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Being an older or younger parent

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Being an older or younger parent

ALL mums need more love and no judgement. Why age is just a number.


Whilst women in their thirties are told to ‘get a move on’ and start a family, younger women are urged to ‘enjoy life’ before stepping into parenthood. It seems there’s no doing right for doing wrong when it comes to your age and becoming a mum. 

Here we’re exploring the judgements faced by older and younger mums. And why, when it comes to loving your little one, age really is just a number.


Older Mums


The average age of mothers in England and Wales has continued to rise steadily over the last 20 years1, with one in five births being to a mother aged over 352

But at what age are you classed as an older mum? Whilst there’s no hard and fast rule, discussions around increased risks tend to reference those mothers over the age of 35.

The questions you might have as an older mum


No matter your age, worrying is a natural part of parenting. But what particular worries and questions might you have if you’re over 35?

Will I have enough energy?


There’ll be times when you think you don’t, but this has nothing to do with your age. Despite what other people might tell you, tiredness isn’t the sole domain of older parents. Particularly if you’re fit and healthy.

Babies require a lot of your time and energy. You’ll need to draw on your reserves fairly regularly to keep up with those 3am feeds and energetic, lightning speed toddlers! But rest assured that parenting is as enjoyable as it is tiring, so try not to let this worry you. 

Am I too old to be a mum?


Spoiler alert: NO! There are so many unhelpful phrases out there to describe mums over 35, ‘geriatric mum’ being the least fair of them all.

Sometimes, becoming a mum might be more challenging from a fertility point of view, but age isn’t a barrier when it comes to providing your little one with all of the love they need3.

Will I fit in?


You might worry about being the oldest mum at your ante-natal class, or in the playground. Maybe you’re dreading being surrounded by mums who appear to be back in their skinny jeans, whilst you’re still wearing your maternity ones.

As we’ve discovered throughout our #LoveDontJudge campaign, everybody has their own experience, and it’s not likely to be the polished one you see staring up at you as you scroll through your Instagram feed. You can see more about what the media are saying about #LoveDontJudge here.

Am I selfish?


Absolutely NOT! If you’ve waited until you’re a bit older to have a baby, that's your choice.

Maybe you’ve worked hard for a career you love and weren’t quite ready to put that on hold. Perhaps a certain level of financial stability was important to you before having a baby, and so you’ve been working hard to achieve that. It might simply be that you’ve been enjoying the life you’ve been living and just weren’t ready to become a parent.

In some circumstances, you may not get to choose the age at which you become a parent. Some women have been on their own fertility journey, meaning that things might be taken longer than they may have planned. The fact that you can never know everyone’s personal story makes it even more important to love, and not judge.

Whatever your reasons, they’re YOURS. Feel free to own them in the knowledge that if you’re proud of yourself, then your little one will be too. And theirs is the only opinion that matters.

Will my pregnancy be any different if I'm over 35?


If you’re a woman over 35 embarking on your pregnancy journey, there are a few things worth considering.

Firstly, the older you get, the less fertile you become. According to the NHS, your chances of getting pregnant after one year, between the ages of 35-39, are 82%. That’s compared with 92% if you’re aged between 19-264. Secondly, you’re more likely to have a multiple pregnancy5, so be prepared for double the cuddles!

There are other things to think about too. After 35, there’s an increased risk of6:

  • Being offered an induction.
  • Giving birth via C-Section.
  • Miscarriage, particularly in women over 45.
  • Conditions such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.
  • Premature birth and a lower birth weight.
  • Chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome.

It’s important to know that the majority of older mums give birth to happy, healthy babies. Ultimately, if you’re healthy, and haven’t experienced difficulties in any of your previous pregnancies, then it's unlikely that you’ve got anything to worry about.

The questions you might have as a younger mum


Younger mums carry the same level of doubt as every other mum. So just what kind of  things might be playing on your mind? 

Am I less capable?


If you’re concerned that you’ve got less life experience, or that you haven’t had time to establish a career, try not to let that be a cause for worry.

Instead think about the life lessons your and your tiny tot will learn, together. Every day you’ll be acquiring new skills and adapting to new and exciting situations. These are the kinds of things that will help shape your own future, as well as that of your little one.

How will I cope financially?

 

If you’re a younger mum, you might be worried that you haven’t settled on a chosen career path. However, your baby won’t be a baby forever. Just because you’re becoming a mum at a younger age doesn’t mean that the door is closed to you. It just means you might be walking through it a little later.

We’re not going to pretend that this isn’t a valid concern. But remember that what your baby cares about is how much you love them, and you can’t put a price on that.

I’m going to be on my own


Becoming a parent is a big deal. You might be feeling isolated because you’re the only one of your friends to have a baby, or worried that family and friends will judge you for the choices you’ve made.

It’s not uncommon for mums of ALL ages to feel as though they’re missing out on friendships, opportunities and their social lives. But you’re not on your own.

Why not talk to your GP, midwife or health visitor? They’ll have a wealth of resources to help you feel better about things, and can point you in the direction of baby clubs and classes if that’s something that you’d like to explore. And if you need a friendly chat or a bit of advice, you can contact our C&G baby club careline.

ALL mums need more love and no judgement


Whatever your age, there’s no doubt that your parenting journey will come with ups and downs, highs and lows and good days and bad days.

Do your best to accept help when it’s offered, and take any opportunity to rest and have some ‘me’ time. You can always take some time out each day to simply down tools and snuggle with your baby, which is really what it’s all about.

Older mum or younger mum, we’re all navigating the same swings and roundabouts. So remember, when you next blow out the candles on that birthday cake, nobody's counting.

  1. Office for National Statistics (ONS). Births by parents’ characteristics in England and Wales: 2016 [Online]. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/livebirths/bulletins/birthsbyparentscharacteristicsinenglandandwales/2016#average-ages-of-mothers-and-fathers-have-continued-to-rise. Accessed: March 2021.
  2. Tommy’s. What happens if I’m pregnant over the age of 40? [online] 2020. Available at: https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/ask-a-midwife/what-happens-if-im-pregnant-over-age-40. Accessed: March 2021.
  3. National Health Service (NHS). How long does it usually take to get pregnant? [Online] 2018. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/trying-for-a-baby/how-long-it-takes-to-get-pregnant/. Accessed: March 2021.
  4. National Health Service (NHS). How long does it usually take to get pregnant? [Online] 2018. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/trying-for-a-baby/how-long-it-takes-to-get-pregnant/. Accessed: March 2021.
  5. Tommy’s. Multiple Pregnancy [online] 2020. Available at: https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/multiple-pregnancy. Accessed: March 2021.
  6. National Childbirth Trust (NCT). Pregnancy and birth for women over 35 [online] 2018. Available at https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/tests-scans-and-antenatal-checks/pregnancy-and-birth-for-women-over-35. Accessed: March 2021.

Take a look at how we’re committed to #LoveDon'tJudge


At C&G baby club, we love, we don’t judge. For us, parenting is all about doing what comes naturally to you and following your instincts. Explore some of our other articles that will help you do just that as we #LoveDontJudge, together.

The #LoveDon'tJudge Community.

Explore our wonderful community hub of parents and families who are doing things the right way - their way. You’ll find top tips to help you do what’s right for you, and a wealth of information to help you find the confidence to just be yourself.

Learn more about how we’re calling time on parental judgement.

Learn more

#LoveDontJudge. A community calling time on parental judgement


The C&G baby club community are embracing everything love and calling time on all forms of judgement.

Discover how other families and the media are supporting our #LoveDontJudge campaign.

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Ready to stop worrying about what other people think and do what feels right to you? We’ll give you the support you need to follow your instincts and enjoy parenthood to the max:

*Weaning is recommended at around 6 months. Please speak with a healthcare professional before introducing solid foods.

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Ready to stop worrying about what other people think and do what feels right to you? We’ll give you the support you need to follow your instincts and enjoy parenthood to the max:

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Tips from real parents

*Weaning is recommended at around 6 months. Please speak with a healthcare professional before introducing solid foods.


Want more support in doing things your way? Explore our articles

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