For many women, getting pregnant and having a baby is a lifelong dream. Unfortunately, unlike the male of the species, women have a relatively short window in which to conceive with low risks. Or at least, that’s what we’ve always thought.
Now, research about getting pregnant over 35 is making the rounds, and what it indicates is a far cry from the high-risk statistics we so often read. It turns out that there may actually be benefits to waiting to become a biological mother — and they may make you reconsider your family plans!
It used to be the case that if you were a woman looking to get pregnant, you had to do it before you turned 35. Medicine supported the idea, pointing to various studies about the high-risk potential for these so-called geriatric pregnancies.
While those studies can’t be denied, neither can a pretty interesting trend: more and more women are waiting until they are over 35 before they start trying to conceive, and the reasons why make a lot of sense.
See, women are battling with two different areas in their life when it comes to pregnancy: their careers and their romantic lives. Women who are over 35 are more likely to be settled in a romantic relationship and be on the track for work success.
The Devil Wears Prada
There’s also another funny factor that could be contributing to women waiting longer to conceive: celebrity pregnancies! With actresses like Cameron Diaz having their first child at 47, it’s giving women over the age of 35 a stronger belief in their own fertility.
While more and more women are jumping on the over-35 pregnancy bandwagon than ever before, it has to be acknowledged that the potential for complications, like genetic disorders, does rise exponentially over time.
The main culprit when it comes to getting pregnant when you’re older is the simple reality that the number of eggs in a woman’s ovaries depletes over time, and the quality of the remaining eggs decreases.
This doesn’t mean that getting pregnant is impossible, but it can mean that getting pregnant is a more difficult process, which can be exceptionally challenging on the emotions of would-be parents eager for good news.
So how do you beat those odds? The experts say the key is getting your eggs frozen before you turn 35. Freezing younger, more numerous, and healthier eggs means that they will be ready when you’re ready.
But of course, freezing your eggs can’t erase all the potential for further complications. The American Pregnancy Association says that women between the ages of 35 and 40 are 30% more likely to suffer a miscarriage — and that’s not the only issue they face.
Women in this age group are far more likely to experience conditions like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. They are also more likely to give birth via C-Section than younger moms, which can make recovery from labor much more difficult.
And that’s not all women over 35 have been taught to fear. Older women can lose more blood during delivery, and, due to the dip in the quality of their eggs, run a higher risk of delivering a child with a chromosomal disorder.
But it isn’t just the physical risks that have historically made older women opt out. One midwife told the Toronto Sun that, “for the last five years, we’ve heard from thousands of women who feel socially marginalized by mommy groups simply due to their age.”
“We still uphold an idealized cultural stereotype of the ‘young mother,’” the midwife continued, “and the idea of a woman ‘old enough to be a grandma’ having a baby is an image many people are still just not comfortable with.”
Social isolation is another really big factor. Not only are their own parents older and likely to be less able to help with the children, but chances are high that many of their friends have already started their families and are entering different chapters themselves.
But Dr. Rebecca Starck wants to make one thing clear to women considering pregnancy over the age of 35. She believes it’s possible for a 40-year-old woman to have a lower-risk pregnancy than a 28-year-old, and it all comes down to health and wellness practices.
Older moms know how to take care of their bodies, and, because they are likely to be earning more money than younger women, they have the added income to help when the baby does come; one less source of stress.
Dr. Stark adds that, “The few studies that have been out there have suggested that older parents do well… The cards are stacked against women for delaying childbearing from a biological perspective, but from a social perspective, they are not. They get rewarded, financially and otherwise, for waiting.”
And that’s not all! For all the risks associated with pregnancy over 35, studies from 2016 have indicated that there may actually be some health benefits to moms who choose to wait a bit longer before they start their own broods.
One of the greatest is the finding that women who have kids over the age of 35 actually test much better than younger mothers when it comes to brain health and memory, while another study found that these women also live longer than younger mothers.
These newfound perks and the rising number of women waiting to have children are more than enough reason to give any prospective older parent hope. One woman who knows this firsthand is former First Lady Michelle Obama.
As an associate at the law firm Sidley & Austin, Michelle Obama was used to training interns and seasonal associates. It was usually pretty boring work, anyway — not exactly what she envisioned as an ambitious Harvard law student.
The arrival of a new summer associate changed everything. Barack Obama was late to their first meeting, a mistake that made his working relationship with Michelle a little cold. She just didn’t trust him and his naturally-brilliant ways…at first, anyway.
Over time, she warmed up to the young law student, and soon enough, she was in love. “As soon as I allowed myself to feel anything for Barack, the feelings came rushing — a toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder,” she wrote.
These emotions were new, intense…and mutual. But these weren’t feelings Michelle normally acted upon. She had her plans to think about, the plans she had been working on since she was a young girl studying at her parent’s kitchen table…
She had always been a planner, which is why she studied law. She learned along the way, however, that there are some things you just can’t plan for, and love is one of them.
The couple married in 1992, with a bright and brilliant future straight ahead for them both. They both had such lofty goals that Michelle sometimes wondered how they would make it work.
After all, both of them felt compelled to do some good in the world. After leaving Sidley & Austin, Michelle worked at the University of Chicago Hospital, but as time wore on, something became quite clear.
Even with their personal ambitions, including Barack’s growing interest in politics, they were ready to tackle the biggest challenge of all: Parenthood. But unlike most of what they set out to do, this didn’t exactly come with instructions.
UPMC Magee -Women’s Hospital
“We were trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t going well,” Michelle revealed in her memoir, Becoming. Up until that point, the couple had achieved their professional goals thanks to talent and hard work. Getting pregnant, however, was another thing all together.
“We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy,” Michelle wrote. But the hope the positive pregnancy test gave the couple wouldn’t last.
Life, Love, & Sugar
“A couple of weeks later I had a miscarriage, which left me physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt,” she wrote. After a few more heartbreaking months, the couple realized that this wasn’t a problem books and elbow grease could fix.
The couple had to make a drastic decision. “The biological clock is real because egg production is limited,” she said, and as she climbed into her mid-30s, the couple sat down and made a decision that would change their lives forever.
They had another option: In Vitro Fertilization. At that time, IVF was not something moms talked about around the swing set — it still isn’t. This made the thought of starting IVF treatments a scary one, especially considering the circumstances.
These “circumstances” being Barack’s political ambitions. While their desire to have children grew, so did his desire to get into politics. He was elected to the Illinois state legislature, which meant a long commute and even longer hours away from home.
Because of this, Michelle was “largely on [her] own to manipulate [her] reproductive system into peak efficiency.” This meant doing daily hormone injections all by herself, an intimidating scenario for any of us to imagine…
When Barack wasn’t home, Michelle was busy juggling a career and IVF treatments. Throughout the whole process, she never knew if the treatment would work — it was all a shot in the dark. Every hormone injection reminded her of her past…
She remembered the miscarriage she had suffered months before. “I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” she said. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”
Michelle said, “So many of us go through life with our stories hidden, feeling ashamed or afraid when our whole truth doesn’t live up to some established ideal.” With the IVF, Michelle embraced her “truth…”
Thankfully, it worked. She gave birth to Malia on July 4th, 1998, and three years later, she and Barack welcomed baby Sasha. Now that she looks back on her miscarriage and struggles with IVF, Michelle knows that her story isn’t unique.
“I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women, to not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don’t work,” she said. Consequently, other women were inspired by her truth.
“I love Michelle Obama for opening up and putting miscarriages in the news. As a momma of an angel, I feel the same way every day,” one woman wrote on social media. Another woman commented simply, “I think she’s amazing.”
Your story, Michelle asserts in Becoming, is something to cherish. “Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be,” Michelle wrote. Michelle’s story may not be pretty, but it sure is inspiring, and it gives other insights, too, especially about life in the White House.
Who wouldn’t want to live in the White House? You have bodyguards, chefs, and maids — it’s basically everyone’s paradise. Take away the perks, though, and there’s a harsh reality to living in the White House that only a select few understand.
As the Obamas learned first-hand, The White House isn’t just a symbolic building. It’s where they brushed their teeth and raided the fridge. But as one of the most heavily guarded residences in the world, it can feel less like a home and more like a fortress…
Obviously, the public sees the White House a little differently. The sidewalk in front is usually littered with frustrated protesters, shouting and wielding picket signs. Imagine looking out of your bedroom window and seeing upset strangers protesting your own family.
Michelle couldn’t see the protesters from her window, but it still wasn’t easy knowing they were there. The Obamas savored the moments when the protesting was light, and when good news emerged from the White House…
One of the most momentous days of the Obama administration was June 26, 2015, the day same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States. On that humid summer evening, Michelle turned on the TV and saw something astonishing.
Thousands of people standing with signs…and with joyful smiles. “My staff was calling me, everybody was celebrating, people were crying,” Michelle described. As she watched from the White House, Michelle knew that simply watching the event on TV wasn’t enough.
“I was sitting and watching it on TV and realizing, ‘I’m living this,’” Michelle said. It occurred to her that the celebration was happening right outside her window — and that she wanted in. But Michelle couldn’t simply make a break for the front door.
See, the White House is so protected that simply walking out is impossible. The perimeter of the White House would have to be cleared, along with the front sidewalk where the celebration was happening. She really didn’t want to interrupt the party…
When she looked at the pride flag waving in the crowd, though, she knew what she had to do — but she didn’t want to do it alone. After all, why wouldn’t you celebrate a day of love with the person you love the most?
But Barack’s presidential duties kept him tied to his desk. “You know I can’t walk outside!” he reportedly joked to his wife. So Michelle decided to celebrate the moment with another special person in her life.
Her eldest daughter, Malia. It was a moment Michelle hoped to cherish with her then-16 year-old-daughter. “So it’s me and Mali and we…realize that it’s not that easy to get out of the White House,” Michelle said.
They made their way towards the nearest exit on tip-toes, covering their mouths to muffle the sound of their exhilarated laughter. But as they saw the Secret Service in the distance, Michelle knew she had to tell Malia something very un-motherly.
“I said, ‘We are not listening to anyone. We are going to walk out that door, you and me,” Michelle told her daughter. The Secret Service exists to keep the family safe, but Michelle had to throw caution to the wind.
However, the duo soon realized they weren’t alone. From the other end of the hallway, Michelle and Malia heard their code names — Renaissance and Radiance — being whispered by a winded Secret Service agent. “They’re moving,” Michelle heard him say.
They tried to escape down a staircase, but when they got to the bottom they saw not only the Secret Service agent but a few sweating staffers bringing up the rear. All seemed lost… until Malia gave her mother a much-needed pep talk.
“We’re going to do this, Mom,” Malia said. But before they could escape, a Secret Service agent called out to them with a word of warning. “Ma’am, if you walk out there, you will be on camera in front of the nation.”
Michelle looked down at her pajamas and realized he was right. Like it or not, as First Lady, she had to maintain some kind of decorum. But, looking at her disappointed daughter, Michelle decided that their adventure was far from over.
Michelle grabbed her daughter and, swerving the Secret Service, booked it towards a more concealed exit. “We made our way…around the busts of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and past the kitchen until suddenly we were outdoors,” Michelle described.
“It had taken us 10 minutes to get out of our own home, but we’d done it,” she said triumphantly. They stood on a patch of lawn hidden from the public — and finally saw what the onlookers were admiring.
The White House was aglow with the rainbow colors of the pride flag. “We were…out of sight of the public but with a beautiful, close-up view of the White House, lit up in pride,” Michelle said.
“Malia and I leaned into each other, happy to have found our way there,” Michelle wrote. The moment may have been impulsive, but for Michelle, it was well-worth the risk. On Ellen, Michelle described the tender moment in more detail.
“My feeling was, we are moving forward. Change is happening,” she told Ellen. And despite the potential danger, she knew it was worth bending the rules in order to share that moment with the American people…even if from afar.
Michael S. Williamson
Malia especially came to really appreciate these moments of privacy. Because now, in a way, she has millions of parents keeping an eye on her: Barack and Michelle, of course, but the rest of the world as well. It’s put a lot of pressure on her.
Despite a few hiccups along the way, Malia managed to live a scandal-free life as the President’s daughter. But once she became a private citizen, she had much more freedom than she used to have…and decided to run with it.
The world collectively gasped when Malia was captured in a passionate kiss with a mystery man at the 2017 Harvard-Yale football game. The speculation was immediate: Who was this guy? Where did he come from? Are they actually an “item,” or what?
The Obama daughters are the closest we get to princesses, so when a potential prince arrives, we can’t help but be curious! Finally, Malia’s mystery man has been identified…and in a few ways, he’s the last person we expected.
His name is Rory Farquharson, and in an ironic turn of events for the President’s daughter, he hails from the United Kingdom. The 21-year-olds both attend Harvard University, but Rory actually got his start at a school miles and miles away.
He attended the Rugby School, a private school in England. While there, Rory wasn’t the slacker-type; on the contrary, he was Head of School from 2015-2016, proving his academic and leadership prowess. But his skills weren’t just academic!
He played rugby and golf and was co-founder of the Blue Bunsen Society, the school’s chemistry club. Clearly, Rory was on his a-game at Rugby, though his life wasn’t always filled with good grades and successful rugby matches…
Old classmates have referred to Rory as “quite a catch” and “very popular,” which makes the fact that Rory felt anything but these things at Rugby School hard to believe. But that’s exactly what he revealed in an odd letter.
In a letter to his 16-year-old self, which was printed in a publication for Rugby School, he wrote, “You’re a lanky, over-confident public school boy, desperately trying to prove to your friends how much of a ‘lad’ you are and have failed miserably.”
His desperation to fit in took a toll on his physical and mental health. “You look a wreck, your body aches every time you move, and it takes you a good half hour to get out of bed in the morning,” he wrote.
He typed what would end up being a prophetic line about his own appearance: “For goodness’ sake, get a haircut. Despite what you think, your floppy mop isn’t attracting the girls.” He couldn’t have known then just how much his luck would change!
Rory went from being a self-deprecating “school boy” to the mystery man spotted kissing the United States’ first daughter. So how does someone make such a huge leap from virtual obscurity to Page Six news?
The duo apparently met the way so many other couples meet — when walking through Harvard’s hallowed halls. Since the kiss-seen-’round-the-world spread online, speculation about the young couple only increased, especially the question: Are they still together?
Apparently, they’re still going strong! They were recently spotted in Los Angeles, cuddling and enjoying each other’s company on a night out with friends. But what started as a cute photo of the couple soon erupted into another controversy.
Malia was spotted puffing on a cigarette while she hung out with Rory and some friends. The cigarette “scandal” didn’t last long, and the focus again shifted to the young couple…and what her famous parents had to say about them.
Rory’s father, though never the leader of the free world, certainly holds an honorable position back in the U.K.: Charles Farquharson is the CEO of Insight Investment Management Limited, while Rory’s mother Catherine is an accountant. Powerful parents isn’t the only similarity he shares with Malia.
He, too, enjoyed a privileged childhood. He grew up in Woodbridge, Suffolk, in a home worth two million dollars. Again like Malia, he also has ties to some pretty powerful people, since his relative Andrew Farquharson was an aide to the Queen for ten years.
It’s unknown how Rory’s parents feel about their son’s relationship, but his neighbors seem to be extremely proud. “Good on him,” one of his neighbors said, with another neighbor excitedly saying, “It’d be lovely if the Obamas came to visit.”
Meanwhile, Barack Obama has responded to the news about his eldest daughter. Since Michelle is “such a great example of…not depending on boys,” he’s pretty relaxed about it. Still, Michelle had a different reaction to the news.
The Obamas understand the pressures of being in a publicized relationship, so when Malia went off to college, Michelle gave her some simple advice: “Don’t end up on Page Six.” If all else fails, at least they know they can rely on one thing…
“They have Secret Service,” President Obama said when asked about his daughters’ dating lives. So they can rest assured that nothing too scandalous can happen with an armed detail around…especially with Sasha off to college in the fall!
Her departure to college means she has to move out of the Obamas’ new home in DC’s wealthy Kalorama neighborhood. Constructed in the 1920s, the house is just as homey as it is luxurious – and worth the $8 million pricetag!
From the moment you enter the home, you’re greeted by sleek white walls and checkered marble floors. Oddly reminiscent of the President’s previous digs on Capitol Hill, don’t you think?
The 8,200-square-foot mansion comes complete with several sitting areas perfectly designed for entertaining company. This particular living room includes a fully functioning fireplace, making it the ideal place for the former First Family to curl up after a day in the snow.
When it’s time to kick back and relax with a little television, the Obamas can look no further than this beautiful family room. Not only does this space feature a flat-screen TV set above another fireplace, but it also offers a great view of the backyard.
Whether running a nation or enjoying the retired life, a man’s still gotta eat. Thankfully, this eat-in kitchen has all the tools to satisfy even the most presidential of appetites.
Just take a look at this stainless steel six-burner range. Between the top-of-the-line appliances, white marble countertops, and classy black accents, this kitchen is clearly capable of handling high-quality cuisine.
Still not convinced? Well, there’s even a second kitchen in the home, complete with a dishwasher, wine fridge, and plenty of storage space.
Though he won’t be hosting state dinners any time soon, President Obama’s new dining room has plenty of space to host large dinner parties for Washington’s elite.
A master suite isn’t complete without a king-size bed, and the one in the Obamas’ new home can easily fit one, plus much more…
The spacious suite also features a master sitting area, complete with a roomy nook, additional wall space for a television, a small study, and another functioning fireplace. This seems like the perfect place for the President to brush up on his storytelling skills!
For Malia and Sasha, they’ll have a choice of one of the house’s additional eight bedrooms to call their own. But if sharing a room really isn’t their thing, there are a number of full-size bedrooms just down the hall.
This additional bedroom is pretty much a master suite in and of itself. Michelle actually discussed the size of the house with Ellen DeGeneres on a recent episode of her show, joking that the house was way too small for them!
But what certainly isn’t small is the size of Michelle’s bathroom. Her private space includes a vanity, deep-soaker tub, shower, and all the counter space she can handle.
Opposite Michelle’s master bath is the former President’s own personal bathroom. While it may not be as luxurious as Michelle’s, this bathroom includes a tiled walk-in shower.
A mansion isn’t really a mansion without a bonus room, so of course, the Obamas’ new pad has one. They should definitely convert this space into a home gym so the President can stay in shape for the basketball court!
Obama White House / Flickr
But Michelle doesn’t have to worry about feeling left out. The house also features a full-sized dressing room, perfect for storing the former First Lady’s fashionable wardrobe as well as providing her with a much-needed relaxation space.
The home’s basement has to be seen to be believed. Complete with another fully-furnished family room as well as a pair of bedrooms and bathrooms, it’s almost as if there’s a second house sitting just under the first. You know what that means: slumber parties with Joe!
If you’re going to have eight additional bedrooms, you’re also going to need plenty of bathrooms for your guests. This is just one of the home’s eight and a half baths, practically guaranteeing that no one will ever need to wait to use the restroom.
The rear side of the house opens up into a gorgeous, well-maintained backyard. There’s more than enough space here to entertain dozens of guests, and the tile deck that runs along the entire yard will ensure that no one gets their feet dirty in the event of unexpected showers.
But what really ties the whole yard together is the well-manicured lawn. This is the perfect place for the Obamas’ presidential pooches Bo and Sunny to play, as well as a nice spot for the President to kick back and relax with a drink.