In the past, older moms* used to be, well, just old. In fact, sometimes we “evoked a feeling of dread and foreboding” in (presumed male) doctors.
*Before we go deep, let’s define what we mean by old: age 35+ (a la Sullivan, 1960 “elderly primigravida,” though he wasn’t the first to use this term)
And bonus, us old moms have some advantages.
Also, research suggests old moms are more likely to be “ready” to have kids (I mean, I hope so, if we’re this old? and also, how can you ever truly be ready?).
Parents age 23–34 temporarily experience increased happiness after the birth of their first child. But within a few years of parenthood, happiness declines to pre-birth levels. Good news, fellow oldsters. The first kid kicks your happiness into high gear — which remains elevated from pre-kid days.** For me, this seems true: I feel ridiculous, mushy, unparalleled joy. See it to believe it. Here’s an actual picture of me these days:
But real talk, y’all. Old parent problems are a thing. The physicality of motherhood is no joke. Just when you think you’re done with the physical demands of pregnancy, oh hello, motherhood.
Next up: the saga unfolds…
- However, this was longitudinal research on German and British families, so results might differ amongst American parents, especially considering the United States’ dismal lack of universal paid parental leave.
- Additionally, individuals with more education have particularly positive happy responses to a first birth.
- But it’s not all roses. Delayed parenthood reflects the systemic challenges that women and families face in the U.S. And, delaying parenthood can be biologically challenging.