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Five Ways Motherhood Has Changed

May 10, 2013

It’s not your mother’s Mother’s Day. In 2013, the demands on women - financially, personally and career-related – are greater than ever. Dr. Angie Beltsos, Medical Director of Fertility Centers of Illinois, recognizes that women today face different challenges and opportunities on the path to parenthood than their mothers did. She outlines five ways motherhood has changed:

  1. Women are Career-Focused and Increasingly the Family Breadwinners.
    Women are focusing on their careers, and building financial stability before starting a family. Approximately 40% of women are their family’s primary breadwinner.
  2. Women are Having Children Later in Life.
    In the United States birth rates are declining among all age groups with the exception of women over 35. Roughly 20 percent of U.S. women end their childbearing years without children.
  3. Infertility Challenges Women As They Age.
    Women are at their most fertile in their early 20s. As women age, fertility declines through diminished ovarian reserve, higher levels of miscarriage, and potential health complications during pregnancy, Beltsos says. Many women start considering motherhood in their mid-30s, when fertility begins to rapidly decline.
  4. One Woman Has Multiple Roles.
    “It is more common for women to juggle multiple roles – mother, business executive, head of the household, and caretaker to aging parents. Other roles also enter the picture, such as wife, friend, cook, and soccer coach. With so much on one plate, entering motherhood now requires additional thought and planning,” Beltsos says.
  5. Financial Barriers Delay Family Planning.
    The recession has taken its toll, and many individuals and families have to delay having a child until they are in better financial shape.

So what is Belstos’s advice for women who want to be parents? “You have to determine if this is the right time have your family. And if it’s not, make that a very conscious decision,” she says. “Take into account what your financial situation is. Consider egg freezing if you don’t have a partner. Consider freezing embryos if you’re getting to that critical age where your eggs aren’t going to be healthy much longer. If you are not able to get pregnant today, but motherhood is important in your life, you have to make time to make decisions today about where that fits in, when and how.”

By not making a decision about having a baby, you make a decision, Beltsos adds. Age issues related to fertility are real. You can have it all, she says, but you have to make and act on your decisions to get there.

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