More women than ever are waiting to have kids.
If there seems to be a lot more new moms who touch up their roots and reminisce about 90s sitcoms, here’s why: According to data just released by the CDC, the rate of women having babies in their 30s and 40s continues to increase, while births by women in their 20s declined and teen births plummeted 9 percent last year, hitting a record low.
Having a baby later in life definitely has some challenges—you are more likely to have a complicated pregnancy and delivery, and that endless reserve of energy you had in your 20s may be somewhat depleted—but there are plenty of reasons to embrace being an older mom.
You Have More Options for Your Work Life.
When you’ve been in the workforce for a decade or two, you’re more likely to have a solid career, a network of supportive coworkers, and more opportunities for flexibility than if you’re just starting out. “I had been working at the same company for more than 10 years when I got pregnant,” says Alex, a mom of one from Long Island. “I had already proven myself many times to my boss, so when I asked to work part-time for the rest of the year, she was willing to make it work.” You’ve also had all those working years to stash away some savings if you decide to stay home or take an extended maternity leave.
You’ve Had Plenty of Time to Take Notes.
“By waiting until my mid-30s, I had the benefits of watching my sisters parent five kids before I had one,” says Randi, a mom of one from Brooklyn, New York. “I got to have lots of aunt time, and I really knew more of what to expect when I had my own baby.”
You May Be a More Chill Mom, Raising Better-Behaved Kids.
One recent study found that older moms are less likely to scold and discipline their kids, who in turn have fewer social, emotional, and behavioral problems.
The Retired-Nana Bonus.
If you’re lucky enough to have your own parents living nearby and still healthy, they’ll likely be eager to help with their long-awaited grandchild. “When I had my baby in my 40s, my mom, my aunt, and my mother-in-law had all retired and were completely available to help,” says Lisa, a mom of one from Connecticut. “If I’d had him when I was younger, they would have all still been working and childcare would have been a lot more challenging. This way I was able to continue my home-based business while not worrying about who was going to watch the baby.”
Wild Oats? Already Sown, Thanks Very Much.
“My husband and I had done a lot of traveling and had plenty of adventures before we became parents,” says Sally, a mom of one from Colorado. “It made both of us feel like we were so ready to finally enter the parenthood phase of life—nearly 20 years later than some of our friends!”
You May Live Longer.
Sure, you started a little later, but according to several studies, women who have babies into their 30s and 40s have a greater chance of living to a ripe old age than those who began earlier. Then you’ll get to be the doting grandma!
You Stop Sweating the Small Stuff.
“I had my fourth child at the age of 41, and I definitely parent him a little differently than I did my first three,” says Angela, a mom from Virginia. “I realized that things I thought were so important when my older kids were little weren’t that important after all. I didn't feel he had to be potty-trained or learn his colors by a certain age—I knew it would happen when he was ready. I also learned not to worry about what other parents think about how I parent. In the long run, all that matters is my own values and how I want to raise my kids."