Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Being a first time mother at 63

is irresponsible.  It is also selfish.
The woman who made the front page news in today's paper is not considering the child at all. That child, a girl, is going to be looking after a mother older than many grandmothers by the time she is in her teens. Her father, currently aged 76, may not even be alive. If he is he will be older than the Senior Cat before the girl reaches legal adulthood. 
What on earth were her parents thinking of? 
 I know someone who had her first child in her forties. She and her husband had tried for years to have a child. They had reached the point of believing it was no longer possible when the baby came along. I like their daughter, now an adult,  very much. At the present time she is finishing a  university course with honours. All that is good but she also has multiple health problems and they are constant worry for  her and her parents. 
I remember their concern when a Romanian woman became pregnant and gave birth at 66. When a German woman gave birth to quadruplets at 65 they were even more concerned.
"Mum was old enough," my friend's daughter told me, "What if the kids have problems like mine?"
I know someone with triplets - and it has been incredibly hard work. She admits she would not have coped if  she had not had help from her mother and even the then four year old daughter. Eleven years on she admits, "I couldn't do it now."
But I also look on it from the point of view of the child. I remember my father's cousin in Canberra. He was in his fifties when he first became a father. He and his wife adopted and then had two children naturally. His daughter once said to me, "The problem with the boys is they have a grandfather for a father." I knew what she meant. He didn't have the energy to father  the boys in the way a younger man might. He couldn't kick a football or keep up with their other activities. 
And yes, you will - all things being equal - lose your parents sooner. I know how hard it has been for Ms Whirlwind growing up without a mother. However much "mothering" she gets from other people it is not the same - and she knows it. 
Is having a child at 66, however much you may want one, really fair on the child?