Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

11 Ways You Don't Realize You're Shaming Older Moms

Ad failed to load

In this era of #mommywars, us moms face a lot of criticism. From the time you announce your pregnancy until, well, forever, it seems like everyone has an opinion about how you're supposed to do things, and they often feel the need to tell you when "you're doing it wrong." I have found that when you wait to have kids until your 30s, people have a lot to say about it, and there are so many ways you don't realize you're shaming older moms, too.

I had always planned to wait to have kids until I had a chance to finish my graduate degree, buy a house, establish my career, and have some financial stability. I also selfishly wanted to have a chance to travel, enjoy being married, and have some kid-free fun. Flash forward through five years of child-free marriage, and we had crossed everything off our pre-baby checklist. What that meant, however, was that I had my first baby right before I turned 31.

A lot has happened in the past nine years. I had two kids, got divorced, was a badass single mom, got re-married, became a stepmom to two more kids, completely changed careers, and then recently got pregnant and had a baby with my new husband. If it sounds exhausting, it's because it totally is. I have experienced so many raised eyebrows, judgmental comments, and shame while wearing all of these hats but, surprisingly, much of it has to do with being an "older mom."

Ad failed to load

While our culture has shifted to, for the most part, accept working moms and different family structures — and medical technology makes it possible for people to have babies later in life, either because they choose to or because life happens — it seems like we still haven't fully gotten to a place where we entirely accept that it's OK for people to wait to have kids. Or, that waiting might even be the best thing for you and your family. It is so commonplace to question this particular life choice that people don't often realize they are doing it, and that it can be really shaming.

Ad failed to load

When You Comment About Their Age


I know how old I am. Really, I do. I don't need you to say things like, "Aren't you a little old to be pregnant?" or, "Wow, you don't look that old."

I have cousins who are grandparents. I am literally almost 16 years older than my daughter's best friend's mother. I could be her mother. Seriously. I get it. I'm old.

When You Express Surprise

I am not ashamed of my age by any stretch of the imagination. However, when you find out how old I am, can you not look shocked, or worse, suggest I am lying. Yes, I am really that old. Yes, I know I look young. My kids keep me young. Kidding. My secret is sunblock, hair dye, and a good moisturizer.

When You Do The Math


I assure you, I know exactly how old I was when I got pregnant, and also how old I will be when my kids graduate from high school and when they are my age.

Ad failed to load

When You Ask If They Wish They'd Had Kids Earlier

Nope. I was able to do some pretty amazing things because I waited to have kids. I was privileged to be able to access effective contraception to prevent pregnancy until I was ready to be a mother. I honestly wish that all people were able to choose when and whether to become parents, which is why I advocate so hard for access to reproductive health care for everyone.

When You Ask, "Is It Safe To Have Babies At Your Age?"


That's really a question for me and my doctor, not for you. However, since you asked I might as well tell you that I am way healthier now than I was in my 20s. Also, modern medicine is amazing. It's no longer uncommon to have babies in your 30s and 40s, because it's safer than it used to be.

Also, since you asked, my health is really none of your damn business.

When You Inquire About Their Health

I call this concern trolling. You aren't really concerned about my health as an older pregnant person or older mom, you are judging me because it makes you feel superior. Not cool.

Ad failed to load

When You Ask Them If They Are Tired


Yes, but all moms are tired. Also, when you ask me this particular question it makes me worry that I forgot to put on concealer. Again.

Did I mention I am tired?

When You Share Scary Statistics

WTF? Just because there is a higher risk of birth defects or genetic conditions for babies born to older moms, doesn't mean that you should share those statistics with a pregnant person. This is not a "fun" topic of conversation, and when you share these "helpful" facts, it sort of sounds like you are trying to blame me for something completely beyond my control.

Besides, what if my baby does have a potentially scary diagnosis? Bringing this up could be really upsetting and doesn't really serve a purpose. Is it true, yes. Is it kind or necessary? Hell no.

When You Suggest They Are Selfish


I get to control my own fertility. You don't get a say in when or whether another person decides to have children. When you make casual comments about me selfishly staying child-free in my 20s so I could do things for me, or worse, suggest my kids might miss out because I am older now or will be ancient when they reach adulthood, it's seriously shaming.

Ad failed to load

When You Ask Them If They Conceived "Naturally"

Yes, they were, but seriously? Asking questions about someone's fertility is offensive and emotionally charged. Implying that babies conceived with reproductive assistance are "unnatural" is messed up. Also, assuming something about my health or ability to conceive based on my age is really shaming. No one ever seems to ask men if they father children "at their age."

When You Treat Them Like A Medical Marvel


Holy crap. I'm 38, not 70, and even if I was, it would still be none of your business if I was able to have babies. Even if you are concerned about me or my kids, it's really none of your freaking business. You do you, and let me do me. I don't need or want your concern or advice. Seriously.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills