I turn 38 this year, and I have a three month old! Sometimes that really weighs on me. I play this game where I start to figure out how old I will be at different milestones in life. Holy cow! I will be 43 when I drop my younger daughter off at kindergarten and I will be 56 when I drop that same kid off at college 18 years later. My mom was retired at 54, but I will be buying a pappazan chair and jaffa blocks for a dorm room.
I am literally tired thinking about it; maybe it is because I could be pushing forty and a double stroller walking around Disney World in two years. Funny thing is I am part of a growing trend of women who had their first children when over the age of 35. Delayed childbearing in the US is evident in the 3.6 year increase in the average age of a woman’s first birth between 1970 and 2006. The dramatic increase in women having their first birth at the age of 35 and over has played the largest role in the increased average age of first-time mothers. Glad I could be a part of pushing that average age WAY up! In 1970 the average age of a first-time mother was about 21. In 2008 the average age was 25.1.
Most days I am not really cognizant of my age. Ironically I suffer from this delusion that I am the same age as every mom I meet, even those significantly younger than I am. When I dropped my first daughter off at daycare and met the other moms, I smiled, chatted them up and made friends because we were all first time moms and had lots in common. I didn’t think I looked any different until my husband pointed out that some of the moms were much younger than I was. WHAT?!?! They are? “Um, yeah, how old do you think they are Lisa?” he asked. I stopped in my tracks and thought, “Crap! Some of these women are almost ten years my junior.”
Is there a perfect age for having that first baby? Probably Not. I am definitely at the older end of the spectrum, and I have dealt with some of the challenges that come with that choice, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Just be a dear and help me carry my daughter’s stuff up three flights of stairs when we arrive on campus in 2031. I might need a hand.
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