I’ve been known to say that I think Nature got it wrong to make us so fertile in youth and have that period of reproduction end so early in life. True, the body ages and there are impacts to that.
Yet, I find that men who are ready to become parents do a better job. Even when we are ready, as I was at 18, we may not really be mature enough to understand the difficulties of life well enough to avoid unfortunate outcomes.
When I became a mother at 19, I could lay down on the floor and color with crayons in a coloring book with my daughter. I also did foolish things like partying with her in tow and we are both fortunate she survived my immaturity.
When my husband and I had sons late in life (he was 48 and 52, I was 47 and 50), we definitely had the maturity to put our children’s interest ahead of selfish preferences on our part. I have seen that my husband has been an excellent father and will drop whatever instantly when one of his sons asks for his attention.
Me, not so much. I’ll also admit I have had less patience with what seems utterly un-necessary than I did when I was so young. I have more wisdom too – for which I am grateful. I do think the hardest thing for me as an older parent has been learning to let go of that instant urge that mothers develop in answering their infants cries and let my sons “wait” a little bit as they get older for gratification of their demands.
Health considerations certainly were not given enough weight when we decided to have children late in life. It was a shock to realize I will be 70 when my youngest son turns 20. And my body is changing in the ways that aging brings, though I do my best to maintain the best health I am capable of.
For my second husband, he waited until we had been married 10 years to decide he wanted to have children. By then, we needed a lot of help and thankfully medical advances gave us enough to succeed. My husband needed to feel financially secure before he could commit to parenting. It was in 2001 and 2004 that our sons were born and our business was thriving then. Along came 2008 and the financial collapse and we’ve yet to recover. We have tightened our belts as much as we can as we have had to. We do worry about our future ability to adequately support this still young family (our sons as 15-1/2 and 19).
I suppose we have good management skills and we do about as well as most people in the parenting skills department.