It ain't over 'til it's over, I guess.
A 63-year old woman in England is more than 7 months pregnant after going through IVF last fall. She will be the oldest woman in England to give birth if all goes well. That's good news for the happy parents, I'm sure. But think about that for a moment. Pregnant, and 63 years old.
Does the very idea of pregnancy after age 50 scare the hell out of any of you women who are 45 and older? It sure scares the hell out of me.
I realize there are a lot of women who desperately want to become mothers and some of them are, like me, nearing the zone where that is going to be difficult if not physically impossible. So perhaps for some people, the thought that motherhood is at least theoretically possible into your 50's and even your 60's might be a comforting idea.
But just because it is possible, does that mean it's necessarily a good idea? Let's face it girls, the older you get, the less energy you've got to run around after an infant or toddler or young child, and the shorter your life span. There comes a point where, if you're having children past a certain age, you run the risk of not living long enough to see your children comfortably into their adult lives. Is that being fair to those children born to 50-60-somethings? What about those who might have to take over raising those kids if their parents don't live long enough to do it themselves? And would you really want to deal with strangers stopping you on the street to tell you how adorable your GRANDCHILD is, when it's really your CHILD?
I'm not trying to get all moral about this, and truly, I think a baby is a blessing no matter what the circumstances, so if a woman really wants to be pregnant at an older age and is prepared to handle the inevitable challenges that go with it, more power to her.
But for me, at just days away from turning 45 (when I will probably start getting membership offers from the AARP - American Association of Retired Persons), I really like my childless life, with the freedom to come and go as I please. The thought of NOW having a child and having to commit the next 18-20 years of my life to that child is not as attractive to me as it was say, even 10 years ago. I guess what I'm saying is that while biologically I COULD have a child, I've made my peace with choosing NOT to become a mother and that one of these days real soon when menopause finally kicks in with a vengeance, I won't be a bit sorry. In fact it will probably be a relief.
And another thing: motherhood ages you, at least on the outside. Most people who meet me and find out my age react with disbelief, saying I don't look anywhere near 45. Although they might just be trying to be polite, I do think some of them actually mean it. And my response is: "That's because I don't have kids." My sister, who is slightly younger than I am and who is married with two teenagers, sometimes looks like the older sister rather than the younger despite the fact that she's considerably thinner than I am. One of her friends even thought so. She has more lines around her eyes and usually looks more tired than I do, what with running her daughter around to activities, worrying about her son in college, working full-time as a teacher, being a wife and caring for a home. Having a family -- while a joyous thing in most respects -- is physically exhausting and it does age your body. At a time in life when most of us are trying to preserve whatever vestiges of youth still remain, why subject your body to a whole new set of stressors through pregnancy and child-rearing?
This is why hearing about someone who WANTS to be a mother at an age where most women are enjoying being grandmothers... it just feels like insanity to me. I wish these new "senior" parents well, of course, and hope the baby is healthy and happy and that they all have a lovely life together. I'm just glad it's not ME going through it.