At age 40, the disadvantages of having a baby are both long- and short-term. In the short term, you'll be dealing with physical issues. In the long term, you'll be facing social issues. These issues are not insurmountable, but only you can determine if you're willing to face them, no matter how sweet the payoff.
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It's harder to become pregnant when you're age 40, according to the March of Dimes. The group notes that half of all women 40 and older have fertility problems. The March of Dimes also notes that pregnancy risks increase significantly at age 40. For example, a 40-year-old's risk of having a Down's Syndrome baby are 1 in 100, compared to a 30-year-old's risk of 1 in 1,000. Miscarriages also increase with age. At age 40, there's a 35 percent risk of losing the pregnancy. Pregnant 40-year-olds are also more likely to have complications such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and stillbirth.
While it's true that many women are waiting to have children, the average age of a first-time mother in the U.S. was still just 25 in 2009, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Whether or not it's your first child, the reality of having a baby at age 40 is that you'll be older than most of the mothers in your child's world. You'll likely be the oldest mom volunteering in class, the oldest mom among your kids' friends, and you'll be a grandmother's age when your child graduates from high school. Ask yourself how that will make you feel and how it will make your child feel.
Being an older parent also comes with long-term disadvantages. Consider that you'll be 70 when your child is only 30.You won't be around for your child as long as she may need you. Plus, you may not get to see your grandchildren and you certainly won't spend many years with them. You will have to prepare your child early for the possibility of your death, since your risk of death increases as you age.
Finally, think for a moment about how having a baby at 40 will affect you personally in the years to come. The older you get, the harder it will be to do anything that's physically and emotionally demanding. Do you really want to crawl around on the floor with a little child in your mid-40s? Will your knees be able to take it? Do you want the stress of an argumentative teenager in your mid-to-late 50s? Will your heart be strong enough? Will you have the energy and strength to endure the non-stop work and worry of parenting a child? If the answer to all of the above is yes, then buckle down, get in good shape and prepare for the ride of your life.