According to the CDC, the average American woman is 26 years old when she delivers her first child. The same data tells us that, increasingly, women aged 35-39 are becoming pregnant for the first time. Our founder, Judy, is one of those women.
“I always knew I wanted children,” she says, very aware that a family was always part of her life plan. As Judy completed her PhD and worked to make a name for herself in the corporate world, it just took her awhile to find the right partner. She married her husband, Jacques, when she was 34 and they weren’t in a hurry to start their family at that point.
“When you’re a career woman, there’s never a great time to have a baby,” Judy says. “When you’re younger, you’re working hard to get ahead in your career. Once you’ve done that, well, then you’re working very hard, sometimes traveling.”
Judy stopped preventing pregnancy (stopped taking birth control pills) and became pregnant with her son, Javin, when she was 37.
Fellow Pittsburgher Daisy Miksch was 36 when her first son was born. She says, “My husband, Joe, and I didn’t meet each other until I was 34 and he was 38, so we knew that if we wanted to have children, it was time to try right away.”
Fertility was very present in Daisy’s thoughts when she was trying to conceive her first son. Now, pregnant with her second son, she says she worried about safe gestation and miscarriage. Moms like Judy and Daisy face rather unfriendly terminology during their pregnancies–“Advanced Maternal Aged” has morphed into “geriatric pregnancy”–but since both Judy and Daisy saw Certified Nurse Midwives for their pregnancies, they say their prenatal care for their pregnancies felt typical compared to what their younger friends experienced.
Daisy says, “The one possible exception is prenatal genetic testing, but Joe and I generally like to have all information available, so it’s highly likely that we’d have elected to proceed with that testing regardless of my age during pregnancy.”
Both women mention challenges with physical recovery from childbirth that may or may not have been related to their age, but emphasize that having young kids helps them feel young themselves. Judy, who originally hails from New England, was new to Pittsburgh when she started her family. She says, “All my friends are 10 years younger than me, so I feel 10 years younger than I am!”
Daisy agrees that her age does not seem to affect the friendships she’s made since having Jack. “My son’s age has played a role, but he and I both generally prefer a mixed-age environment. Some of my longtime friends have kids who are much older than Jack, and my newer parent friends are a mix of ‘old’ and ‘young.'”
Both Judy and Daisy talk about feeling very mentally prepared for motherhood as more experienced people. Judy says, “Jacques and I were also financially stable. We were able to take trips, owned our home, we were in a good position to start a family in that respect.”
In her 30s, Daisy felt confident knowing “a strong, healthy bond with your kid includes a compassionate, helpful relationship with your partner, and with yourself. You’re all in it together.”
Daisy says parenthood is always baffling, “but I’m more comfortable with being puzzled now than I would have been when I was younger, I think. I also really, really know, at this point in my life, that this is exactly what I want. This is the life I want, and I’m so happy to have it.”
Did you wait until your 30s to start your family? Leave us a comment to share your experiences.