I think that that is more a function of having other children to care for (exhausting) and it being your 4th pregnancy (earlier braxton hicks, getting bigger faster, more mentally challenging as you know what is coming and there is less of that magic and mystery etc.....). I was lucky to be very fit and healthy going into each pregnancy, but still found my 3rd more exhausting than my 1st. I was only 3 years older, but it is hard to compare a pregnancy with no children to care for to a pregnancy where you are caring for (in my case) a 2 and 3 year old all day long. For me, it had nothing to do with age, simply life circumstances, which made one pregnancy harder or more tiring than the other. The nice thing about being financially stable etc because I was older was that I had the resources to get massages, workout, etc, to minimize those very natural effects (I was 31, 32, and 34 when I had my children).
I agree with Melissa. I had my first baby at 37 and I had a great pregnancy and felt healthy and good the whole time (and I wasn't a very fit person at the time, nothing serious, but I wasn't paying much attention to the nutritional value of what I was eating). I had my second at 41 and it was a little harder but mostly because I had a toddler and a few years of sleep deprivation already there.
I also LOVED my thirties. You are old enough to have some perspective and to understand the value of the good things you have, and young enough to know you have decades yet to go to do more. My forties have been fun but have more sadness as I have lost loved ones and had to deal with more grown-up stuff that I try to avoid.
I still feel like a teenager a lot of the time, just stumbling on through and trying to have a good time while I do it. I have great examples in my family of people changing their lives when they wanted to in their 40s, 50s, even 60s, and I have a 94-year-old grandmother who golfs, goes to the movies, has an active life, etc. Good role models.
Anyway parenting also runs the gamut in my family, from very young to very old. I don't think it's specific to age, it's just another factor and depends on where you are in your life.
My husband and I had our children young (I was 22 when Thomas was born...seems like ages ago). We did have a period when Thomas was about 2 1/2 where we almost split up. Not necessarily because of being parents, but that probably was a bit of a contributing factor. While I wouldn't change anything, because I know our past makes us what we are today, it probably would have been easier to enjoy the younger years of our kids lives if we had maybe been closer to 30, or more financially stable. It is nice to think that our youngest will go to college when I'm only 45, though
Carolyn - 37
Wife to Chad - 39
Mom to Tom - 15
Nathan - 10
Count me in as another one who is loving her 30's way more than her 20's. I like to think that I got to keep all of the good things about myself from my 20's (example: my sense of humor) but add to that a lot more strength and experience and self confidence (and money! Woohoo!)
I love being in my 30s, too!
Carolyn - 37
Wife to Chad - 39
Mom to Tom - 15
Nathan - 10
And I will be honest and say I wouldn't want an "empty nest" at 45. I'd feel too young for that, personally. Like men who retire too early and drive their spouses crazy I would miss the hustle and bustle of kids in the home if I was still that young. I don't want to be a grandmother at 45- heck- many of my friends are still having babies at 38. everyone is different I know, but I enjoy parenting my kids with a bit more age and life experience under my belt. My mom was only 22 when she had me and I saw firsthand how her lack of life experience and her 100% reliance on my dad for certain things created a power dynamic in their marriage and in their parenting that I am grateful to not have to have. They have an amazing marriage- but I simply am grateful to have lived a bit of my own life before having to live for a husband and children.
Me too. I built up my career, too, which has given me a lot more freedom now to establish limits at work so I can be with my kids. I could not have been in tv production like I was in my 20s and 30s and been there for my kids at night the way I am now.
In regards to being a young empty nester, i won't be that young. I'll be 51 when Cecilia turns 18..but i still think that is somewhat young compared to others these days. I personally wouldn't want to be much older than that and would have been fine being younger, but that was shaped by my own parents experience, mom me at 41, and my dad was 48. My dad was 70 when i graduated from college...which is also when he stopped working.
I also see my brother and his wife, now that his two kids are 20 and 22 and they are having a great time, very much so enjoying their kids as adults. I look forward to that stage, when we are all adults together.
Funny how much personal experience plays into things!
I do think how we grew up plays into things. My mom was 20 and my dad 26 when I was born and they were not financially stable. 33 years later they are and can enjoy themselves but I knew I didn't want that. I wanted to have a house first and know I could afford them. It did take me longer than I thought to have the first one but I like that I had her at 28 and then #2 at almost 30. I felt like I lived most of my 20s but that I was still a younger parent.
I think for my mom when she was 45 I was 25 and my brother 19. I think she was ready to have an empty nest because she had been raising us for all of her young adult years. I know it is hard for me to imagine that they will be gone in 12 years since they'll be 15 and 17 only.
Mom to Elizabeth (6) and Corinne (4)