In this day and age, it's not uncommon to find that a lot of women are in no rush to have a child. Between the economy, the job market, and just about everything else, it's hard to even imagine getting my own life together, let alone being responsible for someone else's.
So, when Reddit user u/flyweightbird asked, "Women who had their first child after 35, please share your stories." In r/AskWomenOver30, I knew it was going to be full of different experiences and insights:
Content warning: This post contains mentions of miscarriages and difficult pregnancies.
1."I had my one and only at 38. Hilariously, I conceived a month after I began assembling the paperwork to begin adoption proceedings. Real talk: I think the reason parenthood has been a real joy is because I spent my twenties and most of my thirties setting myself up for a good life, even if it didn't include kids."
2."I had my first child at the age of 38 and was pregnant within a week of going off of birth control. Where I live (a progressive small city in the US with a high education rate), having kids age 35 and older is very common. I don’t think any of my friends had kids prior to age 35. Maybe things are different elsewhere, but to me, having kids at 35+ seems totally normal."
3."I had my first at 35 and my second at 37. All of my friends have had their kids at 34–42 years old, and all of their kids are healthy. Also, I thought I was going to be 'the old mom' at daycare pickup. Nope. Everyone’s older; many seem way older than me. It seems to be the way things are turning out for our generation."
4."At 37, I stopped birth control and got pregnant in three months. I delivered a healthy baby without complications at 38. I got pregnant again at 39 after a few months of trying, but that was a miscarriage at six weeks. I got pregnant again last spring at 40 after six months of trying and am due this January."
"I have gestational diabetes this time around, but my baby is on track and looking healthy. I used ovulation strips and a period tracker for the last two pregnancies. I cannot imagine having a child with anyone else I dated before I met my husband. It took dating a lot of duds but he is a great co-parent."
5."I started at 33 and struggled through four years of IVF. All these anecdotes won’t help you because you don’t know if you’ll be like the person who got pregnant easily at 40 or like me. Your doctor can advise you on how much time you may have. Without this, you truly don’t know what category you’ll fall into."
6."I started trying a little earlier, but will be 35 when I have my first child (currently pregnant). I met my husband at 30, and we started trying when I was 33. It took a full year, with two miscarriages during that time. We had some testing done and no issues were found, and in general, we are both fit and healthy. I have many friends who had babies after 35."
"What I found difficult is that you don't really know in advance whether you're going to have fertility issues. Even for couples without fertility issues, it's normal for it to take six to 12 months. That said, I'm glad I never rushed the decision. I wasn't ready when I was younger. I don't know whether my miscarriages were due to age (the risks do increase), but if I could go back in time, I still wouldn't have started trying any earlier."
7."I had my first daughter at 21, and I just had my second daughter at 39 (I'm now 40, and she's six months next week). The second pregnancy was easier. I have way more patience; my labor and delivery were easier; EVERYTHING is easier this time around."
8."First child at 34, so a little less than what you were asking. I started a PhD program, got pregnant, and just kept going with my life plans. I had my second at 38, right when I was finishing up my PhD and trying to start a new career. I am very fortunate to have an extremely supportive partner who played his part in maintaining the home and dealing with the kids so I can have the career I want."
9."I'm pregnant now, at 39, with my first child. We started trying when I was 37. We tried for 18 months with no success — not even a chemical pregnancy. I ended up being diagnosed with unexplained infertility with a likely tubal factor. I had no reason to suspect this because I was at a healthy weight with really regular cycles and no endometriosis or PCOS."
I figured things would work out fine, but they did not. We ultimately had to go the route of IVF to get where we are now, over two years from when we first thought we would conceive. I wish I would have known sooner that I would struggle with fertility because I would have loved to have him sooner. The window for a second child is now way tighter and more tricky/urgent for us, thanks to the unexpected two-year delay. My advice for you is to see a fertility specialist and get your AMH, FSH, and AFC numbers tested now to understand where you are with regard to ovarian reserve and estimated fertility. If you have a partner you plan to reproduce with, have him tested as well. The sooner you know if there's a potential issue, the better your decision-making will be."
10."I had my babies at 35 and 37. The first took two years to conceive, and we never had any idea why (tests all came back normal). The second took one month. I didn’t have any complications aside from elevated blood pressure (I took a low-dose beta blocker and checked my BP regularly) and anemia."
11."I’m from the deep south, where having kids older is not common, and I had my only son at 37. It took me three weeks to get pregnant after I stopped birth control. It was a super easy pregnancy, and I got extra cool appointments for being older. I planned for years to save enough and be close to graduating with my Master's when I had him. I also made a massive career change when my son was about five or six months old."
"I was child-free until about 35 and needed to be. I’m glad I changed my mind. Having a kid is harder than anything else I’ve done, and I did not come from wealth or privilege. I waited until it was a conscious decision, and I had prepared 'enough' to make the decision. I was confident enough in my ability to succeed. I think that’s what made the most difference."
12."I had our daughter when I was 43. I wasn't trying; I actually knew that I was in peri-menopause. I hadn't had a period in a year. Suprise! I was much calmer and more settled to raise a baby at that age than I would have been any earlier. She is 22 now, and we are so happy to have had her. I never thought I would have the chance!"
13."I got pregnant at 38 while on birth control (so much for decreased fertility after 35), and my partner was 44. I had a pretty easy pregnancy, except for more doctor's appointments than someone younger would have, but I didn't mind because I got more sonograms done too."
"Labor and birth were super easy. Two contractions, six pushes, and three and a half minutes, and my little girl was out in the world. I had a small tear (the doctor said it was between 1st and 2nd degrees), and recovery wasn't bad at all. My daughter is now four months old and super healthy and happy."
14."My friends were posting about their grand babies while I was literally still breastfeeding! I had two miscarriages, then my kids at 40 and 43. No issues conceiving. My second baby was in the NICU for 10 days but was fine after that. You can do it! I am a much better mom than I would have been earlier."
And finally, this person shared a story that should give us all some solace in knowing that fate is always on our side:
15."I was told in my early or mid-20s that I was infertile. It devastated me. I got remarried at 34 to a man who already had kids and became a mom that way. But then, within six months of getting married, I turned 35 and found out I was pregnant. I had a gorgeous, perfect son."
Did you have kids when you were over the age of 35 and want to tell your story? Feel free to share your experience in the comments!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.