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A woman who had a baby at 54 wants other women to know 'your time clock is not what you think it is'

Jan 7, 2022, 00:14 IST
Courtesy of Carolyn Aronson
  • Carolyn Aronson got pregnant with her second daughter at age 54.
  • Her first pregnancy, at 40, was a completely different experience.

South Floridian Carolyn Aronson was 54 when she gave birth to her now 10-month-old daughter, Aliya. She and her husband, Jeff, had been married for seven years, and the pair were desperate for a new addition to their blended family. "The oldest three are my stepchildren, ages 17, 19, and 21, and I have one daughter age 14," Aronson said.

"I literally got pregnant right as the country was locking down from COVID-19," said Aronson, adding that her experience was much different the second time around. "When I had my first daughter at age 40, I was extremely busy starting a business, and my focus was not my pregnancy. With this pregnancy, I was much more peaceful, and Aliya's temperament shows that — she's a very tranquil baby. We feel very, very blessed."

Aronson is far from an anomaly. According to the CDC's National Vital Statistic Report, 1,073 women over 50 gave birth in 2019, a 745% increase since 1997.

The risks of pregnancy after 50

It's not impossible for a woman to conceive naturally after 50, but because the quality of a woman's eggs has declined, pregnancies at this age are usually achieved using a donor egg, says Lauren Bishop, a reproductive endocrinologist at Columbia University Fertility Center. (Aronson, citing privacy concerns, declined to say if she used a donor egg or fertility treatments for her pregnancy.)

Women over 50 are at higher risk of developing complications like high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and preterm delivery, so a high-risk obstetrician-gynecologist should evaluate their health prior to attempting pregnancy, Bishop said.


"In order to have a healthy baby, the first step is to make sure we have a healthy mom," she said.

Aronson, who said she'd always been health-conscious, was given the greenlight by her fertility specialist, and her pregnancy occurred without complications.

She said waiting to have children allowed her to be more present as a mom. "I was a better human being at 40 and 54 than I would have been in my 20s or 30s — it just wasn't the time for me then," said Aronson.

A 'dream come true'

"I cannot tell you how many people told me no. The bottom line is that it was something my husband and I wanted together so badly. We worked very hard at bringing her to life, and she is our dream come true," said Aronson. In fact, Aliya's middle name is Dream.

"The love that she's brought to our entire family, from grandparents to aunts and uncles to cousins to our own children has been such a blessing, especially during COVID-19. I think we're all appreciating humanity a little more. We're appreciating our families a little more, and we're connecting with them more," said Aronson.


Getting pregnant later in life

For younger women who feel pressured by society — or their biological clock — Aronson hopes to be an inspiration.

"Your time clock is not what you think it is. There are more and more women these days freezing their eggs and using them later in life so they don't feel that pressure. It's smart. It's brilliant, and it can be done healthfully. There's a lot of ways to accomplish [a later-in-life pregnancy], and you shouldn't feel bad about it," she said.

"My advice is if you really, really want it, do the research and work towards your goal. Don't let people discourage you. It's really none of their business," said Aronson. "I have a beautiful, beautiful little baby and that's really what it's all about."

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