The downsides of later parenthood

Barbara Metcalfe loves being a mother, but she now wishes that she had her children when she was younger. She initially was a strong advocate for the position that older women made better mothers based on their patience, experience and financial security. Two years ago in a Daily Mail Online article, Barbara said she firmly believed that the advantages of having a child later in life far outweighed the disadvantages. Now, faced with her husband’s and her own declining health, she says she couldn’t have been more wrong – that in some ways she now feels it was “selfish” to wait until later in life to have children.

Barbara was 40 and her husband Peter was 48 when they had their daughter Thea, who was born with a severe hearing impairment. They were 45 and 54 when they had their second daughter Izzy. Now age 65, Peter recently had a stroke. At 55, Barbara recently had a hip replacement, and is afflicted with additional health challenges. Barbara worries that her daughters are too young to be faced with aging and ailing parents:

“I have resolutely revised the opinion I held so fervently two years ago. I was wrong. Older parents do not make better parents. If I’d had the choice — and I didn’t — I know I would have put my career on hold at 30 to have my babies. Because none of us — even the most hale and hearty 45-year-old — can know what is round the next corner.

And although I can never regret having my beautiful daughters, I seriously fear the day will soon come when they will bitterly regret the fact that we are older parents.”

Read more about Barbara’s story here.

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of older parenthood here and here. 

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