We are all becoming increasingly aware of a dramatic rise in the number of women becoming mothers in later life. As recently as 2011, the American Center for Disease Control (CDC) made the startling announcement that the only group of women to show in an increase in fertility for two years running was over the age of 40.
Yet, it has taken more than 40 years for the “quiet revolution” of social change to create a baby-making pressure cooker for modern women. Today, they are faced with the uncertainty of finding “Mr. Right” in time, a 50% risk of divorce, along with the dilemma of whether to choose motherhood over a promotion – all driven by the economic necessity of a two-paycheck household.
In the new millennium, bread-earning women are now powering our economic engine. There’s no going back.
What’s the Problem With Age?
Advances in medicine, nutrition and overall wellness mean that, today, women have an average life expectancy of over 81 years of age. At 40, they have only lived half a life. We’re all for encouraging baby boomers to have second careers and begin life anew. Why not motherhood?
In a sensational article on motherhood after 50, penned by Lisa Miller for the September 2011 issue of New York magazine, Boston University’s Thomas Perls suggests that “menopause, the definitive end of a woman’s natural fertility, can be regarded as an evolutionary relic.”
Simply put, he’s saying that menopause is outdated. We’re only just waking up to a significant cultural shift in our notions of motherhood – one that’s moving from the face of a youthful, dewy-eyed Venus to the lined visage of the wise older woman.
The contrast, and the emerging face of later motherhood, is making many people deeply uncomfortable.