How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society
August 7, 2013
This was a very interesting article about the “new older parenting”: when women (and their equally older spouses/mates) are postponing the age at which they are having their first child. The primary reason for many of these women is that they have chosen the path of education (college or advanced degrees), having a career and saving financially— before having children.
For many of these older women, various reproductive therapies must be used to get pregnant. The combination of the use of drugs with a woman’s older age (* first child born to a mother over 35), unfortunately comes with an increased risk of premature births, birth defects, learning disabilities, autism, Down Syndrome; amongst other challenges. Many of these older couples end up having less children all together than their younger counterparts.
Many of these older couples are also part of the sandwich generation: caring for young children and older parents in need– at the same time. Ultimately, this article argues that postponing childbirth (for whatever reasons) comes with increased difficulties for families and society as a whole.
Even though we think of the world’s population soaring, there are a number of countries that will have far more older people in the future than young people (they will not fully replace their population and some governments have offered incentives to increase the number of babies born- for example Russia). Younger people are needed to both financially support their seniors (through various taxes/governmental programs) and support them physically (ie, checking in on mom and dad as they age).
On the other end of the spectrum, when people postpone the age at which they have their first child, they may end up dying while their children are still relatively young- still in their mid 30′s or 40′s and in need of mom or dad. (Yes, adults still need the help and guidance of their parents).
On a personal note, I went to graduate school to be a social worker and then only worked three years. I chose to end my career and have my first baby at age 27. I have chosen to postpone my career… having my third and last child at age 33. It meant sacrificing a career I loved and sacrificing many years of financial income. This time as a stay-at-home mother will soon be over. I will have many more years to work and I don’t think I will ever regret my decision.
This article delivers a fairly strong debate against older moms having babies (and questions what can be done by governments and the job force to help support young moms who what to work and have children). Certainly, there are many success stories- of healthy babies and happy families that rejoice at finally being able to have a baby. What is your opinion?
For more on this insightful article, full of terrific information, click above.