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Is It Better To Be A Young Mom or An Older Mom?

The average age of Irish moms is on the increase and the debate as to whether being a young mom or an older one is more advantageous, rages on. One mom who has experience of both sides of the story is French woman, Valérie Mahé who lives in Portlaoise. 

Valérie who will be 50 next August, has three sons: a 22-year-old; an 18- year-old; and four-year-old, Cáel.

She admits that her third pregnancy was an anxious one. “I was worried that maybe due to my age, there could be complications during the pregnancy and the birth. Also, I was constantly thinking that I would have to spend the next 20 years educating a child and at the same time getting my retirement ready.

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When it came to the birth, she was prepared. “This time around I kind of knew what to expect so I was ready to expect the unexpected. Also being more mature, I requested what I wanted. I asked to be in Holles Street, so if anything would happen to my baby, he would be taken care of,” she says.

“I also wanted all possible tests being done to detect anything that could be wrong and to be prepared. I have to say we were in very good care there,” she recalls.

“It is hard to compare with the two previous births as my eldest was born in France, in a very advanced hospital at the time, and my second son was born in the then very basic Portlaoise hospital.”

The early days with her youngest son, she says, were wonderful. “I was definitely more confident in what I was doing. I knew better and it paid off. I knew exactly what to do to have a happy baby.

“In the first year, I was more relaxed and did not feel I had less energy than for my two older boys because I got organised better. I made sure I would have a certain amount of sleep or rest every day.”

Valérie’s plan is to rear her four-year-old in exactly the same way as the two older boys. “I can see now that they both turned into good and successful young adults,” she remarks.

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However, she confesses that her patience is in shorter supply now. “I feel this has to do with my age. Whereas I would gladly get up and kick the ball with my two older boys when they were young, I now would much rather be left alone and sit on the couch.”

Most of her friends are younger than her or still have children in primary school so she feels she fits in very well. She hasn’t had any negative reaction to being an older mom. “However, I did shock a few people when I announced my pregnancy,” she admits.

Looking to the future, she doesn’t think she worries more than any parents. “I should be still around in 20 years time. I make sure to take care of myself and try to look good. I just don't want anyone to say to Cáel ‘Why is your granny collecting you?’ when I pick him up at school. 

“So far, people who don't know me are more surprised by the fact that I have a 22-year-old son than by the fact that I have a four-year-old. 

“I think the best way to work on Cáel's future is to give him a good and secure childhood. So this is what I am working on,” she says.

“He gets on very well with his two brothers. He has never lived with my oldest son as he was in college when he was born and now lives abroad. But he admires him and he is a strong male figure in his life. He lives with my middle son and despite the age gap, I can see the ordinary brotherly relationship between them.”

What she does find a disadvantage, though, is having her parents and siblings in France. “It would be so much easier to be closer, we would have lots of family times. And I could drop Cael to one or the other every now and again. It would definitely make my life much easier,” she reflects.

“I also wish that Cáel could spend more time with his cousins whom he adores. My brother has a nine-year-old daughter, and I have a young sister who has a one-year-old. Being far from them is very hard. So we cherish the time we have together and so does he.”

So what advice would she give to those contemplating motherhood later in life? “I would not give any advice to anyone wanting to be a mom. Everyone has their own life and circumstances. In my case, I just think that as long as I am able to procreate, I am then able to be a mom.”

How old were you when you started a family? And do you think there is an 'ideal' age? We'd love to hear.


About the Author

Caroline Allen is a freelance journalist who lives in the midlands with her husband and two teenage sons. She has written for national and international media outlets and enjoys covering everything from parenting to property and country living to human interest stories.
 

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