I’ve mentioned before that my wife often finds great blog fodder from Match.com when checking her juno email account. Earlier this week I sent one such article to The Private Man, and he used it for his excellent post, Match.com Hates Happy Relationships.
She told me about another one last night, titled Why your forties are prime time for love. Read this article by Debbie Magids, Ph.D. and you will learn that the laws of nature have been repealed:
Today, turning 40 signals that you’re at the prime of your life
Well, today is definitely nothing like your parents expected it to be. You’re living in a post-millennium world now. Society has evolved, along with the individual notion and perception of what constitutes “age.” Forty is — by anyone’s standards — considered to be young, smart and sexy; just look to Hollywood for myriad examples. Several “older” leading ladies have taken up with much younger men, sparking the cougar phenomenon.
It isn’t just appearances which have changed, but biology itself (emphasis mine):
A woman doesn’t need to rush into pregnancy for fear of becoming too old, rendering her infertile. It’s actually common now for couples to marry and have children in their thirties and forties…
I knew many are able to marry and have children in their 30s, but I wasn’t aware it was common for women to do this in their 40s! I also seem to recall a bit of discussion on this in the comments section of my post on why age of marriage matters, so I thought I would see what data I could find in the 2011 Statistical Abstract of The United States. Table 80 (image, xls) had the data I was looking for. She is right, things have changed quite a bit in the last few years! Between 1996 and 2007 (the first and last years we have data for) the percentage of births by mothers who were 40 or over has increased by 35%! That is right! Just a fifteen years ago, only 1.9% of all live births were to mothers 40 or older.
Now, it is 2.6%
The average age of mothers at first birth has steadily grown over the last 30 years too. In 1980 it was 22.7, but now it is 25.
Not all of the article is awful. I agree in general that keeping a youthful attitude is a good thing. But there is a difference between keeping a positive youthful attitude, and outright denial of reality. As The Private Man noted in his post, this stuff is almost exclusively aimed at women. How many young women today are reading this article and the hundreds just like it (not to mention the books) and setting themselves up for failure?