Since Meghan Markle revealed her pregnancy news, there has been a lot of buzz regarding her age. At 37, Meghan is much older than most of Britain’s first-time mums.
Like Meghan, I fell pregnant at 37. Becoming a mum later in life was something that I’d always planned, with my career taking priority during my late twenties and early thirties. However, my decision was seen as unusual by many people. Prioritising your career over starting your family while you’re young still isn’t widely accepted within society.
Having children in later life carries a few negative connotations. First, many people are misinformed about the realities of falling pregnant at an older age, believing the risks to be worse than they truly are. This leads to a lot of misinformation being spread around to older mothers and causing unnecessary stress.
There were also negative stereotypes attached to older mothers, which I soon discovered as my son grew up. There is a perception of older mothers being over the top and extremely protective, which certainly isn’t true of myself and many other mothers I’ve known. Others might view you as being obsessed with work for choosing to dedicate time to your career rather than starting a family. Instead of being viewed as dedicated and hard-working, such mothers are viewed as being cold.
Having a baby at a later age was the right choice for me, and I’ve had no regrets over my decision. Giving birth at 37 gave me time to grow my career. Setting up my own company and reaching financial stability before raising a child put me in the best possible position to care for my son. I was also determined to be a role model for my child; I’ve always admired people who worked hard to become a success, and I wanted to embody these traits myself. Being focused doesn’t automatically make you a workaholic. I was always aware of keeping a work-life balance, and during my pregnancy, I made plans so I could continue running my business while still keeping plenty of family bonding time aside.
Some people told me that the baby and I would likely suffer from health problems due to my age. However, medical professionals assured me that although there was an increased risk, the chances were still not very high. Listening to the experts can save you a lot of undue upset! If you’re considering a pregnancy later in life, I can’t stress the importance of trusting your doctor enough.
When I eventually fell pregnant, friends would call me ‘lucky’ to have conceived at my age, and when my son was born healthy, I was called the same thing. I did feel lucky, but I think every mother does! It’s now been a few years since my first son was born, and I can fortunately say that my age hasn’t had any impact on our health. Overall, I’m grateful for the healthcare I received during pregnancy. The doctors and nurses really helped me overcome the fears that misinformation about older pregnancies created.
In my opinion, the biggest problem older mothers face is the way others perceive our situation. Stereotypes and judgemental comments have a huge impact on your self-confidence, which often affects the children when they start school. Bullying comments from peers about their parents’ ages can hurt their feelings, too. Despite this, I know I made the right decision for my family. It’s time to break down the stigma, especially as more and more women are choosing to pursue pregnancy in their late thirties and forties. I hope that Meghan’s pregnancy will gain awareness for this issue.