A Blessing, Not a Burden: The Benefits of Being an Older Parent

The case for celebrating later parenthood.

The case for celebrating later parenthood
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Gorman Newman advises women who want to become moms later in life to keep an open mind about the path that may take. "There's more than one way to become a mother," she says, noting, for example, the prospect of adopting a slightly older child from foster care. "At the end of the day, it's really up to the universe what's going to happen for you." In any case, "later-in-life moms are some of the most grateful moms I know."

At around and after age 40, Curtis says the ability to conceive starts to diminish and advises anyone considering pregnancy at that age to talk to her doctor if she hasn't become pregnant within three to six months. He also advises that older women prepare for pregnancy by first addressing other medical concerns, like getting a mammogram or adjusting medications, and taking a prenatal vitamin to do "everything you can do to maximize having a successful, healthy pregnancy." As to the father's age, Curtis said the data linking autism in children to older fathers requires more evidence. But if you want to be a dad and you're approaching 50, "it's time to get moving," he says.

[See Trouble Trying to Conceive? This May Be Why.]

Apart from that, enjoy the magic of this experience. "Pregnancy does not happen that many times for us in our lives," Curtis says, noting that expectant parents can "get hung up on the scary things, the difficult things, and I encourage people to realize what a miracle they're involved in."