Parenting is challenging at any age, but look around you today and you’ll likely find more and more women opting to delay the experience to a later age. With social paradigms shifting to professional success for both women and men, parenting and pregnancy at 40 seem to have become the norm.
Source: Quartz Media
As the graph above indicates, more women prefer to have their first child after the age of 40. Further, according to the survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 83% of women choose to make their mark in the professional sphere before thinking about motherhood.
If you’re one of the women contemplating your choices between a successful career and kids, you’ll have a whole bunch of challenges to prepare for should you choose the former.
Can’t Women Have it All?
Yes. That’s the answer to the age-old question about having it all. You can balance kids and a career. There are tons of women out there who have handled both facets of their lives very efficiently. But, juggling work and family involves a whole lot of discipline and sheer hard work. And, many women feel that they would prefer to devote all their time and energy towards their careers without having to worry about nannies not showing up on time and arranging play dates. Ultimately, it’s a question of personal choice. To some extent, it may also depend on the kind of career path you’ve chosen to excel in.
Challenge No. 1 – Medical Aspect – Pregnancy at 40 Can be Complicated
As your doctor will warn you, pregnancy at 40 carries a higher risk of possible complications for both, mother and baby. Chances of miscarriages, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are much higher. Preeclampsia is a condition where the mother has high blood pressure to a point where it can cause damage to her other organs such as the liver and kidneys. You should also be prepared for having difficulty in conceiving because of fewer viable eggs and inadequate hormones in your body. Further, older mothers have a higher probability of delivery via C-section or having a premature birth. As for babies, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Down’s syndrome are some of the risks associated with having older mothers.
Challenge No. 2 – Financial Aspect – Having and Raising Babies Costs You
Once you cross the age of 40, you may need medical assistance with getting pregnant. Should you opt for in-vitro fertilization, you can expect to pay upward of $15,000 per cycle that insurance may or may not support. On the other hand, if you consider adoption, you may need to incur costs ranging from $10,000 and $40,000. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, raising a child can cost around $235,000 according to the estimates in the year 2017. Further, if both parents are working or you’re a single mother, you may have to spend between $1,000 and $2,500 every month for childcare support by hiring nannies or arranging for daycare.
Single mothers seem to find the financial aspect a more significant challenge. That’s because they have only one income coming into the family. For this reason, they may opt to delay having kids until a time when they feel economically secure enough to support a child. At the same time, they need to factor in the need for adequate savings in case of an extended illness and inability to work.
Here’s another practical factor to keep in mind. Even as you’re considering pregnancy at 40, you may realize that it’s also time to start planning for your retirement years. accordingly, you’ll have to make the decision of whether to divert finances towards setting up a nest egg or savings for a college education for your child.
Challenge No. 3 – Physical Aspect – Keeping Up Energy Levels
Declining hormone and energy levels makes it tough for older parents to keep up with the demands of an active child. As author Pamela Shires Sneddon notes, “The reality is, as an older parent, regardless of how I might feel, I’m kept from focusing on age-related aches and pains by the demands of those who assume I have limitless energy.” Keeping pace with soccer practice, karate classes, and softball games may be a lot easier if you have a decade or two less under your belt.
Challenge No. 4 – Caring for Aging Parents
Most parents juggling the demands of a career and pregnancy at 40 may also have to deal with their parents and other elderly relatives needing time and care. People around the age of 40 typically have parents aged 65 and above. Whether the elderly live independently or in assisted living facilities, they may need help with shopping, doctor visits, and getting around – all of which may cost time and money.
Overcoming these Challenges is Possible
Should you spend talking to the women who have gone through pregnancy at 40, they will tell you that it IS possible to overcome these challenges. For instance, under the guidance of your doctor, you can prepare your body carefully for having a baby. The right diet and exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive drinking can contribute to better health and energy levels.
If declining hormone levels are worrying you, find out about supplements that can correct the problem. The truth about hormone replacement therapy is that the plant-based medication can restore the low levels and assist you in getting pregnant. You’ll also have higher energy levels and stronger bones and muscles without the possibility of side effects.
As for the financial aspect, with careful planning and economical spending habits, you can plan for a future when you can raise your kids giving them the best of everything they need and also care for your elderly relatives.
At 20 or 40, parenthood and having kids is an incredible experience. Having carefully planned and prepared yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically to raise your kids, you may be better equipped to deal with every challenge that comes your way. Experts also talk about how older parents are more mature, patient, and have a larger store of experiences and wisdom to impart to their children. So, have your kids when you’re ready for them and enjoy every moment of your time with them.