Is Getting Married & Having Kids After 40 Still Possible?
You’ve heard all the naysaying — the carved-in-stone statistics that leave singles over 40 single for life. It’s enough to make you not even bother thinking if you’ve never been married or are divorced in your 40’s.
But are all these hopeless predictions really true? Are you doomed when it comes to getting married and having kids after 40? Or can you still get married and have a family after crossing that major milestone?
I’m sure you have at least some inkling as to my answer: “Hell, yes!”
But, that “yes” comes with a lot of considerations, many that you have probably heard and ruminated on countless times.
What do you need to know about getting married and having kids after 40?
You’ve probably these statements at one time or another:
“If you’re a woman, you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than you do of getting married after 40.”
“A woman shouldn’t get pregnant after 40. There are too many risks.”
“If you haven’t been married at all by the time you hit 40, you’ll never get married. You’ll be too set in your ways.”
“By the time men reach middle age, they want to date significantly younger women. They don’t want women their own age.”
And on and on the negative prognostications go.
I’m not saying there’s no truth or merit in them. I’m saying they’re not absolute or conclusive.
Take, for example, research that has kept women on a tight timeline of fertility.
By the time she turns 27, a woman’s fertility starts significantly and steadily declining. By the time she hits 40, she has barely any chance of getting pregnant.
Did you know that the research that has been reported right up until recent years wasn’t even conducted in recent years?
It was based on French birth records from 1670-1830! Truth.
Due to misinformation like this, women and men alike have made major life and relationship decisions they might otherwise not have made — and many still do.
They rush into things they’re both ready for. They compromise their professional and personal goals. They settle for less than what they really want out of fear of spending life alone.
The saddest part of giving up hope for getting married and having a family in your 40s is that your 40s can be amazing!
For marriage-minded people especially, it’s important to focus on the qualities that make marriage a positive way to live. In that regard, age is only a number.
Marriage, in general, comes with a lot of benefits.
Financially, two can live more cost-effectively than one. Married couples statistically acquire more wealth than single people. And they get tax benefits that single people don’t.
There are also health and lifestyle benefits to being married — less stress, better sleep, less inclination to depression, and a longer life span.
And marriage gives people the opportunity to heal lifetime wounds through exclusive emotional intimacy.
Marriage really is a unique opportunity for love, companionship, and personal growth.
These benefits don’t go away just because you waited to get married and have a family in your 40s or because you’re marrying after a divorce.
People can find their soulmates at any age and at any time. What matters is that both partners are prepared for a lifetime commitment and have learned from their past relationships.
Whether you’re getting married for the first time or after a divorce, getting married in your 40s has unique pros and cons.
On the plus side, you likely know yourself a lot better than you did ten or twenty years ago. You’ve had the chance to make and learn from mistakes. And you’ve most likely filtered your preferences and know what you want in life and a partner.
Both of you may have already invested a lot of years in your careers.
You may have had the opportunity to put money away for retirement and major purchases. And one or both of you may be approaching retirement and increased freedom in life choices.
On the negative side — especially if one or both of you has been married before — you will come to the altar with history.
And, if one or both of you have children, there will be more to consider than just your love and desire for one another. You will have to be intentional in your integration of different family dynamics, even as you create your own.
Perhaps you genuinely want biological children of your own. If so, it will be important for you to be aware of the overall decrease in the likelihood of the woman becoming pregnant after 40.
Keep in mind that many women have children in their 40s. (I did!) And, with the medical advances since those 17th-century birth records, you have options.
IVF and even freezing eggs in your 20s or 30s can help you pursue biological parenthood in your 40s.
You also have options like surrogacy and adoption.
What matters is that you and your partner share the same life goals, your core values are aligned and you’re on the same page about the meaning of family.
You may have always envisioned having a tribe of mini-me’s. But, now that you’re approaching or are in your 40’s, your concept of family may have evolved.
Perhaps, you would be content loving your partner’s children as your own and opening your heart and home to a child in need.
American adoption agencies don’t put age restrictions on adoptive parents. They actually take into account the benefits of being a more mature couple — increased resources, decreased work demands, greater emotional maturity.
This is just one of many factors that make having kids after 40 completely within reach. Couples over 40 can be ideal candidates for adopting a child.
The downside to adoption for middle-aged couples when it comes to adopting infants is that preference is usually given to younger couples.
Again, what matters is that you and your partner are on the same page about what “creating a family” means once you’re married.
Finding true love is difficult enough without qualifying it, based on age.
Some of my favorite clients and matches have been people in their 40s. They know what they’re looking for, they’re comfortable with themselves, and their search criteria tend to be more values-based.
The question of whether you can or should find a marriage partner later in life isn’t answered by convention and movie scripts. It’s answered by what’s in your heart.