life. Here I am, fantasizing of retiring from the family life and escaping to a cave atop a peak in Himalayan ranges at mere 33.  Even the thought of having a second child now is enough for me to avow celibacy for the rest of my life. Parenting a post millennial kid does that to you.

But not these awesome women, who took up challenges of late pregnancies and motherhood like no big deal. They have proved that age should not be a factor in determining when a woman should have a child. It all depends on her will.

Medical advancements and changing set of values is helping women who opt for late motherhood

Most women these days opt to spend their youth concentrating on their careers. Hence family life and motherhood take a backseat. There was a time when the term “biological clock” would hang over the heads of every career driven woman like a time bomb. She would be under immense social pressure to start a family “before it was too late.”

By too late people would be referring to problems like difficulty in conception, pre-eclampsia, increased chances of Down’s Syndrome and autism in the child, and bringing up children in modern era, while constantly reaching out for instant energisers.

However, advancements in medical care and increased awareness about proper diet and fitness have made sure that late pregnancy and parenthood is not more tiring than it is during twenties or early thirties.

The result is that more women are embracing motherhood in forties and fifties. Celebs like Raageshwari Loomba, Rachel Weisz, Salma Hayek, Madonna and Susan Sarandon became mommies well past their forties. Medical advancements like IVF, oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) and surrogacy helped Farah Khan, Diana Hayden and Gauri Khan respectively, to have children despite being 40 plus, the non-traditional way. But we know that conception and pregnancy are just the first stages of motherhood.

What lies beyond is endless sleepless nights and piles of dirty and stinky clothes. Add to that the tantrums which come wrapped to every milestone at various ages. Motherhood is forever, since the day you conceive. But these women don’t feel intimidated by it, just because they started late. Even the latest research are giving a big shout out to these mommies.

Older Moms are cooler, smarter and more understanding

Late motherhood comes with certain advantages as well. Most women who become mothers in their forties or fifties are economically stable and hence children born to them have a more comfortable upbringing. A research by Aarhus University’s school of business and social sciences in Denmark also suggests that children with older mothers thrive better.

As older moms are more emotionally mature and experienced, they are capable of handling growing children more deftly than younger moms. This study also tracked children of school age. They found that children with older mothers had fewer behavioural, social and emotional problems.

Perhaps the best part of embracing advanced motherhood is that women do not have to compromise with their career, education or aspirations.

They are mostly well established by the time they reach forties and fifties. Hence motherhood doesn’t come with panic of sending a flourishing career down the garbage chute. Nor does it come with the existential crisis of being a young mother, whose entire existence becomes centered around rearing a child.

Young or old, women of all age groups are entitled to having a choice about when they want to have a baby. Their choice should stem from whether or not they are ready for it. Or if they want to make the sacrifices which come along with this institution at that point in their lives.

Picture Credit: peacequarters.com

Also Read : Motherhood: A Journey Like No Other

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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