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Much much older mothers

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I just finished (this morning!) reading the novel "State of Wonder," by Ann Patchett. I've loved her style ever since I finally listened to the people who said that "Bel Canto" was amazing and beautiful even though it was pretty much about terrorism. In the novel, among other things, a group of scientists have found a tribe in South America in which women never experience menopause and therefore can continue getting pregnant and giving birth their entire lives. They care for their babies as they can, trusting that when they can't their own daughters and granddaughters will be there It presents the idea as something that pharm companies would love to get their hands on and make millions with, but controversial for all sorts of other reasons.


It was a lovely novel, and I recommend it to any of you looking for summer reading.

 

So imagine my surprise when I'm browsing through the pregnancy articles on the Huffington Post not three hours later and I find a link to this:
http://nymag.com/news/features/mothers-over-50-2011-10/

 

An article on beginning motherhood (and parenthood) in one's late 40s and 50s (and even beyond).

 

The article talks about women being brought out of menopause to get pregnant, women freezing their eggs or using donor eggs along with their husbands' sperm in their own wombs. How there is arthritis and high blood pressure to deal with. How "a child born to two 50-year-old parents will lose her father when she’s 25 and her mother when she’s 30."

 

But make sure you keep going! At the middle of the article, there's a shift. The article also talks about how children born through IVF score better on intelligence tests. Children of older people find their parents more involved because they're aware of how much they had to risk and fight to have children later. These women having babies later are living longer. After all, "now the average woman lives to be 81. At 50, she’s nowhere near dead." 

 

I'm curious as to what you all think. On the one hand, I don't want to judge a woman for wanting a baby at 50 any more than I would judge someone for wanting one at 25 - as long as she really wants the baby and believes herself to be as ready as she can be emotionally and financially. On the other hand, I am in awe of a woman who would take on all of the physical effects that I've felt so far even 22 weeks into my very easy first pregnancy - what would morning sickness, trying to sleep comfortably, carrying 30 extra pounds around, and labor all be like at the age when many people are getting hip replacements, knee replacements, hormone treatment for menopause symptoms, etc?

 

I know we have some slightly older mamas in this group (I'm 26 and have absolutely no idea what it would be like to be even 15 years older and getting pregnant), and I would love to hear your perspectives.

post #2 of 6

I haven't read the book, or the article, but thanks for posting this because i find it interesting.

 

I would just add that many, many women in their late 40's and early 50's are extremely fit and healthy. Some may say, even more healthy than some 20 somethings. They are not drinking and partying as they were in their earlier years and they are more health conscious.

 

I am currently 40 years old and pregnant with my second. I did maternal serum testing so that I could know if it would be safe for the baby to have another home birth. Turns out i don't have the odds of a 40 year old at all. My odds are that of a 15 year old. I am very, very healthy. I had a difficult time with nausea in my first trimester, but ever since i have felt amazing.

 

I think it has to be a personal choice. Only the woman in question can know if it is the right decision for herself to have a baby so late in life.

post #3 of 6

I find it interesting too.  Looking at my family tree, many, many of the women in my maternal family were fertile well into their 40s--in a time when life expectancy was much, much shorter than it is today. I am sure my mom would have been able to conceive, naturally, well into her 40s. I like to believe that our bodies do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it. Still, I cannot imagine extending this phase of my life into another decade. Also, from friends' experiences, it seems fertility treatments are hard on healthy "young" women; I cannot imagine the toll it might take on someone later in life.

 

Really, isn't the debate a modern creation? Before birth control, women procreated as their bodies were able. Old and young.

post #4 of 6

My maternal grandmother had her last baby of 12 at 47 and a woman at my church had two children in her mid fifties in a second marriage with no fertility treatments so I think it is okay because who know really how long we will live and they were awesome mothers? 

 

My one issue is pulling your body out of menopause I have to admit that bothers me.

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey Keeper View Post

I find it interesting too.  Looking at my family tree, many, many of the women in my maternal family were fertile well into their 40s--in a time when life expectancy was much, much shorter than it is today. I am sure my mom would have been able to conceive, naturally, well into her 40s. I like to believe that our bodies do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it.

 

Really, isn't the debate a modern creation? Before birth control, women procreated as their bodies were able. Old and young.

 

yes! Yes!  My thoughts exactly!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuicyPakwan View Post

My maternal grandmother had her last baby of 12 at 47 and a woman at my church had two children in her mid fifties in a second marriage with no fertility treatments so I think it is okay because who know really how long we will live and they were awesome mothers? 

 

My one issue is pulling your body out of menopause I have to admit that bothers me.

 

Ditto to this as well!

 

My MIL is one of nine children.  Her mom (so, dh's grandmother) was pregnant with her 9th child when her oldest was getting married.  I'm not sure of her age exactly, but she was into her 40s.  She never did anything to hinder or encourage fertility/pregnancy, but it just worked out that way.

 

I wouldn't consider myself old by any means (I'll turn 33 next month), but do feel I have a parenting perspective of 10 years and I think there are advantages/drawbacks to any age/stage of parenting.  There simply is no 'ideal' time to have children.  Nor is there any 'perfect' sort of spacing between children, should you choose to have more than one.  When things happen, they just have a way of working out.

post #6 of 6

My mom had my younger brother when she was 39 (when my brother was 10 and I was 8). She passed away due to brain cancer this past November. It was (and still is, especially when I'm pregnant and yearn to have my mother to talk to) hard to lose a parent at 26 and I know it was hard on my brother at 18 - trying to graduate high school and leave for college with the weight of my mom's illness on him was not easy. But you can't plan your death, you don't know when it is coming no matter when you have kids. And I know that no one regrets my brother, if anything having my dad and siblings has made everything easier. 

 

All that is just to say that, ironically, I probably would have put more weight on that particular argument before experiencing the death of a parent.

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