Mature moms are on the rise, as career women find successes in both conquering the boardroom and the nursery. Amid common concerns such as pregnancy complications, balancing tiny toddlers with aging parents, and reaching their golden years alongside their kids’ milestones, federal data shows that women in their late thirties and forties are actually more likely to have babies now than at any time in more than four decades.
Among American women ages 40 to 44, birthrates have hit their highest point since 1967, data recently released by the National Center for Health Statistics reveal. While new moms of a more advanced age are escalating, birthrates sank to record lows among teens and women in their early 20s in 2011, the data shows.
Among American women ages 40 to 44, birthrates have hit their highest point since 1967– National Center for Health Statistics
Some older mothers say they were too restless to have children as young women, according to the LA Times, “Others said they hadn’t found Mr. Right or were absorbed in careers that allowed little time for family.” Surprisingly, the trend is a return to bygone eras not a departure from it, according to the newspaper, “Older motherhood is hardly unprecedented: Fortysomethings were likely to bear children in the 1940s and ’50s, as many women had the last of their three, four or more children in middle age. As the baby boom petered out and birth control expanded in the late 1960s and ’70s, the numbers plummeted.”
Though a two income household a necessity for most families to get by, the United States is one of the few countries in the world where new mothers are not legally guaranteed paid leave, according to the World Legal Rights Data Center. “For most women, having their first child later in their careers means they’ll earn higher wages,” economist Jane Leber Herr found.
University of Virginia economist Amalia Miller agrees, and has that calculated that for every year a woman delays motherhood, she makes about 9% more in lifetime earnings, the Times indicated. “A decade of delay could mean nearly doubling her income, Miller has extrapolated — a windfall that makes it much easier to buy all those diapers.”
Lorri Herman, who used to run a $30-million business in the fashion industry, “remembered waking up at 5:30 to call her New York office and phoning in lunch orders beforehand to save time” she told the Times. At forty-seven years old, she left her business and became a mother, adopting a child.
“If you want to have the success that I had, you will sacrifice your family,” Herman said. — Casandra Armour