old dad, new tricks

This Man Wonders If He’s "Dumb" For Thinking Of Having Kids In His Late 30s

"I don't want to be a geriatric dad, but I don't feel like I'm old?"

One man reached out in the “Millennial” subreddit to ask users if he and his wife are “dumb” for thi...
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If a person gets pregnant after the age of 34, they are considered a “geriatric” pregnant person. The term, which is totally outdated and jarring to hear, just means that as people get older, they are a bit more high risk when it comes to certain complications. Having kids later in life has become more and more common. Though, some still wonder if there’s a cut-off point when it “makes sense” to start a family.

One man reached out in the “Millennial” subreddit to ask users if he and his wife are “dumb” for thinking about having a kid in their late thirties.

“My wife (34 f) and I (37 m) have suddenly found ourselves having the kid conversation a lot after 12 years together as ‘childfree,’” he began.

“Being real, I can see us having kids in 18 months or so. I asked her to wait until this year wraps up before we start ‘trying’ for kids. I turn 38 in October.”

He explains that his childhood wasn’t exactly ideal with his parents splitting up when he was young, noting he never felt “stable” enough to have kids.

Now, he and his wife have some equity in their home, make good salaries, and have no debt. Financially speaking, it feels like a good time to maybe start a family. However, he’s worried that he’s too old.

“Now I'm staring down the reality that the youngest I'll be if we have kids is 38. I don't want to be a geriatric dad, but I don't feel like I'm old? I already have back and neck issues, though. I have friends with a 16-year-old FFS! Do I want to be 56 with an 18-year-old? Anyone have kids late that maybe can shed some perspective?”

One user asked the OP why they felt weird about being 56 with an 18-year-old.

The OP replied, “I honestly don't know. It's anxiety that I can't place.”

Another wrote, “The real question is, do you want to be 56 without an 18-year-old?”

Most other comments assured the OP that 38 is not old to have their first child and today, people are having kids well into their forties.

“I'm 36 with a 3 yr old. Met a woman at the playground yesterday who is 42 with a 4 yr old. I personally am glad that it panned out this way for me, bc my spouse and I are in a much better place relationship wise, financially, and professionally to take optimum care for our kiddo. If it had happened sooner, we would have struggled and I probably wouldn't be where I am today career wise,” they wrote.

“There is absolutely pros and cons to both, but 38 is not too old. Hell my parents had my youngest brother when they were both 48 and he's a great kid. Just because your path deviates from the norm doesn't mean it's wrong or you missed your chance.”

Another wrote from a different perspective, encouraging the OP to start trying now.

“If you want to do it, you should start trying now. There’s no sense in kicking the can any further,” they wrote.

“That's what my wife is telling me...” the OP replied.

Another noted, “Your wife is right. It seems like both of you want children, so now is the right time. It's ok to have anxiety. It would be weird if you didn't have anxiety.”

One user wrote, “I have a perspective as a child of older parents. My parents were 39 and 35 when I was born. Growing up I don't think their ages made a big difference. My mom would sometimes complain that she had nothing in common with the other moms but that wasn't all related to age.”

“The only downside for me is that I'm in my 30s and have my own children and my parents are already in their 70's. I can see them aging a ton and I don't think they'll be around for my kids as long as my grandparents were around for me. None of that is a strong reason to not have children, though. Growing up with slightly older parents was not a big deal.”

After receiving an outpour of suggestions, comments, and support, the OP replied to the thread with some updated thoughts.

“Consensus is that this isn't old, it's more normal than I realized, and to go for it,” he wrote before noting that he had “some great insights to think through.”

The OP would not be alone in having kids later in life. According to Pew Research, in 2021, the average woman gave birth for the first time at 27.3 years old. This was up from 2011, when the average mom was 25.6 at the birth of her first child.