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Older mothers in Hampshire County

Published: 2/7/2020 9:29:33 AM

Modified: 2/7/2020 9:29:20 AM

Dear readers,

Living in Northampton, there are more mothers who are older than average. It turns out that Hampshire County is among the top counties in the country for average maternal age for first children. While it doesn’t seem out of place to meet women in their late 30s and early 40s with new babies here, it is made clear rather quickly in prenatal care that nationwide, this is different. Pregnant women 35 or older are given the demeaning label of having a “geriatric pregnancy.” I don’t mean to be disrespectful to those who have reached their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, but it is a difficult thing to be called geriatric when you’re barely old enough to run for president.

Stumbling across this factoid of Hampshire County’s placement among other regions of the country, we at Hampshire Life thought it would be a good thing to speak with some of the women bringing up the average in our community about what their motherhood has been like. Writer Maureen O’Reilly spoke with Florence resident Charlotte Capogna-Amias, now 43, who first gave birth at age 41. For her, the financial considerations of child care combined with complications in getting pregnant pushed back when she was able to give birth. But she knew that it was something she wanted to do, and that motivated her to continue during what she described as the most difficult period of her life — that of trying to get pregnant. For Meghan Armstrong-Abrami of Northampton, who gave birth at 39, finding a partner later in life led her to wait, and she’s glad it did. It gave her the opportunity to travel and learn. For 68-year-old Sally Rubenstone of Northampton, giving birth at age 45 was unexpected, and not part of the plan, but she said she is grateful she got the opportunity to be a mother.

My own experience of parenthood is that it is among the most challenging and rewarding things I have done. My son was born when I was 33, only moderately above the national average of about 31 for men. Each parent brings the experiences of their life to their parenting, and I, like those O’Reilly spoke with, am grateful for the time I had before becoming a parent and what I learned about myself in that time. I enjoyed reading about the experiences of women who became mothers later in life, and I hope you do, too.

— Dave Eisenstadter

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