Pregnancy after 35

***UPDATE*** Be sure to check out the encouraging comments on Facebook, too!

I’ve so enjoyed the discussions generated on our last two topics, Ideal Child Spacing, and When to Start a Family, that when a reader emailed the following question, I offered to ask it here.  This, again, may be a difficult subject for some, but I think there is much value in getting perspective from many different angles, and that is what my readers have to offer!

I am now 35, and had two healthy and happy pregnancies and boys at age 30 and 32 (almost 33).  I want number three!  My husband is on the fence.  Thirty-five means high risk is an OB’s book.  I would be late 35 or 36 when I have a baby.  On one hand we want a third, but I get scared of the risks of birth defects as they increase with age.  I would love a baby however God created it, but a special needs child would change our family and what we could give time-wise to our boys.

Are we greedy by wanting a third at age 35/36, and should we just count our blessings as they are?  I know there were risks when I was 30 and 32 too, but for some reason the 35 scares me more.  So I have to ask, because you’ve divulged your age on the blog a few times, and I think you were about 35 when had your fourth and 36 shortly thereafter.  Did you think about the risks before getting pregnant or just knew you wanted a fourth and trusted in God that he wouldn’t give you more than you can handle?  Did you think, there are risks and we’re willing to take that chance?

I am otherwise healthy and not overweight, but the dr said those things don’t even matter with chromosonal birth defects — it’s solely based on age.  I knew I wanted a third and in retrospect should have tried last summer but with our youngest 1 1/2 at the time life/the house was still too crazy, or so I thought at the time.  Thanks for any insight!

Such a great question, and one I feel completely and totally unqualified for!  Here are my thoughts, anyway:

  • Our fourth baby was born just 2 1/2 months shy of my 36th birthday.  When we got married just after I turned 24, our plan was to have 4 children by the time I turned 30.  God had other plans. 😉
  • I honestly never once thought of the birth defect issue when trying for our much prayed for #4 (or any of our other children, for that matter).  Which, looking back, is quite surprising, because I tend to be a worrier.  The thought just didn’t occur to me, and I’m glad I didn’t have those concerns.
  • Count your blessings as they are?  Yes.  Absolutely.  But…
  • No, I do not think you are greedy at all.  Children are a blessing, whenever they come and however perfectly God chooses to form them. On a personal note, we still felt strongly incomplete with “just” two children, but I know that we are very much in the minority with that.  (again… another post for another day)
  • I don’t know the statistics, but would concerns about chromosomal defects prevent us from trying for another child?  Most likely not.  And definitely not as much as being exhausted from the four we already have would.  😉

Your turn, readers.  Again, I know this is a touchy subject.  I know that some of you are blessed beyond your wildest dreams with beautiful, perfect children who may have a chromosomal defect in the world’s eyes.  I also know that those of you who generously share your thoughts and perspectives in this discussion will do so gracefully, and I thank you.


  1. When I talked to an OB about it….she said that basically at 35 the risk of having a baby with special needs is the same risk as having an amniocentesis. It levels out about then…..

  2. After having four children, we didn’t think we were going to have any more. Eleven years later, SURPRISE!!!!! We had two more children at the age of 45 and 46. Both are healthy and extremely bright. In fact, our son was born with the cord around his neck three times and the cord partly dried up. The midwife was afraid he was going to have brain damage (she didn’t tell me that until much later in his life). Of course, at 13, he is a straight A student. He also teaches Sunday School in his Jr. High class. No brain problems there. We are truly blessed from God.

  3. My thought is if God blesses you with a child (no matter your age) God had a reason and purpose for their life. Just keep praying and God will give you the answer. God will only give you a child if you and your husband are meant to have another. Just trust. 🙂

  4. Melanie says:

    Just wanted to share that my husband and I adopted our 2 boys. (both young when they were adopted.) Now one is on the autistic spectrum and the other is getting tested for a different disorder in June. We both want a 3rd either our natural or adopted (at age 33). Just yesterday I was talking to my friend about how shelfish I was for wantin g a child who did not have a disability. But if asked would I change anything and my decisions about adopting my boys if I had only known what I know now! Absolutely NOT! The love you have for a child does not change, you just adjust how you raise that child. I also said to this friend would it be fair to this child who did not have a disability to bring him/her into a house with 2 children who have a disability. she told me that this child would be better off in our world becasue he/she would have a love, understanding, and tolarance for people who are different. And in todays world that is needed more and more! (crying my eyes out when I write this.) So I still want a 3rd. no matter what.

    • “The love you have for a child does not change, you just adjust how you raise that child. ” Yes. Thank you for that!

  5. When I met my wonderful husband 11 years ago, we knew that we’d each found our forever person. We discussed whether or not to have a child, because I was 41 and time was of the essence. We decided that no, we didn’t need to have a child; I had 5 and he had 3 and we were secure in our love, didn’t need to prove anything, etc. God had other plans for us. I had my son in the middle of my 43rd year, and I had all the usual concerns, and it seemed to me that there was a media blitz at the time concerning older mothers and the risks. Our little boy is AMAZING. He is physically and mentally perfect, he is kind, well-adjusted, thoughtful, and loving. I call him my best surprise ever.
    We have friends who have had a child/children later in life, and I think we have a lot in common. Mostly, there is a tremendous patience that is not necessarily there at younger parenting ages. Our son, although he is technically the youngest of 9 children, is essentially an only child, but since my husband and I are experienced parents we are able to raise him responsibly, with an appropriate amount of discipline and a sense of balance that prohibits the usual excesses (spoiling) of “only” children.
    The effects of pregnancy on an older body is a different matter. Giving birth at 43 1/2 jump-started menopause in my case, but whose to say that wouldn’t have happened anyway? It is also MUCH more difficult to lose weight after a “certain age.”
    All things considered-I would ABSOLUTELY do it all over again. My son is such a blessing in our lives that I could never imagine our life without him in it.
    I highly recommend reading the blog “Antique Mommy.” She is a wonderful writer, and also gave birth to her son about the same age.
    Lastly, 35 is still YOUNG!!!!!!!!!!

  6. My husband and I met each other in our mid-thirties. After several years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive, we turned to IVF. It did not work for us. Two months after giving up, we received quite the surprise. At the age of age of 41, I was pregnant. I gave birth at the age of 42 to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I called her my miracle from God. We wanted another child but my cycles didn’t regulate after stopping nursing. After a visit with my OB, I went on medication regulate so that we could try again. 3 DAYS LATER was I ever shocked to discover I was pregnant again. This time, my beautiful baby boy was born 2 weeks before my 45th birthday. With my girl, I had no worries. I feel God let me know early on that she would be healthy and the pregnancy would be fine (I had miscarried 9 months earlier). With my Levi, I did have some worries initially, but I prayed to God for a healthy baby and knew he would not give me more than I can handle (although being 47 with a 2 year old little boy sometimes I wonder LOL!!) Good luck and God’s blessings on your journey!

  7. I just had my 7th child right after turning 41. Three of my children were born after 35. My one son does have a major heart defect but age had nothing to do with that.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Your concerns are so understandable…I’m expecting #3 soon, about 2 months after I’ll turn 35 (I was 30 w/#1 and just turned 33 with #2). We knew we wanted another baby and felt confident in God’s perfect will whatever that may be, namely in the timing and the health of our baby. We even opted to not do the testing (for down’s and such) after talking with our OB. In talking with my OB, he encouraged us to keep in mind that statistics do go up at age 35, but most significantly increase after age 40. Even still, he reminded us that statitics also show fewer number of women giving birth after age 40, which naturally would increase the numbers of children born with problems. I would encourage you to continue to pray and trust God, knowing that His will is perfect. He is full of compassion and promises to hear and answer our prayers when we walk faithfully in His grace and mercy with pure and honest motives.

    Many blessings!!

  9. Suzanne says:

    Check out this wonderful lady’s comments on having children as an “older” mom. It’s called Large Family Mothering. She had her most recent child well into her forties-45, I believe. Here is where she talks about that.

  10. It seems like such a trivial matter. Who are doctors to say that 35 is too old? Or that the risks are really that much greater. All pregnancies pose some risk of having a child with special needs – it’s not just an older age thing. If you want another child, and God grants you the ability to get pregnant…then there should be no worries. Yes, different things could happen, but all is in God’s hand.

  11. My mom had 11 kids; I was #6 when she was 32, so several of her children were born after the age of 35. There were no health issues until after she turned 40. Then the youngest had to have heart surgery at 4 months of age, and we found out later that she was also missing one kidney. After that experience, my mom decided she was too old to safely have children, so she stopped. My personal goal is to be done by the age of 35, or somewhere thereabouts, but I don’t think badly of anyone who has children after that age (unless their children continue to have serious defects).

  12. I am *only* 31…our first child is almost 10 months. We both would love a household of children…but we had 2 years of infertility before we conceived and were told we needed medical intervention to conceive. Little did the doctors know…our God is bigger! We had Evan with NO medical intervention and he is such a blessing. Now when I think about our age and the time it took us to conceive, I sometimes worry about whether we will be able to have the 4 or 6 children we would love to have…but that is in God’s hands! If we had NEVER had children, that would be ok because that is His will for us. If we have only one and never have another, that is ok, too! We are open to his leading for adoption or any other way to bring a child into our home…I would just pray that God’s will be done. He teaches us so much through our trials and life experiences.. During our infertility I learned so much about trust and now that we are starting to think about more children I have to remind myself that the need for trust is still just as important and still commanded by God! Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart! That is not to say we get “whatever we want” in Christ, but I believe he not only grants desires, but places the desires in our hearts in the first place if/when our wills are aligned with his.

  13. Gods plan for our family was different than ours was when we first were married – we tried for 8 years before having our first child and then another 7 years went by before we were blessed with 3 more children. I was 38,40 and then 41 when our fourth was born. We were so overwhelmed with joy that we put it completely in his hands and all three of our children were born “normal” according to the medical community. I was considered a high risk mom and they wanted me to have all the testing done so I could make a decision if need be – I cried out to the Lord and He ended up sending me to a different ob dr in the same clinic and he heard our hearts and said he was totally fine without testing and supported our desire to have the children God would send – we had a great experience thru it all and again, after 18 years of marriage and wanting children we were blessed with four healthy children. We are celebrating our 30th year of marriage this year and our children will be 11, 12, 14, and 21 – not what we had planned when we were first married but I wouldn’t change it for anything – I can honestly say that with age comes wisdom and I feel I am a better mom at 53 than I was with my first at 30. Just always remember that God has a plan for our families and we have to trust His timing in all things – even our children. God Bless Sharon

  14. My Mother-In-Law had my husband when she was 42 and went on to have another healthy baby 2 years after that as well. I am so grateful she continued to have children because my husband is the world to me. I know she would agree on how amazing and special he is too. 😉

  15. Jessica says:

    A friend of mine is 33 and just found out that her baby has Turner’s Syndrome. Everything in life is a risk. We have to weigh those risks every single moment and pray that God will guide the decisions we make and bless them. Even if you have a healthy baby, it doesn’t mean that something won’t happen or that they won’t develop something later on. Life can change in the blink of an eye. My husband and 3 of his 5 sisters have crohn’s disease. Obviously there’s some hereditary issue going on there. Things happen, but would I rather that he have not been born? Nope!

  16. I have no personal experience with this but my main advice is pray, pray, pray. I truly believe every family’s choice is different and not necessarily wrong. At this point in our lives, we don’t feel led to have a huge family. I’m 21 and we have one child so I will probably not have kids in my 30s at all. Every family’s path is different and I honestly have no real answers for you. My mother in law had two boys with autism and it wasn’t because of age. My sister in law has a boy with heart problems and she has 6 kids and she’s only
    28. Hopefully you can make some sense out of this somewhat incoherent answer ;).

  17. I was 25 when I had my third child and she was born with tuberous sclerosis. I wouldn’t give up even a single day with my child. That being said, the doctors said this was a fluke and we have the same risk as any other couple. We would love another child, I am only 31, but right now we are scared to death. I think it is just the luck of the draw. Somebody once told me God does’t give you more than you can handle and I believe that ‘s true.

  18. Joyce Mlinek says:

    Don’t let the doctors scare you. Trust God!! Young women in their 20’s have miscarriages, babies with issues, etc. The doctor’s knowledge is very limited and they change their opinions every 10 years. Believe me I know as I am 60 years old and have 4 children. The fourth, by the way, was a beautiful daughter, now in college, who is the joy of our lives. After our third child, the “doctor” thought that we had more than enough and convinced me I needed to have a tubal which I did and he assured me that it would take God to get me pregnant again (which I thought at the time that God is perfectly able to do that). As soon as I had it done I realized it was a mistake but it was done. Several years later, 9 to be exact, God did give us a 4th child through in-vitro fertilization. She is perfect and we love her beyond measure. God is able to out-perform anything man can do. Any child is precious in His sight. We would have loved our daughter no matter what and you will too. Go for it and don’t look back. You will be glad you did. God knows what He’s doing. James 1:17

  19. Marilyn says:

    I had my last child at 46! I have had 4 children over the age of 35! I also had three miscarriages. They were disappointing, sad and difficult. I still love these children. Not all of our chlildren are perfect as the world sees them. Are there risks? Anytime we love there are risks. I actually know more moms with special needs children who were in their 20s than their 30s or 40s. My husband and I have placed our trust in God to determine our family size. He has totally exceeded anything we had hoped for or imagined! Some moms (and dads) have shared with us they wish they would have had more children when they had the opportunity. They see now they would have been able to afford them, they certainly had the love for them and they feel empty now that the gift has been taken from them. Our fertility is a gift. Our chldren are a gift and a blessing. It is ultimately up to us – will we listen to the world or our heart? It is never greedy to desire a child. The greatest gift we can give our children is a sibling.

    • “Some moms (and dads) have shared with us they wish they would have had more children when they had the opportunity.” Yes! I’ve heard this, too. To live with that regret would be so sad.

  20. We’re sort of in the same boat and have had discussions with our OB. She said more people under 35 have children with chromosonal issues (downs syndrome, spina bifida etc) than those women 35 and older but that is because a lot more women under 35 are having children to begin with. The PERCENT is higher the older you get, but again the overal number of children born with chromosonal issues is less since less women 35 and older are having children. As I’m typing this the response seems so lab-like and cold, but I wanted to share what my OB explained to me.

  21. Kathleen says:

    I was 31, 33, and 37 when I had my children. With my youngest, I was concerned about being older, but knew that no matter what, I would care for that child. An amnio would not change anything, so I did not have one done. It might have prepared my mind, but I didn’t know if I wanted to have risks associated with the amnio. My mom was almost 38 when she had my youngest brother, and he is a strong, smart man now. But I will agree with the previous poster that the toll on my body was much more when I was older. Good luck to you!

  22. I posted on FB, but reading some of these posts has pushed me to posting here, too.

    We had our son when I was 27 after two months of trying. He has all sorts of developmental delays (possibly high-functioning autism or extremely mild cerebral palsy) and the doctors/therapists have no idea why.

    We have been trying for the past 4+ years to get pregnant again (I also had a miscarriage at 12 weeks last year). We are now looking into adoption and possibly adopting siblings, but we are continuing to try to have another baby as well.

    Until my miscarriage, I didn’t want to have a baby at 35 or after. I don’t really know why, but 35 was that magic cut-off number for me. When we kept not getting pregnant, I’d think that we couldn’t have three kids anymore because I wouldn’t be able to have two more babies before I turned 35.

    Now that 35 is staring me in the face – if I got pregnant now, I’d be 34 when the baby would be born – it doesn’t seem too old or scary. I mean, I still have a son to raise, why not another? I’m still active and don’t have any medical concerns!

    My husband and I have decided (as we work through our grief and healing) that our miscarriage was sort of a wake up call from God. My husband has health issues that need to be addressed that might have stayed on the back burner and we feel like we would never have considered adoption without having experienced the miscarriage and infertility. The possibility of having a special needs child is not really a concern for us … we already have one and if that is what God sees fit to give us, then so be it. Obviously that can happen at any age.

    If you don’t feel like your family is complete, then keep trying! I truly regret now waiting two years after our son was born before trying again. I *knew* I didn’t want just one child and I knew our family wasn’t complete, but I didn’t want to be pregnant again. And now it’s been almost five years. However, if I do get pregnant and we adopt two siblings, I could be a mom of four when I’m 35! 🙂

    • I’m so sorry you’ve faced miscarriage. But yes, sometimes it can be a wake up call to accept the blessings when they come.

  23. I haven’t read all the comments above. But here’s my take on the question and a bit of my story. I was almost 30 before I got married and both of us were in the midst of finishing college degrees – not a good time to start a family. I was 35 when I got pregnant with my FIRST child, 36 when he was born. I spoke to an OB who specialized in high-risk pregnancies and honestly, wasn’t concerned about the risks. God blessed us with a very healthy baby boy. On the other hand, when I would be 38 when the 2nd was born I became very concerned. So, we did the genetic counseling and the amniocentesis our OB had suggested. And we found that there were no issues. And God blessed us with a very healthy baby girl. With the second I did the amniocentesis knowing that no matter what the outcome, I would carry this baby full-term. But we also wanted to be mentally and emotionally prepared for any major health problems. There are a wealth of organizations out there ready and willing to help you prepare.

    So here’s my advice… If you want a 3rd child and hubby is on the fence, set up a meeting with an OB and/or genetic counselor to talk through the risks – and be sure hubby goes too! I suspect you’ll find that the risks are lower than you thought.

  24. I don’t know much about late pregnancies but I do remember talking to my doctor about someone else and my doctor said that if you have your first at 35 or older there is more risk but when you have already had kids and then have another at 35 or older the risk is not as high but yes there is the concern for a downs baby or other issues like that. That being said is I would be willing to have a 3rd after age 35.

  25. I’m 34 and just had my third, but I want at least one more. My two girls are so excited about their newborn brother; the blessing is not just for the parents but for the siblings of each little one! I’ve heard that the statistics about possible birth defects get a bit twisted depending on who wants to get their point across. . . . And my last two cents: my mom had seven children, and her last was born when she was forty. He is the tallest, brightest, most outgoing, and most ambitious of us all at age 25, the epitome of my parents’ child-raising efforts (probably benefiting from what they learned by whatever mistakes they made with the first six!).

  26. charity crawford says:

    Don’t think about or listen to what the “world” says it is mans way of thinking..Pray and tell God your desires and think on what God’s word say “Children are a blessing” and that “God is the giver and taker of life” God does things in his timing he knows whats best… We should never prevent God from giving us another child should that be his will. Look at the duggers and the bates for example they let God lead!

    • Looking to the world for answers regarding having children is definitely not the way to go. Thank you for that reminder. 🙂

  27. I had my last child 18 years ago. I was 33 years old. She was born with Down Syndrome. I had prenatal testing and was told everything was fine.Was it a shock…yes. Were we devistated…yes.Did I question God….yes. My prayer while carrying her was that she would be healthy…she was, that she would have 10 fingers and toes..she did, and that she would give and receive joy…she most certainly does.I guess what I’m saying is God doesn’t turn his back at the time of conception and ALL children most certainly are gifts that bring challenge as well as joy to our lives .

    • “God doesn’t turn his back at the time of conception and ALL children most certainly are gifts that bring challenge as well as joy to our lives .” Yes, yes, yes.

  28. I could (and may one day!) write a book on this topic, but not here and certainly not now! I was married at (almost) 26 and we were blessed with our first sweet blessing (girl) just after my 27th birthday and our second (boy) 19 months later. We were young and busy and poor by the world’s standards, but felt quite well-off in so many ways. We hadn’t talked much about having a third, but the Lord was speaking to both of us and wooing us into a different way of thinking. This was just the beginning of my really listening to the leading of the Giver and I was “sore afraid”. For a number of months, I just listened and waited and one morning standing in front of my bathroom mirror I thought I had heard enough. With my toothbrush in my mouth, I said, “Lord, do You know who this is? This is ME! I still throw temper tantrums. I speak without thinking. Do You know what You’re asking of me? And if You do, I’ll remind you, I’m not who You think I am!” I didn’t know it, but my husband had not yet left for work. He quietly came into the bathroom, wrapped me up into him and said only, “He spoke your name before your mother gave it to you, before the sun you love set for the first time. He knows.” I had not shared with him what I believed the Lord was laying before me. He didn’t even think I had lost it hollering at myself in the mirror? But, oh, God is so good…He was whispering the very same words to my husband. “Trust me. Trust me in ALL things.”
    Our third (son) was born on the hottest day of my 32nd year, our fourth (daughter) just after Valentine’s Day 18 months later. We waited (and prayed for whatever blessing/heritage the Lord chose to give or not to give) 6 long years ~ by this time, I was almost certain the Lord had forgotten me again ~ for our fifth (son), born one month before my 40th birthday. And our baby (boy) will be 3 this summer. I was 43 when he was born. I’m 46 now; the children are 18, 17, 13, 12, 6 & 3 and when asked if we’re finished yet, I simply reply, “I’m not the one to ask.” 🙂 I’m often humbled to the point of tears that He chose me to be the mother of 6 of the least of these. What would I have missed ~ what life would not have been lived ~ had He not loved me enough to soften my heart and tame my will?
    Lots of my friends are grandparents (oh, may it be so for me also!), I still throw away my temper (do we ever really “lose” it?) more frequently than I would like, but He is still good…and I still hear His whispers of “Trust Me” more than a few times a day. Nearly 2 decades later, He knows I need the constant reminder.
    “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…Children are a heritage from the Lord, a reward from Him. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” (King Solomon)
    So, blessings dear friend as He writes your story. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you may overflow… (hope + trust = joy & peace)

    • * As a matter of practicality, I’ll add that we did not opt for any of the genetic testing (TrustMe spoke clearly on this one), but we did have a few pretty high-tech ultrasounds with the youngest.

    • charity crawford says:


    • What a beautiful story! Thanks so much for sharing. (And yes, you should absolutely write that book.)

  29. I had our first son at 24 years old. We wanted a very big family. 11 years of infertility followed and now we are finally expecting our 2nd son 4 days after I turn 36. In those years the emptiness of our “incomplete” family hurt so deeply that there is nothing but gratitude for this upcoming miracle! I feel strongly that God often works with us through our desires. Wanting another child might just be God’s way of turning your heart to him and trusting he will do what is best for you and your family. Good Luck!!!

  30. I agree with what the other comments have said as far as trusting God in this regard and you certainly are NOT being selfish for wanting more children.

    Because it’s a topic near and dear to my heart, can I ask if you have considered expanding your family through adoption? What I don’t know about how God works far outweighs what I do know about him but maybe in your hesitancy and searching he is turning your heart in another direction. It’s just a thought – please understand that I am in no way minimalizing your desire to have another child.

    Whatever you decide, know that we serve a great, powerful and loving God who hears you and knows you and wants to glorify himself through you and the lives of your family.

    • So it’s me…the question asker up there at the top of these comments. 🙂 I have thought about adoption but admittedly only for a few seconds. My husband at this point says no to that. I got married at 29 and we had no difficulty in conceiving our first two children. I know that’s not a guarantee in easily conceiving a third, but for some reason my husband and I do feel that if we’d try it would happen pretty easily like the first 2. I know God has a plan for all of us, and at the same time I feel the need to balance that with being a wise steward of what we’re given and making wise/smart/practical choices for our family. Thanks to the commenters above for all of the encouragement!

  31. shermarie says:

    We had our third child when I was 38 and my husband was 43. I didn’t feel old until the doctor kept saying “at your age…” when ever he talked to me. Our other children were 9 and 6 at the time. Our son was definitely planned. I’m now 39 and feel younger now that I’m not pregnant. I felt that someone was missing from our family. I knew that we would never regret having a child but I feared that I’d regret not having one. I did worry about his health but we trusted that God would take care of him and of us. We didn’t do any genetic testing because it wouldn’t have change any of our decisions. We did go to all the extra, expensive ultrasounds to make sure he was safe and I’ m glad we did that. The fluid got dangerously low a month before he was born and we wouldn’t have known if that had not been monitored. Bed rest did the trick and he was a full term healthy baby. We often talk about how blessed we are to have our three and how we almost missed this sweet little boy.

    • “I knew that we would never regret having a child but I feared that I’d regret not having one.” Yes! This is what I tell people who are wondering about having more children. You will never regret that life once he/she is here.

  32. I have seven children, two of which were born after I was 35. I would gladly have another or even a couple more if that is what God wants. I do not believe it is a selfish desire to have children after 35.

  33. Since I had preeclampsia and a 29 week preemie at age 33 “well before” the magical cut off date, I was a nervous wreck the second I took a positive pregnancy test for our second child. My husband is a slow to process kind of guy. I knew I could not deal with the shattering news of something terribly wrong in the delivery room AND knowing that my husband would behave/feel/think in a way that baffled and angered me. So while my OB did not attempt to sway me one way or the other I opted for the amnio. I had to leave and return a few hours after my initial appointment because the pocket of fluid tested needed to be away from baby’s head…just in case he got stuck, better to get stuck in the butt. This certainly heightened my anxiety. But once we got the results (healthy) I felt so much better. If we’d gotten bad news we’d have had ample time to investigate our community’s options, my husband could wrap his head around it and I would have had the emotional support I needed by the time the baby arrived. Now that I am trying to get pregnant and will be at least 38 at birth (hopefully it won’t be older) I am much less stressed about the chances of problems. One of my grandmothers had a baby at 41 in the 50s and the other was 35 in the 40s. If I had focused more on that I think I’d have been a bit calmer during the first half of my second pregnancy. The bottom line is there are no guarantees. So you just have to go with what feels right for your family. You are definitely not selfish to want to love another child!

  34. Carolyn says:

    I can’t speak of this from a mother’s point of view – I was 30 when my twins were born – but I can speak of it from the child’s point of view. My mother was 37 and my father 40 when I was born. My older brothers were 14 and 11. While I was a small baby (6 pounds) it was more likely because my mother smoked throughout the pregnancy than it was due to her age. There are definitely pros and cons to having older parents. Both parents said I “kept them young,” but with my dad having premature white hair (a family trait to be pure white before age 30), they were almost always mistaken for my grandparents. That probably wouldn’t happen as much now, but when I was a teen, it was embarrassing for all of us. As older parents, they were able to provide more materially and experience-wise for me. I had many more advantages than my brothers did, which was a blessing for me but definitely a source of sibling rivalry over the sense of “unfairness” in our different upbringings. I also was pretty spoiled (girls were a rarity in our family – I only have 4 female first cousins out of 23 total), and have to be careful not to slip back into old “entitlement” thought patterns once in a while. The biggest thing, though, is that my father died from cancer when I was 15 and he was 56. My early teen years revolved around Dad’s treatment and hospitalizations. That pretty much made me determine not to have children after age 40. I knew I didn’t want to be trying to finance retirement and college at the same time, and I wanted to be young enough to enjoy my kids’ teen and early adult years and subsequent (hopefully!) grandchildren. My mom suffered from arthritis badly and by the time my children were born when she was 67, it was hard for her to be able to play with them once they got mobile and into the toddler/preschool age. My kids never really knew her when she was healthy enough to do things with them. (On the upside, their paternal grandfather – the only living grandparent – is 80 and hasn’t slown down yet!) I know a lot of this is family dynamics and health issues that not everyone will have to deal with (and yes, some parents have health problems or even unexpectedly die at even younger ages), but it was important to me to have children at an age that would allow me to not only be an effective parent when they were little but also when they were older. Ultimately it’s a personal decision between you, your husband and God. He provided for us during my father’s illness and death, my years with Mom as a single parent, her illnesses and subsequent death and now my years as a single parent, and I have no doubt that He will continue to do so. If He chooses to bless you with a child – no matter what the age – He will provide for you to care for him/her, disability or not.

  35. I just want to chime in with all these women’s stories. My husband and I got married when he was 32 and I was 28. My story is that I had five kids from 31-38 (My kids currently are 9,7,5,4,2). I love it! I’m busy from the time I wake up until I go to bed. But, what fun they are! I wouldn’t trade them for all the money or possessions in the world! They truly are a blessing!

    The only differences I found between pregnancies at 31 and after 35 is that when I was 35 with my third baby my family Dr wouldn’t see me because I became “high risk”. I was referred to an OB. The OB wanted to do an amnio; however, I don’t like needles – especially in my tummy where the baby was, so I politely refused. :0) (Kind of sad, considering I was Group B with all five and had needles during each labor. Argh!) The “over 35” OBs I went to would do a second ultrasound when the baby was bigger to make sure the baby was growing proportionately. If the babies hadn’t been growing correctly, they would have done more tests. Other than that, I really didn’t find the pregnancies any different.

    Was I worried about being “old” and giving birth? Yeah, kind of. But, really it’s all in the Lord’s hands anyway. I’ve seen young parents have children that have special needs and I’ve seen older parents too. I don’t think 35 is a “magic” number, where all the sudden at your 35th birthday your body becomes older. I think the medical community just has to point to an age where they take extra care and caution for those Mom’s above it. And, kudos to them! I liked knowing my Drs cared about my babies and their health.

    Did we stop having kids? Yes, our last baby was when I was 38. I personally felt like my body was wearing down after having babies every 21-24 months for 8 yrs. :0) The Dr said I could keep going. But, I didn’t feel like it was true. I think you will know your body the best.

    And, really and truly, make sure your husband is on board with another baby. You don’t want him to be resentful that he wasn’t part of the decision. (My handsome man would have taken 10 more. :0)… But, he understood my worries.) If your husband’s not there, pray that the Lord would calm your heart and give you both wisdom on His will for your family. Sometimes, when there isn’t harmony in the decision, the Lord is either working to help you come into agreement or He has different plans than you know.

    Jeremiah 29:11-12 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

  36. I had my first child at 27 and my youngest when I was 40 1/2. My older child was born with autism and my youngest is healthy. There’s a risk at any age but the joy that children bring is overwhelming and worth it.

  37. We got married when we were 29. We had fertility issues and it was five years after we got married that I delivered twins at the age of 34 (3 weeks before my 35th birthday). I had my 3rd child (2nd pregnancy) 22 months later and my 4th child two and a half months before turning 40. I never had any tests done to see if there were any abnormalities. We both agreed that I would deliver the baby regardless of what tests showed. I also thought the same as you: I wanted a baby that was “normal”. I also felt selfish for feeling this way,but decided to go for it. I thought: What ever happens, happens, we will get through what every comes our way.”
    We had 4 “healthy”, “normal” ( as my family would say) babies. I am so glad we decided to try to get pregnant after the age of 35, because , I know that I would have had regrets if I didn’t. I had to do what I felt was right, regardless of what others thought and that included even what the doctors thought. I didn’t want to get married at 29. I wanted to get married sooner, but the right guy just didn’t find me until then, I didn’t want to have my first baby(ies) at 34, but that is just what happened. I do feel complete now. My husband wants more kids, but I think my body has had enough. Good luck with whatever you and your husband decide.

    • Because of our infertility, we had our first baby at 28. My sister’s husband didn’t find her 😉 until she was 30. Sometimes things just don’t happen on our schedule. But they *do* happen on God’s schedule, and that is comforting.

  38. Katherine says:

    Keep praying about it. My husband and I got married at 37, and had our first with me just 2 weeks shy of 40. Now we are awaiting our second and I will be 43. It is scary to think of the risks but comforting to know God is in charge. We’ve had the first trimester screening and that came back normal with me being age 28 in the risk category. Age is only one part of it.

  39. ok here goes…i was 41 when i had jordana. she is *20 years* younger than her brother nick. (when people give me THAT LOOK, i just say new husband, new baby) she has multiple disabilities, yes. NONE were age related ALL were related to cCMV( if you are not familiar with it you NEED to be!) i believe that you are given the child you are supposed to have, that the child CHOOSES the parents. when asked by my FRIENDS who are having empty nest feelings if they should have another child at age 40, i say no. not because of the possibilities of in utero damage, but the whole ” i feel like i am gonna break a hip trying to keep up” thing. the body remembers what to do, it is true, but it certainly does not bounce back like it did before. not from pregnancy or delivery or breastfeeding or contorting whilst trying to catch a slippery little one. motherhood after 40 is not for the faint of heart, weak of spirit, or frail of body. my thoughts go out to all of you who are doing it, or considering it.

    • “that the child CHOOSES the parents” I like that. You’re not given anything you can’t handle, but I can’t imagine that it would be easy. (Actually, it’s not easy for me at 36!)

  40. So did this questioner have a third baby????? I wasn’t pregnant when you posted this. It took 20 months to get pregnant with #3. The first month I truly felt like it’s not going to happen and I don’t feel crushed is, of course, when I got pregnant…in May. My cut off was August because I wanted my baby born before 40. SO, #3 will born when I’m 39. I felt pretty OK about birth defects. I was neurotic about #2 at a week before turning 36 and he was perfect. My OB was totally laid back about #2, but more concerned about #3 so I did the amnio again and all is well…it really does relieve some worry stress and allows time to get your after care ducks in a row. But I am NOT particularly healthy!!! Pregnancy seems to come with additional aches and pains each time, I’m more tired, and have more obligations, less rest time. I had severe preeclampsia the first time, controlled with drugs blood pressure with #2 and again this time. But now I have gestational diabetes too. I have a much better attitude and am happy to be pregnant and I’ll miss the good parts (kicks and such), but wow it’s a lot harder.
    And as far as spacing goes…my first 2 are 28 months apart. I think that was pretty ideal. My last 2 are much farther apart. They’ll be just over 3.5 years apart. So during my most difficult part of pregnancy my son is in the thick of the 3 year old crazies. I think my pregnancy makes me deal more poorly with his trying behavior and his trying behavior makes my pregnancy feel worse. Obviously you have no control (I tried for 20 months) but I think getting the new baby born before the last one turns 3 would be nicer on the older mom’s body, stamina and mental health!

  41. Eileenika says:

    I’ve just turned 36. Married 15+ years. First daughter at a “cash poor”23, son 15 months later I was 24. After watching many of our friends and family wait til their 30’s to start families we were enjoying our tweenagers. People always inquired if we’d have more children and I always said, if I have one I’d do two boom boom again- not really how I speak but I always had that impression. 11 years later The Lord spoke loudly to my husband and I on the way to have surgery to have a fibroid removed. We were driving, literally on our way; going to have a tubal ligation done at the same time and God put it on both our hearts and lips to not do it- and to trust Him and have another baby. So, at a financially advantages 34 I conceived and delivered a perfect darling princess just weeks after turning 35. We are now giving TTC a chance again. Pregnancy and fatigue were physically much rougher at 35 than 23- so kinda knowing it’ll be exhausting, but I’m a prayer warrior and champion and will glorify God in all I do because of His love and mercy! I receive gladly what the Lord assigns me. I won’t do tests for advanced maternal age,because it wouldn’t change any of my choices. So now I’m looking at having 13, 12, 1 and a hope and prayer and I’m thrilled at the possibility. I’ll have my “bigs”and “littles”. I know I have NO reservations about our attempts. I am confident that I can and will handle whatever the Lord blesses us with.

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