Having A Baby At 50 – An Act Of Selfishness Or Love?

English: A picture of a young child
English: A picture of a young child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personally I can’t imagine anything worse than having a baby at this time in my life, and if I could find a way to blackmail my doctor to rip out my ovaries at my next pap test, I would.

 

But each to their own.

 

I’m nearly fifty and on a good day I’m tired, cranky, exhausted for no reason and my hormones dictate my mood unless I dilute their superpowers with wine. And my body still hasn’t recovered from my last pregnancy, seventeen years ago.

 

Which is why the news that Sonia Kruger is pregnant at the age of 48 has set the cat among the pigeons among many middle-aged women.

 

Admittedly, I also can’t imagine the awfulness of having problems conceiving when you are desperate for a baby and all your peers have popped out babies as easily as rabbits. It certainly sounds as though Sonia and her partner have been through the infertility mill as far as treatments go.

 

And I’m sure that Sonia will make a fantastic mother. She is intelligent, successful, likeable, looks physically fit for her age and there is no doubt that she can provide a safe and financially secure environment for her child.

 

But she’s 48, a time when she should be thinking about flat shoes, the freedom of the elasticated waistband and armchairs with a built in footrest – not changing diapers. What’s more, nature naturally dictates that women shouldn’t bear children that close to ‘the change’, which is why our ovaries stop producing eggs to allow us to become bitter and twisted without risk to our children.

 

I know it’s not my place to decide who should and shouldn’t have a baby and usually I have a very open mind, but I can’t help thinking that this is not about me or Sonia.

 

Surely this is about whether her pregnancy is the right decision for the child too?

 

I don’t judge her for wanting a baby. It’s all I ever wanted and in spite of the challenges that parenting has thrown up, my life is complete because of my children.

 

But…

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

I question whether Sonia and her partner have thought this through objectively? Ideally kids need more than love. They need continuity and  a future with their parents. Just because the science is out there to help us procreate from donor eggs beyond the natural age of child-rearing, does that mean we should do it?

 

There have been a lot of scientific discoveries that we have to consider the consequences of wisely before use. Nuclear warfare is one. An incredible discovery but one that if abused, we now know is not necessarily the right thing to do.

 

I am Sonia’s age and will be nearly fifty when NC turns twenty at the end of this week. But in spite of the generation between us, I am still young and fit enough to keep up with her physically and mentally, empathise with her emotions, give her boyfriend- advice, and I should still have enough years ahead of me to be around for those pivotal moments in her life such as her wedding day and the birth of her children.

 

I didn’t have my mother around for those life events and it had a devastating effect on my growth that has transmitted through to my own children.

 

Sonia will be nearly seventy when her baby turns twenty and their relationship should evolve into a friendship. Has she considered that her child’s peers may think that she is the grandmother when she accompanies them on a tour of uni or goes to the parents evening at school?

 

Of course it can be argued that as long as a child is loved, age shouldn’t matter, and I respect that opinion wholeheartedly if you don’t have a choice like many menopausal women who accidentally fall pregnant.

 

But to choose to have a baby at 48 – is that an act of selfishness or love?

 

 

12 thoughts on “Having A Baby At 50 – An Act Of Selfishness Or Love?

  1. I mam not sure … I have friends who are in their b40s and long to be a mum … but do you want to be 60 when they turn 18???? and is it really a good idea to risk them being orphaned quite young? I don’t know but maybe I think it is more selfish, if motivated by love

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  2. I am fairly sure you’d punch me in the face if you knew what my immediate thought to the title of this post was 🙂 Phew! I had my last baby at 37 and even then I felt like an old mum when she was in prep. In saying that, I realise I already had 4 kids and if my only chance at having a baby was when I was 50 I would have taken it. I think if you’re healthy enough… go for it. People live longer now and are better equipped. But also in saying that… I definitely would not be happy to be having a baby now at my mature age. Bleeeeaaauhhhh.

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    1. People live longer but your quality of life definitely begins to diminish after seventy so your twenty year old has to start looking after you when they should be having the best years of their life.

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  3. And yet, there was a thing back in the dark ages, say before 1970, that was called a “change of life baby” or a “menopause baby” because as you mentioned, hormones do begin to fluctuate wildly in this time. Granted, it usually, but not always, happened in women who had given birth several times before (rather than as a first baby, but that too was not unheard of.) Often it was a possibly unwelcome shock to a woman who thought herself beyond such things.

    In Chinese medicine, it’s considered that the parent, both parents, give the constitutional strength (Jing) to the child for their entire lifetime and so having elderly parents, or even one elderly parent, is considered to be a detriment to a child’s life span and strength as the parent can only give a measure of what they have at the point of conception. So there’s that.

    But on the other had are the many people who have been raised by their grandparents for one reason or another, and not just in our current age. There are compensations to the energy of youth, hopefully, wisdom that can be passed along to a child. No situation is perfect for bringing a child into the world, but one thing that is really important is to desire the child. Perhaps it’s better to be a dearly desired baby of an older parent than baby conceived of a youthful parent who is not in the place to so deeply desire a child.

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  4. I could not agree more about the welfare of the child being primary! One thing that worries me tremendously is the health of a child conceived after umpteen-gazillion fertility interventions. My experience of seeing those children is quite limited, but from what I have seen, and from the theory of Chinese medicine, I wonder about the constitutional strength and therefore long-term health and lifespan of such children. I wonder how ethical it is on the part of the parents to go to those extraordinary lengths to have a child who might suffer life-long ill health and an early death. But we won’t know for sure about the outcomes for these children until, what? 30-40 years from now? Obviously, nobody made me Goddess of the Universe… so I have no say over the issue, but I am concerned. I also hope that future generations will learn from our first world epidemic of infertility and have their children earlier, should they desire children. I know that does not exactly dovetail with our I-Can-Have-It-All philosophy of the last couple generations, but I would argue it would be much better for our children.

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  5. While I could think of nothing worse I think it’s her call. There are no guarantees in life. There are no foolproof ways of protecting ourselves (or our children) from life’s potential problems. Death, illness, disability, financial problems, school yard teasing, having your parents mistaken for your grandparents… the list of issues goes on and on and can not be controlled by age or apparent good health or apparent wealth or status. Good luck to her I say.

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