I’ve been very curious about this new phenomena in America- having kids after 30. While I look around at my friends who have kids and are my age, some of them are almost done with their parental duties. I see 37-year old moms like myself who have 13 and 14 year olds. They are almost done! Me, though, I am just starting out. I wanted to find out whether I was the rule or the anomaly. Did I wait too long to have kids or are more and more new mommies in America over 30?
I had to do some research and found that since 1990, the face of new mommies in America has shifted. For example mothers in 2008 were more educated and older than those mommies two decades ago. (1) More and more women are considering these days in vitro and other fertility options, and not necessarily with partners – women are adopting and having babies without marriage or a partner. Also, homosexual partners are deciding to adopt or have children as well. This significantly changes the face of the American mom or dad. I do not think any of these changes are a bad thing, I am simply amazed that two decades can make that big of a difference!
Two decades ago, women over 35 were less likely to have a child than a teenager, but now that has shifted. In 2010, more and more babies are born to women over the age of 35 and less and less to teenagers. This may be a result of better education on issues like birth control, abstinence, and sex ed. in schools and at home. Moreover, as a result of better education, and better birth control, it seems that even women in their 20s and early 30s are waiting longer and longer to have kids.
Of course, it is also a sign of the times. As we evolve as a people, with advanced medicine, advances in technology, it is no wonder that we are becoming more selfish as a society too. There are so many constraints on our time with TV, media, technology, and social constraints that more and more women are waiting until they are done with school, established in their careers, and frankly, just have a better handle on their lives, especially balance in their lives, to have kids. More and more couples are also choosing the path of no children but decide to have pets instead. After all, there is just too much to do, let alone raise children and feed more mouths. This is a decision I also celebrate because it is important for everyone to make the right choice for their lives and lifestyles.
I got these statistics from this article at http://www.livescience.com/health/american-moms-older-more-educated-100506.html.
•The percentage of teen moms and moms over 35 has just about flipped. In 1990, 13 percent of births were to teens while 9 percent were to women over 35. In 2008, the percentages were 10 percent to teens and 14 percent to women over 35.
•The percentage of single moms grew from 28 percent in 1990 to a record 41 percent in 2008.
•More than half of moms, 54 percent, had at least some college-level education in 2006, up from 41 percent in 1990.
•Birth rates for women aged 35 to 39 increased by 47 percent, and rates for women aged 40 to 44 increased by 80 percent over the time period.
•The overall number of babies born has remained relatively stable, rising from 4.2 million in 1990 to 4.3 million in 2008. The country saw a dip in the total number of births coinciding with the recent recession.
Of course, these statistics are interesting to me. Even among my friends, I am one of the few that is married and has kids. Then, among the people I have met in my groups like Bunco, Mile High Mammas, I may be slightly behind the power curve but not by much. It just depends on which group I am with. In my professional life and among my best friends, it seems that everyone had kids later in life or are still waiting, and among other groups especially mommy-type groups, I am the anomaly (i.e. had kids too late). So, again, there is no right age or wrong age but I just know I am exhausted. I cannot imagine having a kid in my 40s or 50s but women are doing it more and more and doing it just fine! I say whatever choice you make, just stand by it and be okay with where you are because the new face of Mommies in America is not the same as it was for your parents’ generation or their parents and it is changing very rapidly- who knows what the new face will be in another decade!