Age, Acceptability and Children

caprice pregnantI was reading how Caprice is overjoyed with the news that she is expecting at the age of 41, which I have to say is pretty awesome.  However in the eyes of society when does having children not become acceptable anymore?

I am genuinely interested because I had my first and only at the age of 31 which for me at the time was ideal.  I was in a stable long-term relationship, me and my husband were financially stable and the timing was right.

However in reality bringing a child into the world doesn’t have to conform to a tick list of requirements or a scheduled timeframe.  Some women are very lucky in terms of conception and can fall straightaway, others agonise each month after month in the hope that the pee stick acknowledges a blip (by no means trivialising).

It seems in today’s society that women are choosing for whatever reason to start a family later in life. This could be driven by not finding the right partner, career based expectations/commitments, no real maternal urge or a host of other reasons. When I had my daughter I was considered to be a mature mother, which made me smile at the time – yes ok I wasn’t a spring chicken but in the same light I wasn’t over the hill either!

So having a baby in your thirties is now more acceptable as women especially tend to focus more on a career, travelling or actually having a life, which certainly wasn’t the case when my mother had me or in the generation that preceded that.

So having a baby in your forties… well the more media attention that is channelled towards women in the public light deciding to start a family or extend their family at this age – or maybe older, can only be positive. Ok so yes you have to weigh up the health risks and more precautions and tests may need to be taken, however why not?

I guess the fantastic mechanics of the female body provide the indicators as to how old is too old for natural conception, but until then if you are a mature woman considering having children then age might possibly be a consideration but certainly not a limiter.

I had to go for a contraception assessment with my doctor a few weeks back and sitting there in the room I must admit that I felt like a 16 year old going for my first talk about pregnancy and precautions etc.  What was interesting is, as all the options were presented to me (for a woman of my age) the topic of planned pregnancy entered into the conversation. As a few of the contraception had long-term fertility implications and words such as uterus linings and womb thinning started floating in my head I was thinking oh shit too much information!  What brought me back to earth with an indignant thud was the suggestion that at my age I was assumingly not going to be starting a family in the future so my decision for contraception could include x, y or z.  I have to admit I was quite taken back, by the remark and retorted with….. Well! Another child might be a consideration in the future ….who knows!

But…..it did make me think, am I too old to have another child?  Circumstances change so much that life plans made even six months ago have become distorted.  What if a new partner wants another child and doesn’t have one of their own? What if a new partner is younger? What if I want to indulge again in that most marvellous of all experiences in terms of carrying another child?

Sigh! It all seems so simple when I write it down and there must be other women that share my very same concerns and dilemmas?

The bottom line I guess is, if that’s what you and your partner want, age shouldn’t be an issue.  Life isn’t like a ready-made picnic, and where the decision to try for a baby is concerned yes there are considerations and issues at any age and that’s the responsible element weighing up the pros and cons.  In today’s society naturally or scientifically there are usually options.  Is age a barrier I would argue to an extent – no! Perception by society could however be yes!

Every situation is different, everybody’s reason to bring a child into this world will be different and we as women are all different.  Therefore we shouldn’t be dictated to or frowned upon for making an informed choice about having a child or another child.  For me, the thought of clearing up more Polly Pocket plastic toys and crawling around on the floor setting up Lalaloopsy campsites has kind of numbed that immediate urge, but you know what – never say never!

Image reproduced from parentdish.co.uk

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About Sharon Yull

Sharon Yull is an academic, researcher, business consultant and published author of over twenty business and computing books and publications.She is qualified with a BSc, MSc, HND in Business and Finance, PGCE, Fellow of the Institute for Learning and also an Associate of the Assessors Institute. Sharon enjoys reading, swimming, outdoor pursuits, theatre, music and travelling. She is an inherent romantic always there to offer support, guidance and a shoulder to cry or laugh on.
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