First of all, despite what you hear about Nicole Kidman, Madonna and Holly Hunter, women do indeed have a biological clock, and attempting motherhood at or after 40 comes with dangers and risks. Namely, that less than half (44%) of 40-year-old women will get pregnant and have a baby within a year and half of all pregnancies over 40 end in miscarriage. Oh, but there's IVF, right? Over the age of 43, more than 95% of those trying IVF have the procedure fail. Still, as Jeremy Laurence says in The Independent: "It's not an easy choice, and there are no easy answers. But if you really want a baby, there may be no time like the present." Easy for him to say! Not everyone can be like Erin Rexroth, who's featured in the Washington Post today. She's 27 years old and has a 21-month-old daughter. Not many college-educated twenty-somethings have children: Only 13% of men and %31 of women, reports the paper.
So what is a single woman of (OMG) 35 to do? My mother was 23 when she had me, so I'm clearly not following in her footsteps. Then again, it's not like any of my closest friends have kids either. Anna asked me if I worry about being "too old." [I asked her nicely! Also: I am the same age. -Ed.] And my answer was: Only when I have to read stories reminding me that I'm too old! What's really infuriating is when doctors accuse women like me of "waiting." Like I'm just sitting here, daydreaming, waiting to get knocked up. Doctors in these articles love to say that the body didn't evolve to have babies so late. It's science. Science yes, but science that ignores the social and cultural forces at work. What if you're working on getting the rest of your life straight? Or haven't met the right guy? Or have the right guy but not enough money? Or have the right guy and money but aren't emotionally ready? Are you just supposed to have a kid anyway? Is the "wait till the time is right" attitude actually an unrealistic yearning and a spoiled-brat mentality? And is a woman who decides she can't wait any longer — and gets knocked up before conditions are "ideal" — really doing what's best for the baby? Not biologically, but logically?
Late motherhood: Why babies can't wait [Independent]
Bringing Up Babies, And Defying the Norm [Washington Post]