Given that in India the average marriage-age for men is 26 and 22 for women*, and in rural regions even earlier, the median age at first pregnancy is 20. In Western countries the average age for women to have their first baby has risen to 29 and above – and with that an increase in books, blogs and other media featuring women getting pregnant in their 40s can be observed. In contrast to India: the fact that women can have healthy happy babies also at a later stage in their lives seems doomed unrealistic (by most doctors) and undesirable. BUT once a 40+ woman is pregnant or once the baby is delivered, hardly anybody raises an eyebrow. Pregnant women and mothers are adored and honoured in India.
Time for an awareness and paradigm shift amongst Indian women, couples and above all amongst Indian doctors, gynaecologists and nurses.
I’m very much in favour of exploring life and getting to know yourself and the world in your 20s and 30s before settling down, getting married and starting a family. Expand your horizon, be whole and complete within yourself, your body-mind-soul, first.
Apart from humanity struggling with excess population, this world has enough children who were conceived accidentally and un-lovingly. India has enough couples that follow blindly what everybody else is doing, what their families expect and what society dictates, without checking what is their own real calling.
Starting a family and having children takes a long term commitment and spiritual maturity. Ideally we have mothers and fathers who choose conscious conception, conscious birthing and conscious parenting. However, this does not tend to be on one’s radar when only 20 or 25 years old.
I am neither in favour of a late pregnancy, nor am I against it. I just want to point out that conceiving a healthy happy baby later in life IS possible. And we have to acknowledge that society in the East and West is changing, and more women are having babies at an older age, for a variety of reasons.
Here a small selection of the inspiring material that is already out there:
Mush brained ramblings is a blog by author Ellie Stoneley. Read also her article in the Huffington Post and the post In the Beginning about the journey of being a first time mother at the age of 47 1/2.
- Right Time Baby: The Complete Guide to Later Motherhood by Claudia Spahr, available on amazon.in
45 and Pregnant: How I Conceived and Delivered Naturally by Liz Angeles, available on amazon.in
- Yes, You Can Get Pregnant: Natural Ways to Improve Your Fertility Now and into Your 40s by by Aimee Raupp MS LAc, available on amazon.in
- Pregnant at 40! by Michele Corvi, 21 Dec 2016, Huffington Post
- How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?, new research, The Atlantic
- 11 Celebrities who got pregnant over 40, post in The Bump
- Pregnancy over 44, stories of pregnancy & birth
- Why I’m having my first baby at 51, by Naomi Gryn, The Guardian
Interview Lauren Hanna & Lilou Mace, “Pregnant at 46!” (35 mins):
*Source: WHO and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India, 2011 report.
Image: unknown photographer