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Later Mamas - the Highs and the Lows...well, some of them

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"Ooooh, ugh, ugh, ow..."

Grunts and groans emanated from my daughter when she was around one year old and learning to stand up on her own from sitting or laying on the floor. As a first time mom with an active imagination, you can guess where my thoughts went.

"WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY BABY?!"

"Is she hurt somehow or in pain?"

"Is this the onset of Juvenile Arthritis?"

"Where's the Doctor's number?"

After my nerves steadied and I took a mental step back, I realized the simple truth. My little girl was making the same sounds she'd heard from me when I got up off the floor after playing with her!

I knew starting this motherhood thing at nearly 36 years old would bring its own challenges, but things were turning out to be different in more ways that I'd imagined. More and more women are becoming what I like to call "Later Mamas" by starting a family at 35 or beyond. Sometimes WAY beyond. In fact, there are so many of us joining the party later in life that we've helped change an average in the U.S. According to this article on BabyCenter.com, the average age for first time moms in America in 1970 {the year I was born} was 21. In 2008, it was 25.1.

Sure, I've heard the more technical terms, like "Mothers of advanced age", yada yada yada. That's just way too stuffy. I like Later Mamas because it sounds like we're hip instead of trying not to break one. And, I imagine one day that's what our kiddos will say to us, "Later, Mama!" Especially since I feel like I've blinked and all of a sudden we're headed into 2nd grade.

Here are a just a few of the highs and lows I've seen in my seven and a half years as a Later Mama:

  • We're more likely to have struggled with infertility or to struggle with it post first baby
  • But, we're also likely to be more stable financially and in our careers
  • It can be hard to relate with other moms who may be 10 to 20 years younger than us
  • We're more likely to be diapering a baby and caring for aging parents at the same time
  • Many of us feel waiting helped us to be better prepared emotionally to take on the responsibility of parenting than we would have been¬† in our 20's {VERY true for me!}
  • And, we're much more likely to be asked if the little beauty on our laps is our grand baby and then have to rely on all our extra "wisdom" to keep from shooting a glare or witty comeback to the deliverer of THAT little gem!

Are you a Later Mama? What special challenges do you face? What advantages do you see?

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