This is a guest post by Alvina Lopez who is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.
In America it is very common to have children relatively early and I suspect this is even truer in the Southern states where I live. It wasn't uncommon for some of my high school friends to have children right after they graduated and some friends became pregnant even before finishing school. Now however many women are waiting longer and longer to have children. To my mind this is a good thing as child-rearing requires an insane amount of maturity. But for those who want to start or add to their family relatively late in life, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Keeping physically fit is extra important.
For those of you who had children when you were in your twenties or early thirties you may have taken it for granted how much energy it takes to raise a young child simply because you had ample stores of energy yourself back then. If you are planning on having a child late in life be sure that you are physically fit and energetic enough to spend all those sleepless nights awake caring for little Junior.
2. Understand the risks of late pregnancy.
If you are intent on having a child after 35, listening to the risks of late pregnancy can be a little bit of a downer. While the 35 plus mothering demographic is the most rapidly growing child-bearing group, it is important to know that your child has higher risks for certain diseases and complications and this doesn't just include birth-related risks like higher rates of miscarriage. Children of older mothers have much higher risk of diabetes and if the father of the child is over 40 at conception the child is at a much higher risk of manifesting schizophrenia and other genetic disorders. A Times Online article gives more information
3. Ask other siblings how they may feel about having a new sibling, especially if they are older.
Having a child is always a decision that involves many people but when you are younger it is a decision that should be thought out carefully by two people—yourself and your partner. When you have other children, you have to consider how older siblings may feel about it, as well as grandparents, and more.
4. Understand the social anxieties that you and your child may experience.
Although I absolutely love my parents and am grateful that they waited till they were financially and emotionally stable to have children, I can speak from first-hand experience that having parents who are much older than you can present moments of awkwardness. Growing up, my friends would always mistaken my folks for my grandparents and, especially when younger, it was disappointing that my parents couldn't practice sports with me. Another anxiety that many children of older parents have is that they will pass away prematurely. This of course is a very real fear, something all older parents ought to consider.
Overall, I am a big advocate of waiting until you are older to have children. Still, biologically the best child-bearing years are in one's twenties and early thirties. While modern science is making it easier to have healthy children later, don’t jump on the having children late in life bandwagon until you've carefully considered your decision from all angles.