Life happens so fast.
One moment you’re busy partying and climbing the career ladder, and then BAM! You’re 40!
At this point of your life, you probably have everything you want…except a man and a baby.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not too late. I mean it, really.
In this article, I will guide you on what steps you should do if you’re a 40-something single woman who wants to have a child.
Step 1: Don’t rush it
While you might feel like you’re running out of time, you really aren’t. So do yourself a favor and calm down.
You can’t really think through the whole “having a baby” thing if you’re panicked and anxious.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “But I’m already too late!”
But trust me, you aren’t. Sure you’re not at the prime, but you’re not too late, either and plenty of people have kids in their 40’s.
So give yourself plenty of room to think things through like, say, 3-4 years, instead of “right now!”
Step 2: Do some introspection
You don’t just wake up one day and go “I want to have a baby.”
Instead, you’ve most likely been thinking about it for a while now, even if you haven’t actually thought about the actual reasons why.
So before you go decide on a course of action, try to sit down and think first—and take your time!
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to have a baby?
- What do I think of children?
- Am I just pressured to have a baby?
- Is my financial situation good enough?
- Am I willing to give up the life I have now?
- Will it be worth it?
Knowing the answers to these questions is enough to give you a clearer direction.
See, a lot of women who think “I want to have a baby” don’t actually want one.
Some of them think they should have a baby, because they’ve been told that as a woman they should raise a family to be happy.
And then there are those who don’t actually like kids, but want to have someone who will care for them in their old age.
Now of course, it’s not black and white. But if you realize that you are mainly pressured and you see a baby as a SOLUTION to your problems, then you should definitely think twice.
Having a kid is a very big decision and should be given much thought. If you’re feeling confused and lost, consulting with a counselor or psychologist is strongly recommended.
Step 3: Figure out what you value the most
If you’re 40-something, you probably already know yourself.
You at least have a clear idea of what you want and don’t want out of life—your non-negotiables, your goals, and what you’re willing to let go or compromise.
This makes things much easier for you! But it also makes it hard to let go of our ideals.
However, with self-awareness and maturity, you can come up with the best decision, and cope with the challenges that go hand-in-hand with it.
Here are some things that you can rank according to what you value the most:
- Having a baby
- Finding love
Some people are fine settling with an “average” guy just so that their kid gets to have a father, while others would rather stay single parents until they find the right one that they can be with for life.
Scenarios such as these and more are all valid, and understanding what you want is important for you at this stage in your life.
P.S. If you decide to not “settle” with a man or rush love just to have a child, there are plenty of options for you! I listed all of them below.
Step 4: Do your research
You’re probably well aware that when a woman is over 35, her chances of conceiving a child gets significantly lower. And while that seems depressing, trust me, it’s not as impossible as you imagine.
I mean, a 74-year-old woman gave birth to twins. Sure, it’s out of the ordinary, but the point is…there’s no such thing as “too late.”
But of course, let’s face it. It has its set of challenges and when it comes to challenges, knowledge is power. You have to read up so you know what you’re about to get yourself into.
Don’t be discouraged by the things you read, though. With enough knowledge and with the help of a good doctor, everything will turn out fine.
Step 5: Find a support group
If you can find friends in real life who have the same goals as you, reach out to them!
But if you’re too shy, Reddit has plenty of support groups for women who are trying to conceive. I suggest you go straight to TTC, a group that’s dedicated for women trying to conceive their first child.
There, you’ll be with women who have the same goals and dilemmas as you. It will make your journey easier and definitely more enjoyable.
Some would even become real-life friends as they partner up in their journey to motherhood.
Step 6: Know your options
Look into freezing your eggs
Okay, so you might still be fertile now, but it’s true that you can’t wait forever.
If you think you’re in no place to have a child right now (maybe you’re too busy with your career, or because you want to wait for the right man), then you can save your eggs.
And, yes. It’s still a good idea to freeze your eggs at 40, and you can learn more about the specifics here.
Pros: You can take your time and even have another woman carry for you if you’re too old by the time you’re ready.
Cons: It’s going to be expensive, with an upfront-cost upwards of $10,000, as well as an annual storage fee.
Look for a sperm donor
If you know that you are capable of having a child now, and want one without having to go and look for a man, you can always look for a sperm donor.
There are plenty of sperm banks ready to cater to your needs.
And if you have your reservations about in-vitro-fertilization, you can choose IUI instead and have the donor’s sperm injected directly into your uterus.
Pros: Donors are screened by the FDA to ensure that they’re free of infectious and genetic diseases.
Cons: Both procedures are costly, and while laws may differ from place to place, donors are generally not obligated to offer child support.
Tip: Choose IVF if you want a greater chance of success and have the money to burn, and IUI if you don’t have as much to spend.
Have sex with a man you trust
On the other hand you might not be too willing to pour money into getting in touch with sperm banks, and perhaps you might want the donor to be someone you’re more familiar with.
In that case you can always have sex with a friend who is willing to help you out and keep trying until you conceive.
Pros: It’s free, you get to have fun doing it, and the donor’s someone you already like.
Cons: You need to do the legal work yourself instead of a bank doing it for you. There’s also no screening for genetic and infectious diseases.
Tip: Don’t rely too much on your friendship. Discuss your mutual terms and conditions—such as whether he needs to pay child support, or if he’s allowed to be a parent to your child—and have a lawyer sign it into paper.
Have a surrogate
Surrogacy—that is, having another woman carry your baby for you—is always a valid option, and I mentioned this earlier if you’ve saved up your eggs and are too old to carry your own baby when you’re ready.
But it’s more than just that. If you happen to be infertile, or if you have conditions that make pregnancy risky for you, then you might want to consider this option.
Pros: You get to be involved in every step of your child’s life, unlike in adoption, and bond with the surrogate over it.
Cons: If you aren’t offering your own eggs to be fertilized, and don’t care about having a specific sperm donor, it might be better to consider adoption instead.
If you don’t mind having a child that isn’t genetically related to you, I would strongly recommend this option over surrogacy.
With adoption, you get to give a loving home to a child who would otherwise have grown up all alone in a shelter.
And with adoption, you have the choice of adopting someone older—like, say, 6 and up—if you don’t want to deal with a toddler.
Step 7: Set a realistic timeline
As I had mentioned earlier, it’s important that you take your time. Not just in coming to a decision, but also in planning your life ahead.
You’re not going to find a man and get married within a year, unless you throw caution to the wind and jump the first guy you see.
And if you’ve only saved up $3,000 the past month, you’re probably going to have to wait a year or two before you can pay for a surrogate or a sperm donor.
Step 8: Find the best team of doctors for you
When you’re over forty, it’s a must to find a good doctor who can give you the help that best suits your needs.
Try to look for gynecologists who specialize in geriatric pregnancy, and don’t be afraid to find a good fertility clinic if you’re having a hard time conceiving.
Good, reputable doctors aren’t going to be cheap, but when it comes to your body it’s better for you to spend a bit more on good service rather than to cheap out.
Step 9: Be ready for your life to change
For better or for worse, having a child in your care will change your life.
You can’t just spend all day and night partying like you used to. You can’t afford to just think of yourself.
And sometimes even your work might be affected by you having a child to care for.
A lot of things will change, and you’ll have to make some sacrifices. The moment you have a child, you have an obligation to make sure that child will grow healthy and happy.
But at the same time, it’s also fulfilling and all the love that you pour into your child will come right back at you when they grow up.
Step 10: Keep dating if you still want to find love
Just because you have a baby now—surrogate, adopted, or otherwise—doesn’t mean that you should stop looking for love or that you’re now out of the dating scene.
By all means, go look for love. And when you do, look for someone who is willing to give you and your child the love you deserve. You are now a package, and any man who wants to be a part of your life should understand this.
It’s easy to think that your love life is going to be a bit tougher because of how some guys will walk away from you when they know you’re a single mother.
But don’t sweat it, because that’s just the trash taking itself out.
Step 11: Manage how you think—it’s the most important thing!
Quite often, your worst enemy is none other than your own mind. So pay attention to when those defeatist thoughts come barging in and shut them out.
Replace “It’s too late!” with “I have time, there’s no need to rush.”
Replace “What if my pregnancy will be complicated” with “I trust my doctors”.
Replace “I will never find a man” with “The right man will come along” or even “I don’t need a man.”
It’s inevitable that things aren’t always going to be easy. So you’ll just have to be your own biggest cheerleader and remind yourself that you’ll eventually get what you want in the end.
It can be frightening to see yourself grow old and not have a family to call your own. But before you rush into a relationship with a man, adopt, or get a donor, stop and take a deep breath.
None of these define your worth and having a man or a child in your life is not necessary for you to live a fulfilling life. In fact, they’re both obligations that will uproot the life you’ve been living until now.
If you do decide that, yes, having a child at 40 is something you want, don’t be afraid to make use of all the options available to you. And should you decide to be a single parent, don’t forget that you don’t have to bear the burden alone—friends and family exist, after all.