The benefits of being an older mum is a huge plus for actor and film producer Hilary Swank, who is pregnant with twins at 48-years-old. When she announced her pregnancy to the world, a storm erupted on social media, down-crying the benefits of being an older mum and pointing out the dangers, to both mother and child.
Debut Into Acting
Hilary Swank debuted in to acting in the television series Camp Wilder in 1992. Since then, she has earned a total of 58 film awards, including two Oscars, two Golden Globes, two Critic’s Choice Movie Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2005, Time named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Swank then went on to produce films, in which she also starred.
With her second Oscar, Swank joined the ranks of Vivien Leigh, Sally Field and Luise Rainer. These are the only actresses to be nominated for Best Actress twice and win both times. Swank says, “I am just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.” Swank has a great ‘presence’ in front of the camera.
In 2016, Swank launched an eco-conscious line of luxury clothing. She said, “We believe in promoting the woman wearing the clothes and not the brand itself.”
In 2015, Swank founded a nonprofit organization the Hilaroo Foundation. The foundation matches children, who are misfits, with abandoned dogs. They use programs such as animal-assisted therapy, animal rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and training. Working with animals improves overall human resilience, mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.
Swank was married to actor Chad Lowe for ten years. In 2018, she married social venture entrepreneur, Philip Schneider, following a two-year courtship.
Now Swank is in her second trimester with twins. She says, “It is a total miracle”, having wanted children since 2006.
Ask any woman who has longed to become pregnant, and she will tell you it is a heartbreaking journey, as infertility is grueling and devastating. The chance of becoming pregnant over the age of 40 is only around 5%.
Many unkindly refer to anyone getting pregnant over the age of 35 as ‘geriatric mothers.’ This age-shaming is totally insensitive and unnecessary. There are a growing number of women conceiving in their 40s, even though the female productive organs have a ‘use by date’ as does sperm, though not so distinctly.
A couple of generations ago, anyone aged 60 was considered ‘old’. Things have radically changed, with a 95-year-old still teaching ballet in Australia. Older women can live useful and fulfilled lives, not limited by societal limitations.
Benefits of Being an Older Mum
Every pregnancy has an element of risk, no matter the age of the mother. However, there are great benefits of being an older mum.
Older mums are more likely to have stable relationships, more education, more material resources and they can spend more time with the child. Older mums show less stress and anxiety during the pregnancy and have a more positive attitude to parenting.
My mother was 40 when I was born, which was considered ‘old’ and definitely not the norm at that time. Society frowned on being an older mum and I doubt my mother was thrilled to find herself pregnant again, after having had four boys. The oldest was already 17. Things are vastly different today, with older mothers being acceptable.
Older Mums Emotionally Prepared
The University of California found aged parents were more emotionally prepared. This makes sense, as young parents are more likely to struggle financially and with their own development emotionally.
Studies have shown that older moms are less likely to yell at the child and impose less severe punishment. Older mums are more adept at setting boundaries, and studies have shown this leads to fewer behavioral, social and emotional difficulties in the children.
Older Mums and Health Benefits
The British Medical Journal released a study that showed older mums had healthier kids than younger mums. Kids with older mothers had fewer accidental injuries. They also had fewer social and emotional difficulties and had better language development.
Studies also show that woman who have their last baby after 35 had better cognition and verbal memory later in life. The University of California discovered women who used contraceptives for more than ten years, or had their first period after age 13, were better able to cope with problem-solving and executive functioning later in life.
Hidden Benefits of Older Fathers
Studies show that older fathers tend to sire ‘geekie’ progeny with high IQ. The kids have a stronger ability to focus on their interests and are more likely to have educational success. The kids seem to move into a stronger socioeconomic stratum. Having financially secure parents is a huge influential factor.
Harvard University’ research discovered a link between advanced parental age and chromosomes that lead to longer life spans, reaching two generations in the offspring.
Older mums are mentally and physically strong enough to become good mothers. So, what if she collects the age pension when her child is just twenty-years-old?
I had three children under the age of three by the time I was 26. It was the thing to have all your family before the age of 30. However, to this day when I see a woman with three little ones I shudder at the thought of the pressure on her and her husband. Particularly when they get sick one after the other and you end up with recurring measles.
The issue is that women must be permitted to conceive at any age, without being censored.
The oldest verified pregnancy was Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara who gave birth aged 66 years, 358 days. She beat Adriana LLisa by 130 days. Both children were conceived by IVF and donor eggs.
The oldest father was Ramajit Ragha, a farmer who was 94-years-old and his wife was 52. It was Ramajit’s first child. C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
I know Hilary Swank will enjoy her twins and the benefit of being an older mum.