By Carol Bogart

As one who has always adored babies and toddlers and didn’t give birth to my one and only son ‘til I was nearing 40, I’ve followed with interest the two cases in recent years of women over 60 having babies.

First was that Italian woman. Now it’s a psychologist from Jersey who, while cradling her newborn twins, wants aging women to know they have “choices.” Unclear is whether eggs she froze while still fertile were the source of the latest addition to her family – which includes a 6 year old son. She wanted, she said, to provide playmates for her youngest child.

Her eldest, a 33-year-old adult daughter, reportedly thinks her mother’s nuts.

The new mother’s doctor pronounced her perfectly fit to carry the pregnancy and points out that people are living longer these days – with women in their 60s often looking like they’re in their 40s.

That may be. But I remember that, when I was pregnant with Mike, my ob-gyn said I was an “elderly primate” … at 38! He told me women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and, as the woman ages, so, too, do her eggs. That’s the reason, he said, children born to older mothers are more likely to have little glitches – like Down Syndrome.

I suppose if a person has the foresight to freeze “youthful” eggs, or is happy to incubate younger eggs donated by a relative, such as a niece or daughter, then the issue can be examined solely from the standpoint of whether being born to older parents is fair to the child.

My own parents were 37 (mom) and 42 (dad) when I came along – the second of two, with a brother who was 13 years older. Basically, I grew up as an only child, reared with the values of a generation one removed from that of most of my friends. Much of the time I felt isolated, different and lonely.

To make sure my own son had a different sort of childhood, our house sported a sign: “Welcome to Grand Central Station.” The door was always open to his friends. I made sure we had lots of fun stuff to do. Lonely is one thing Mike wasn’t.

Through about my mid-40s, I hoped to give him a sibling, but by 50, I accepted that it just wasn’t to be. By 55, I realized it was just as well. Mike has ADHD. One kid only was a handful.

I still adore babies and toddlers. The thought of starting over, though, with sleepless nights, through-and-through exhaustion, school projects, ferrying a child to endless after school activities and events, juggling work demands and child demands, in short – all that parenting involves – is enough to give me hives.

More importantly, just how fair is it to bring a baby into the world – when the parent’s health may only hold for about a decade?

I don’t know. Seems sorta selfish to me. But then, I think that Jersey couple wasn’t thinking straight when they had their 6 year old.

Carol Bogart blogs at http://carolbogart.blogspot.com/. Contact her at 3bogart@sbcglobal.net.

 

 

 

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