Old mom or not does it change your relationship with your child? Given how women are made conscious of the biological clock ticking, there is great anxiety among them about embracing motherhood. So, when is the right time to be a mother? Is being physically fit for the task enough? What about mental and emotional preparedness? What about financial constraints? After all, motherhood is not about just giving birth, you have to bring a child up by putting them first in every life decision you make.
Motherhood demands 100 percent commitment for a good part of your life, often the years when your child needs the most of your time and attention is the time when your career can grow in leaps and bounds. So what should a woman do? Medically, a pregnancy after the age of 35 puts you in the bracket of advanced maternal age but successful pregnancies after 35 are common. And I know from personal experience that late motherhood, despite all its hurdles, is still better than walking into the job unwillingly.
Old mom: The story of a woman who became a mom at 32
I am a hypothyroidism patient who conceived the old fashioned way at the age of 32. I gave birth at 34 weeks via an emergency c-section. My child was born severely underweight at 1.5 kilograms and remained in NICU for 15 days before coming home. I had developed intrauterine growth restriction. So far the worst days of our lives as parents were the first 15 days after our baby was born. Trust me there are no words to define the sinking feeling of getting discharged from a hospital sans your baby. And when someone stops you at the immunisation queue and asks why is your baby so small? My little human is six now.
Ours was a planned pregnancy and I had a very lovely family to take care of me and later me and my infant. It wasn’t easy. The sleepless nights and the inability to understand what a little human’s needs is indeed a dilemma. So, do I regret having conceived relatively late in my life? No, because it was my choice to embrace motherhood when I felt ready for it. I think I wouldn’t have been able the handle the crisis that I endured any better at a younger age, and being unprepared for it would have only made matters worse.
What matters most is being prepared
It is said that women are born with all the eggs they will ever produce so even if you don’t look your age your eggs don’t get younger. As you age the quantity and quality of your eggs deteriorate. Therefore, your ability to conceive the old-fashioned way also goes down the hill too.
Some of the common issues women face if they choose delayed motherhood are miscarriages, chromosomal issues such as Down Syndrome, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, low birth weight, cesarean delivery and so on. Other preexisting conditions that a would-be mother also affects may also affect the odds of her getting pregnant and carrying a healthy baby to term.
If you see the odds they are not in favour of women ever. Yet, we have plenty of examples of women embracing motherhood later in their lives with no medical complications.
Besides, is biological pregnancy a be-all and end-all of motherhood for women? Not in the 21st century. Today if you are biologically unable to have a child then along with adoption there are fertility treatments and options like IVF available.
The most important thing about motherhood is not when you embrace it, but whether or not are you 100 percent committed to parenting. There is no abandoning halfway. There is no choice of having second thoughts. Conceiving and delivering a baby is the most talked-about aspect of parenting but the years that follow matter even more, but remain the least discussed. They shape your relationship not just with your child but with your partner as well. So it has to be a joint decision.
One of the advantages of embracing motherhood later in life is that maturity that comes with age and experience equips you better for the task. Women can use their 20s to sort their financial stability which can then help them focus fully on motherhood without having to worry about money matters.
Starting a family is a thing of joy at whatever age you do it. Old mom or not but being pregnant should always be a matter of choice and you should never let go of it.
The views expressed are the author’s own.