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Choosing Older Motherhood


A study about first time mothers in the EU has revealed that Irish mother’s are, on average, older than other new mum’s in most of our neighbouring EU countries.  The study discovered that 13,040 first-time mums in Ireland were in their 30’s, ten percent higher than the EU average.  The study showed that a significant number in Spain, Italy and Greece also were in their 30s or early 40s when they gave birth to their first baby. Dr Sharon Cooley Consultant Obstetrician at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin said, “The cost of childcare may also be a consideration.  The cost of childcare in Ireland is considerable.  It takes a lot to raise a baby.  It is more important that women are healthy and with the right person or have the right support than are the right age”.

Louise Glennon, National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI’s) Women in Leadership Officer added, “Many women know how difficult it can be to combine progressing in your career and having a child.  Ireland’s system of family leave is maternalistic and based on the notion that women are the primary carers of small children.”  She said she feels that the government should introduce paid paternal leave and make paid parental leave separate from maternity leave.

Professor Anthony Staines of Dublin City University’s School of Nursing and Human Sciences said there are pros and cons to being an older mother.  An older mother has the maturity to care for a young child and is usually financially secure.  However it can be very tiring looking after a young child and there is a higher incidence of Down Syndrome reported in older women.

Midwife and Author Tracey Donegan said these results indicate that women want to be successful in their career as well as caring for their family.  Women are not expected to settle down at a young age anymore.  They can have the balance of both work and a family life.

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