Debunking four common myths about women who have children over the age of 35…

1. Women who delay motherhood past age 35 are unlikely to ever get pregnant.

Almost 40% of all babies in the United States are born to women over 30, and almost 15% – 1 in 7 – are born to women 35+. Birth rates to women aged 15-24 have fallen significantly since 1970, while birth rates for women aged 30-39 have risen significantly.

SOURCE: CDC National Vital Statistics Reports

2. Women who do get pregnant after 35 put their children at risk.

“The increased risk attributable to mothers’ age appears to be one-half of one percent. Older fathers, often partnered with older mothers, have been linked to a somewhat higher risk. Not only has the risk of older motherhood to children been exaggerated, but the benefits have been ignored: For example, children’s test scores improve with each year of motherhood delay.”

SOURCE: Council on Contemporary Families

3. Older mothers do not have the health or energy to enjoy parenting.

Although all mothers have a spike in happiness around the birth of a child, this spike is particularly strong for moms who start their families after 35 and is not followed by the steep and sustained decline in happiness and satisfaction that occurs among younger mothers. Mothers who choose to delay childbirth actually live longer than other mothers, on average (due to a combination of physical vitality, better access to health care, and perhaps a will to stick around to see their children through).

SOURCE: Council on Contemporary Families

4. If you are pregnant over the age of 35, you must have had IVF.

Nope. 80% of couples conceive naturally within one year up until the age of 40. I myself conceived naturally at 46, and the more women I meet who chose to have children later, the more I learn how common this is. SOURCE: Lister Fertility Clinic

The incidence of women bearing their first child after the age of 35 is growing across the US and worldwide. By separating the fears from the facts, and by elevating the stories of women who become mamas in their middle years, we can help to normalize motherhood later in life.

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