Should we have babies after 50?

Angel - posted on 11/07/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Will we have a growing army of women getting pregnant after menopause? Is this a bad thing?

I had my babies in my 40's, but now I think we're in for some big changes.

Since the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) announced they were lifting the "experimental" ban from women freezing their eggs at a younger age, many people are concerned there will be a growing army of women getting pregnant after 50 or even older, and that this is going to have some long term effects on families and kids.

What so you think the longer term impact will be on age and fertility? If you want to really have a say, you can watch this 1-minute video and click to vote on the 3 questions below it:

http://achildafter40.com/babies-after-ag...

18 Comments

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Sophia - posted on 02/21/2014

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We see people on TV and say look she does it... However she has a live I. Maid and nanny. Someone to run around and do the things. Mommy should be doing. Our body change as we get older and kids should have a mom that can do mommy things. It's not their problem if you can't Enjoy loud kids in the park... Or no longer like stranding on line for a movie .

Angel - posted on 09/05/2013

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Sophia, I doubt any woman getting pregnant, or adopting, a baby at age 50 or older would compare it to buying a "new shoe". It's usually a carefully thought-out choice, by women who are financially stable and physically fit. Remember, the average life expectancy for women is now 81. You might wish to read this story about a marriage therapist, and former school teacher, who adopted a baby girl from an orphanage in China, where the child's fate was very dubious: http://achildafter40.com/became-single-m...
Each story of "delayed" motherhood is unique and should be perceived on its own merit.

Linda - posted on 01/05/2013

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My journey has been interesting. In my 20's I got married and wanted children only to find out both my first husband and myself had infertility issues. He didn't want to pursue any of it or adoption. We later divorced, I continued on with my life going to school at night and working during the day and one day met my second husband who also was divorced without children. He wasn't to keen on the idea either, but we went ahead with fertilitiy treatments and at 39 I got pregnant and then at 12 weeks lost my baby. We were upset, but decided to spend the money on a child that was already here and adopt. We (more my husband) also didn't want multiple births and at that time, the first woman octomom had given birth. We adopted a little girl. We went on with our lives. I started to work in education and we created our forever family. I am 52 and my husband is 7 years older. Our daughter graduated high school early and went to college only to drop out and lose her scholarship. She is now working. There was always a cloud over our family, as our daughter's her birth parents had abandoned her in a shelter. She has since found them and they have not changed. Our daughter was taken away from these people for a reason. I felt like there has been a death in the family and my husband very angry. Our daughter is unhappy with what she found and we tried to protect her from all of this long ago. However, if she ever had questions, we answered her honestly. I hope that in time she will find peace. She has been gone for almost 2 years now. She lived with friends and grandparents. I have worked with children for over 12 years and most days love it. You have kids with great behaviors and others not so good. Both my husband and I made lifestyle changes a few years ago due to medical conditions and are healthier now, than we have ever been. We don't have lots of money, but during the recession, we didn't falter as we owned our home, always pay our bills and no credit card debt. Security to give to a child. It may be selfish, but I have always wanted to have a baby. With anti aging doctors and technology 5 to 10 years out, we all are going to live longer and healthier qualities of lives if we choose. Why can't you have the access to the fertility as well, as long as it is safe. I know I have a long way to go until I retire, as well as my daughter's generation. My husband can be home with our child when he retires in a few years. We have all kinds of families today. I love being a mom, wife, petmom and teacher. If we choose to have or adopt another child, he/she will be in their thirties when I am 80. Realistically, my husband will probably go before me. We always discussed children and grandchildren. A year ago, after all this happened, I would have said I would never adopt again. I still would do it all again, but have the option to try on my own first. Fertility treatments are alot different now than they were 14 years ago. My parents are in their 70's and look great and are very active. They took care of me as a child, why wouldn't a child want to help take care of their parents? As my husband has always said...life isn't a straight line!

Mrs Sylvia - posted on 12/09/2012

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as a mum who had a baby at 41 i can say its a very bad idea to have babies after 50 its exausting having had my other 2 in my twenties i can compare, you have less energy nd patience and lack of sleep is a killer, when you are older. it is also selfish i am now in my fifties and my daughter is embarassed to tell her mates i am her mum often says i am her nan, this makes me feel awful as to why i even botherd. i am now the mum of a teenager who often says she wishes she was never born its all very well when they are cuddly babies or toddlers but just wait till they become TEENAGERS....... LOL also when older your health often suffers and pregnancy takes its toll on your body and health.

Liz - posted on 11/18/2012

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Umm not for me, I just got my last of 5 sons out of my house, at age 58. I am weepy, hot, menapausal, and frankly nicer than I was when I was pregnant. No more babies, I am finally able to sleep all night(except for getting up to pea....wait that is just like I was when I pregnant) and not have to listen for when he (or his 4 other brothers) got home from work, or dates. No more getting up to make breakfast for him, and his 4 other brothers at 6 am. I can blissfully sleep until the late time of 6:45am. I am sorry, I am not going to have another child, but I do enjoy my granddaughter, and love her so much, and then SEND HER HOME. And I do lover her so much. So No more kids for me.....but if someone else wants to try and can do it safely, who am I to say No. I would, however, have the mental health of the mother and father checked, just to be on the safe side.

Sophia Marie - posted on 11/11/2012

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hell no.. children are not a new shoe... you need to think about their needs too. I had my last child at 40 ... not plan by me but by god..lol .. anyway he is six and his brother is away at school 20 years old. I could not see my life without him but.... girl I have to put on my game face because he think I can do everything... and I do but like I say I have to PUT on my game face.... its not there all the time because I am not has young as I use to be....

Angel - posted on 11/10/2012

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I understand where you are coming from and respect your beliefs. Many people feel the way you do.

Sadly, many of the women who do use reproductive technologies, including egg donation, after menopause do so after years of trying to conceive naturally,

I was 36 when I started to feel genuine fear that I may never have children because the right relationship was just not turning up. It's not a one-sided affair. Men have changed too and many women find that men are all too often not commitment oriented these days. Perhaps it's because our sexual behavior has changed, but that's a rather in depth subject.

I'm saddened because I feel that too many women in their 30's, who are prepared and ready to be mothers, are not able to do so because partnership isn't as simple as picking a father off the rack like you would a new dress.

Women just don't kick back and decide to wait until after menopause to conceive. Everyone has a story.

I was fortunate enough to meet my 2nd husband at 40, when I had all but given up. I was even more fortunate to conceive naturally.

However, I feel the circumstances are too complex to judge those who choose motherhood during perimenopause. Some experts have called menopause an "evolutionary relic" because life expectancy has soared beyond what it once was, even a few hundred years ago. (If you want the source on this, let me know.) Like it or not, reproductive technologies are only going to advance, and rapidly. Who has the right to take the moral high ground? It's going to be a sticky one. These technologies will become a mainstay, part of the furniture if you will, of the lives of our children and their children. If they are available, they will be used, by people of all ages.

However, there is for many a natural inclination to draw the line there, at menopause and I completely see the logic in that conclusion, and respect it.

You are very eloquent in your debating style, Dennika! :) it's been a pleasure "talking" with you because you are equally respectful and that, in my understanding, is the nature of any true debate. :)

Denikka - posted on 11/10/2012

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Do you honestly believe, being a woman yourself, that thousands upon thousands of women are just "selfish" and consciously choose to delay motherhood for no other reason that to joyride through their 20's and 30's?





No, I absolutely don't think that they're selfish to delay motherhood, for whatever reason that ends up being. I know that there are many good reasons that something like that can be delayed, everything from focusing on their career, wanting to enjoy their youth, not finding the right partner (in some cases, any partner), or just a plain inability to conceive. None of those reasons, or any other, are selfish.



The selfish part is wanting to have a baby, especially a first and only, in their 50s or 60s instead of accepting the natural limitations on their body. There comes a point where, let's face it, you are just too old to have a baby. It is too hard on your system. Not to mention all the care that goes into a young child.

It's bad enough when people who are grandparents, like mine, are forced back into a parenting role. Even if that child is truly desired and loved, age creates its own limitations. But to willingly place yourself in that situation, just to be able to say *I birthed my own baby*, is ridiculous to me.

I get the drive to have children, I really do. I get the drive to have your own biological children. But there really comes a point where you have to accept certain limitations. I firmly believe that the biological limitation for a woman to conceive and carry their own baby is, and should be, menopause. It's a body saying *I am no longer fit and able enough to carry children* and forcing a body beyond it's limitations, especially with something as draining as pregnancy. . .is not a positive thing in my mind.

I am all for choice. I am pro choice when it comes to abortion. I am pro assisted suicide. While I think a woman's place is in the home with her children while they're young, I will defend to the death her right to choose to stay at home or be in the work force.

But this is one thing that I just can't wrap my head around. There just comes a point where you accept the limitations that you have chosen.

Each choice has consequences. And if you have chosen a full career ahead of having children and it's only when you retire at 60 or 65 that you decide *hmm. I might like to have a kid*, the consequence of that is that you can't have children. You decided other things were more important. If you were barren and decided not to seek medical intervention (IVF) under 55 and well past menopause, the consequence is that you can not have children.

Sometimes things aren't really a choice, but we still have to suffer the consequences and reap the benefits.



It seems to me that so many people want what they want and damn the consequences. They want a full, lifetime career, and then when that's over, then they want to have a baby. It doesn't work that way. What about thinking of what the child will go through, having a parent who is the average age of most of their friends grandparents.







***

I just want to clarify that I'm not against IVF treatments to help women conceive, even though it may sound that way, even to me at times. I am against post menopausal women purposefully conceiving in an unnatural way (aka IVF or fertility treatments). I'm not happy about older women conceiving naturally, but there's not much to do to regulate that. And I would not advocate that children be taken away from older parents or anything of that nature. Just that there should be an age limit (45-50 as per the average age of menopause) on any fertility treatment.

Angel - posted on 11/10/2012

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Thanks! :D I really do appreciate the time you've taken to read what I've written, both here and on the blog. I think it's really important to look at things from all sides. I do value hearing of your experiences of being raised by your grandparents. If you'd ever like to write a guest blog on this, and let my readers know how you feel, you're welcome to. Just let me know.

Angel - posted on 11/10/2012

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Where the line gets drawn is tough. You need to understand though that, statistically speaking, the number of women having children after 50 is still extremely low and needs to be taken in context. I'm very aware of all of the cases you've mentioned, but they are the extreme. The media loves to get their hands on cases such as Carmen Bousada de Lara of Spain, or Rajo Devi Lohan from India, because they are sensational, not because they represent statistical significance.

Also, I concur with many fertility doctors who point out that each case must be viewed on an individual basis, and we cannot judge others with sweeping generalizations.

In my case, for example, I did marry at 26, only to discover that my husband did not want children. It took years to divorce, more years to heal, and yet more to find the right father and husband. There is nothing worse than making poor choices in our partners. Children are for life. I was fortunate in that I was able to conceive naturally at 41 and 44. But most women are not. And reproductive technology is not the cure-all for age that many people think it is.

Very, very few of these women are truly "selfish". It's easy to accuse them of it; there's more work involved in understanding the greater reasons that have carried them to this place.

My mother's generation came from the 1950's; women were homemakers then. It was clear cut. Any woman born from the 60's onward had a very different set of social expectations. It was no longer the right thing to marry out of high school and get pregnant. We were expected to educate ourselves and explore the new opportunities that women's liberation bought for us. The difference today is that you have the CHOICE. Our mothers did not.

Do you honestly believe, being a woman yourself, that thousands upon thousands of women are just "selfish" and consciously choose to delay motherhood for no other reason that to joyride through their 20's and 30's?

In the 1960's, Pandora's box of social change carried women into an historically unprecedented new direction. We still don't know how to cope with the overwhelming social expectation that we somehow bring home a paycheck and have kids at a socially/biologically acceptable time as well. Think it through; see if your thoughts might explore some new directions.

Women need help finding the balance; not criticism. If you have daughters, they will be looking to you to help them to manage these sorts of life choices.

Denikka - posted on 11/10/2012

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I'd like to add that your article is very well written :) and definitely has truth in it :)

Denikka - posted on 11/10/2012

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I know my grandparents love me, and I will never doubt how much love an older mom has to give their children vs a younger one. I do believe that older moms have certain things to offer that younger mother may not (and vice versa). I realize that there were things that they may have wanted to do that raising me prevented them from doing, and I fully agree with you that having to looking after and raise a child is much different than desperately wanting a child. I don't blame them for what they were unable to do for me in my child hood. I resent that I was forced to miss out on certain things, but I blame circumstance, not them :)



I appreciate you sharing about your father, but you should remember that losing a grandparent and losing someone you consider to be a parent is a deeply different type of loss. I had no where to go, I had no one to be with that I knew on an intimate family level. Had my grandparents passed before I was living on my own, or had gotten extremely ill to the point where they could no longer care for me, I would have been shipped off, away from everything I had grown up with, to live with people I hadn't seen or talked to since before I was 6 years old. It would be parallel to a child losing their parent or parents in an accident, but you don't forsee an accident. I KNEW that old age leads to death. I knew of many people who died in their 60's and 70's. It was in the tabloids, actors etc that were younger then my grandparents who had died of *natural causes* or had heart attacks or other age related problems. I used to literally panic on the occasional morning that my grandparents slept in and I woke up before them.





I think my main issue is women who use IVF (or similar) to conceive AFTER they've been through menopause.



In 2006, there was a Spanish woman who had twins a week before her 67th birthday.

There were 2 Indian women who gave birth in 2008. They were both 70 years old.

They all used post menopausal IVF treatments.



Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara (in 2006) got IVF in the US by lying about her age (California's max age for IVF is 55). She died of cancer in 2009. The babies were 2.5 years old. She had been told that the drugs used during her fertility treatments may have hastened the advance of her disease. She had gone through menopause 18 years before she began treatments.



Omkari Panwar gave birth to boy/girl twins in 2008.

Rajo Devi Lohan gave birth to a girl in 2008 and is now dying and extremely weak due to complications from her IVF treatments. Her current life expectancy is 5-7 years.



A 66, a woman named Bhateri Devi Singh gave birth to triplets (2 boys, 1 girl) in 2010. The babies were severely under weight (one was under 2 lbs, the other two were about 2 1/2lbs) One of the triplets actually died less than a month after they were born.





I realize that those are extreme cases. But when something like this is opened up, where does is stop. Why is 45 okay, but not 50. Why is 50 okay but not 55. Where does the line get drawn?

As much as a woman may desperately want a child and had unfortunately been unable to have one before menopause, creating those kinds of risks, for herself and for the child, are just selfish in my mind. I cannot imagine putting that kind of burden, of caring for an aged and ailing parent (or BOTH parents) on the shoulders of a young child.

They want a baby, so they're going to have one. It seems that they don't think, care, or understand the kind of burden they're putting on their child's shoulders.

No, a 50 year old women cannot really be compared to a 70 year old woman. but once again, where does the line get drawn?

Angel - posted on 11/10/2012

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Denikka,

I was very moved by your post. I really appreciate the time you took to explain it all to me.

In your position, I would have been pretty angry with my mother for not having me full time and playing a more nurturing role. I'm certain your grandparents were ecstatic to have you, and have never stopped loving you, despite the changes in behavior.

Some really important things to consider, though, are these: First, they had already done an entire generation of being parents in raising your mother. As a parent yourself, I'm sure you can understand that after 20+ years of parenting, you might be ready for some time to to yourself to reflect or travel, etc. Second, it sounds like they weren't planning to become parents again, eg. it wasn't something they actually chose, even though it was a blessing for them.

Most women who have children later are first time moms. It means that they've had plenty of time to explore their own needs for personal experiences. They are eager and more than ready to be mothers. When the child arrives, he or she is profoundly cherished. They are grateful to have even had the chance to be a mom.

I'm 51 now and my kids are 10 and 7. I agree I do not have the resilience I had at your age, but I get physical with them often (in fact, I'm the "human trampoline" when we get into wrestling matches! :D), but I have to work hard to make time for exercise and take care with my diet. Every season has it's pros and cons. One of the gifts I have to offer is wisdom and experience--and the certainty and confidence that brings.

My father is now 83 and he lives on one side of the country and we live on the other. The kids adore him. They have the unique opportunity to talk to a grand dad who lived through the Great Depression and whose brothers fought in WWII. He comes to say with us 2x per year for up to a month. I worry too about what will happen when he passes. But I explain to the children that he's getting old and to savor every moment they can. We all worry about these things.

My dad was pretty tough when I was young and growing up. Being a mother taught me to forgive him for many things I once thought were transgressions or shortcomings. Perhaps being a mother, and understanding all of the stress and worry it includes (as well as the joy and the blessings), will help you to find some forgiveness too. Your experiences--for better for for worse--have made you into the wonderful, doting mother you are. :)

Age teaches us to savor every moment. I wrote this blog about my kids one night after putting them to bed, when I realized what a priceless gift they were to me, and how brief our lives really are. I'd like to share it with you. http://achildafter40.com/by-the-light-of...

Denikka - posted on 11/09/2012

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I did have many disappointments being raised by my grandparents.

They were just under 60 when I was born (my mom was 24). My mom has always been. . .less than nurturing, so when she got pregnant, it was safe to assume that they would be doing at least some of the raising. It wasn't planned out specifically, but I know they had some idea. For the first two years, my mom lived with them, then moved out and they fought for and got joint custody. I was there about 50-75% of the time from the age of about 2 until I turned 6, when I started living with them full time. They loved having kids around, and were ecstatic to have me there. They were in good health and no one believed they were the age they were. Everyone thought they were at LEAST 10 years younger than their chronological age. But there were definite age related limitations.



What I missed out on, I can definitely differentiate between what was physically lacking due to age, energy etc , and what was lacking because of the type of people they were.

Neither of them were able to play sports with me. Neither could stay up and watch TV past 9pm. Neither ever went on any carnival rides with me. The list goes on.

As I got a little older, they got crankier. Especially my grandfather. He was always the softer, more loving one. He was the one who would always spoil me. As I reached my teen years, he got crankier and grumpier. He would snap for no reason. He also got mean. He would make really hurtful comments about things like my weight (which is a sensitive issue with me, I've suffered with an eating disorder-which he knew about). When I was young, his patience was endless. He never spoke harshly or got angry in front of me, but as I got into my teen years, it was like there was almost never a time where he wasn't angry. He stopped doing things with me, even when I sought him out and asked him. He wouldn't even play cards with me, something that had been a favorite past time for us.



This was all because he was getting older, feeling his age, aches and pains, not sleeping as well....all specifically age related health issues.



On top that, I spent a large portion of my preteen and teen years worried sick that my grandparents would die. They were in their 70s at that point and, while in relatively good health, they had (still have) a tendency to over work themselves. I'm only 23 and every day I wait for the phone call that tells me that one or both of them have passed. They were lucky enough to be around for the births of their first two grand children (now 3.5 and 1.5 yrs), but had I waited until my 30s, they wouldn't have been.

I moved 2 provinces away, as a hugely beneficial lifestyle change, but now have to deal with massive guilt for being so far away from them and possibly not being there for them if health problems or worse arise.

I wonder if they will still be around for the birth of their third grandchild. I wonder if I'll get back to visit them. I wonder if my kids will ever see them again. I wonder if they'll be around and healthy enough to travel to come to my wedding. Every holiday that I have to miss without them here, hurts me so badly because as every one passes, I wonder if that one would have been my last chance to celebrate that holiday with them.



I think there's a huge difference between a woman who gets pregnant accidentally/naturally at an older age, and a woman who specifically goes in for invitro treatments or another *artificial* means of getting pregnant. The woman who CHOOSES to get pregnant, specifically at an older age, is selfish in my mind.

I am all for invitro and other options for women who have trouble getting pregnant. But once you go through menopause, that should be it. If you wait so long to have a baby that you've gone through menopause or are going through it, I'm sorry, but you've missed the boat. You want kids that badly, at that point, I would suggest looking into adopting an older child, or accepting that some things aren't meant to be.

Angel - posted on 11/09/2012

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Dennika,

Sounds like you may have had some disappointments being raised by your grandparents. Did they know they would be raising you in advance? I ask that because there's a difference between older people who are actually planning for, and deeply passionate about having children.

Healthcare providers now talk about the big difference between chronological ages vs. biological age. (If you watch The Biggest Loser, you may have seen this testing in action!) Your chronological age is based on your birth date. Your biological age is based on what shape your body is in. Eg. a 35 year old who smokes and drinks might be biologically "older" than a 50 year old who works out and follows a healthy diet.

The big warning about being an older parent is that you need to look after yourself.

On a personal note, here's a couple of reads you might find really useful:

There's a book called "Last Chance Children", written by Monica Morris, who interviewed the children of older parents about their experiences of growing up.

Second, I talked to 2 different women who had very strong views (like you do!) about being raised by older parents, one positive and one negative. I'd be interested to know which one you identify with the most!! :)

http://achildafter40.com/grown-up-daught...

http://achildafter40.com/now-for-the-oth...

Angel - posted on 11/09/2012

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Thanks, Lenora and Dennika,

I really appreciate the input! This subject arouses some deep emotions in many people, for certain.

Lenora, I'm about to turn 52 and my children are now 10 and 7, and I do agree that I don't have the same resilience I once had when I was in my 20's. On the other hand, I think I would have been a disaster of a mother in my 20's--I just wasn't emotionally ready or mature enough, and I had some real soul searching to do. When I was ready in my early 30's, it was really hard to find the right person. I married at man at 26, who then told me he didn't want children for the foreseeable future. I then really had a challenging time finding "Mr Right". I didn't meet my 2nd husband until I was 40. I don't think the solutions to motherhood are quite so simple anymore.

We have a 50% divorce rate for first-time marriages, and stats show women and men are getting married later. Too many households depend on two paychecks and I've heard many young women say there's a new culture amongst men that does not really foster commitment and parenting. All in all, it's a tough call!

Denikka - posted on 11/09/2012

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I was raised by my grandparents. I know what it's like to be on the childs side of things.



I think it's incredibly selfish to go out and purposefully have a baby at 50. I think 40 is pushing it.

You're getting up in years at that point. Pregnancies are riskier as you get older. The chances of deformations are greater. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be 70 years old and having to care for a severely mentally disabled 20 year old child. What kind of life is that for anyone?

At 55-60, it's going to be more difficult to get down on the floor and play, or do sports, or anything of that nature.

You (and your child) are going to have to deal with you being the oldest mom on the block. I know kid will find anything to tease about.



Then you have to look at what events you may not realistically be around for. You'll be 68 (ish) when your child graduates high school. What are the chances that you'll still be around when your child graduates college or gets married?

When parents wait until they are older to have kids, the chances increase that their kids will also wait to have their own children. Even if your child has a baby at the comparatively early age of 30-35, you'll be 80-85. Are you even going to be around? Are you going to have your mental facilities to be able to recognize your grandchildren? Are you going to be healthy enough to still be living on your own, or at least in an independent care facility? You probably won't be able to play with them in any way.



And if, heaven forbid, you pass before your grandchildren arrive, you're robbing your children and future grandchildren of the valuable experience of having you around. Your children will regret that they can't ask your advice in child rearing. They will regret that they won't have that support of their own parents. The children will never benefit from knowing that a grandmothers lap is the softest place in the world or that a grandpa is the one who always sneaks you extra treats whenever no one is looking or pulls quarters out of your ears.



I realize that things happen even to younger people. Things can go wrong, you can get ill or injured and have just as many complications. Older people can still be spry and active well into their 80's and 90's.

But I also know that, for the most part, and especially when a child looses their parents when they're still relatively young (20's, 30's, 40's) they would give almost anything to have had a bit more time with their parents.

I had my first child at 19, my second at 21. Yes, I had them a bit younger than I originally wanted and expect to. But I want to give my children all the time I can, to be with me and to be there for them. I can realistically expect to be around for my great grandchildren and if I'm REALLY lucky and long lived, maybe even my great-great grandchildren.

Lenora - posted on 11/08/2012

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NO! women should not have babies after the age of 50,Babies are a lot of work and can be exhausting even for a young mother, then you have the toddler years, elementary school,and on to high school. This is a lot of work for a lot of years. As a women gets older she slows down quite a bit and her patience wares much thinner. At 50 she should be about ready to retire and be enjoying her grandchildren. I know all this because I am 53 yrs old and have been raising my 6 yr old great nephew since he was 8 months old. He is a great joy to us and we love him as our own but it is a lot harder on me than it was when I was 21 and raising a kid on my own.

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