After a pregnancy at age 53, Carolyn Aronson welcomed a healthy baby girl in February 2021, when she was 54 years old.
What is it really like being pregnant, and having a new baby, in your 50s? Aronson says it's pretty great.
Aronson, CEO of It's a 10 Haircare, says she was shocked by her positive pregnancy test. She and her husband, Jeff Aronson, felt "utter disbelief and extreme joy" at the thought of adding their first child together to their family, which previously consisted of a blended family of siblings who range in age from 14 to 20.
And, in the three months baby Aliya Dream has been alive, Aronson says she's loved getting a second try at parenting an infant.
"There's just so many great perks to being a little bit older when you have children," Aronson told TODAY Parents in an exclusive interview. "The experience level is way high, the maturity level is even higher and with each decade, I think women become better and better. In your '40s you become justified but in your '50s, you're really at your finest."
Aronson's "finest" parenting includes feeling more confident and capable of handling an infant and being more financially secure than she was the last time she was a new mother.
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"You're so much more ready, you have more experience and I think there's nothing better for a woman than to be able to actually calm and pacify and take care of your baby," she said. "To be able to actually calm your own baby and know how to do it — there's nothing more rewarding than that and the fact that I can do it better at 54 because I have more experience and I know what to do: It's that much better a feeling."
Aronson says her four older children took some time adjusting to having an infant in the house, but now that baby Aliya is 3 months old, they've grown more comfortable with picking up their small baby sister and are smitten with her growing personality.
"They don’t want to be little moms and dads at this point," said Aronson. "They think she's cute, but they're obviously, at this stage, extremely into their own lives, which is to be expected."
As for Aronson and her husband, they cherish every moment with Aliya.
"We're so thankful," said Aronson. "We just are so freaking in love with this little girl. She can do no wrong. Her middle name is Dream because she truly is our dream come true. We literally revel in every little bitty thing."
Aronson says she was surprised by how easy her pregnancy was at age 54: She gained just 10 pounds while pregnant and feels that she bounced back easily after delivering Aliya via C-section.
"I think I'm actually stronger than when I had my other daughter 14 years ago," she explained. "I'm more mature and I make better choices at this stage in my life. I know that I am what I eat. I know that staying healthy, taking my vitamins and staying active are an important part of the next 50 years of my life."
"In your '50s, everything from how you take care of the baby to how you take care of yourself is different," she added. "You know better, you do better. I really do believe that."
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After living through two different seasons of new motherhood, Aronson has some advice for first-time mothers.
"I think it is so important to really educate yourself," Aronson said. "Teach yourself how to care for and interact with your baby, because we're afraid in the beginning and sometimes we get so petrified that we're happy just to have a clean diaper on them."
"If you actually dive into it, educate yourself and learn things, you start connecting more as a mother and seeing your baby develop because of it. When you start seeing that baby develop because of the things you're doing, it's extremely rewarding as a mother."