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In an interview published on January 31st in the UK’s Daily Mail, Marcia Cross gave later life motherhood a definitive “thumbs down”.

“Your forties is not a time to be thinking about getting pregnant,” she is quoted as saying.

The article states she has no desire to be the “poster girl for older mothers,” and on motherhood after forty, she revealed “it is not a good idea.”

Whether intentionally or not, the Desperate Housewives (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Desperate_Housewives) star—who began fertility treatments at 44 and later gave birth to twins—has added fuel to the recent negative public backlash against later life mothers.

For women in their forties who—much like Cross herself once did—“desperately” pine to become mothers, her comments can only further enhance fears and insecurities over their own ability to be mothers.

Ironically, less than a week after this article appeared, the Mail penned another, featuring the latest American study (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/femail/article-2096285/Pregnancy-IVF-patients-age-50-carries-risk-women-42 NULL.html) demonstrating that women getting pregnant over 50 using donor eggs face no greater risk than women under 42 who conceive the same way.

Women from both age groups were found to have the same likelihood of developing gestational diabetes, or premature labor.

According to work by Dr. Mark Sauer from the University of Columbia Medical School, the women over fifty “do pretty well.”  This study was published in the February 2012 issue of the American Journal of Perinatology, and is the largest so far on pregnancy in post-menopausal women.

Interestingly, Dr. Sauer’s findings fall in with two previous U.S. studies on older mothers. A 2007 University of California study (http://www NULL.fertstert NULL.org/article/S0015-0282%2806%2904566-3/abstract) found that women having children after the age of 50 can cope with the stress of parenting just as effectively as younger mothers in their 30’s.

Earlier, a 2002 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (http://jama NULL.ama-assn NULL.org/cgi/content/full/288/18/2320) concluded: “there does not appear to be any definitive medical reason for excluding [healthy women in their 50s] from attempting pregnancy on the basis of age alone.”

Forgive my spelling, but you can almost hear Jan Brady whispering between the lines…Marsha, Marsha, Marsha…there’s more to later motherhood than desperation.

Notes for this blog:

Links to UK Daily Mail features:

Marcia Cross: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2093948/Your-forties-time-thinking-getting-pregnant-Marcia-Cross-doesnt-want-poster-girl-older-mothers.html#ixzz1ljwFnTN3 (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/femail/article-2093948/Your-forties-time-thinking-getting-pregnant-Marcia-Cross-doesnt-want-poster-girl-older-mothers NULL.html#ixzz1ljwFnTN3)

Dr. Sauer’s Study: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2096285/Pregnancy-IVF-patients-age-50-carries-risk-women-42.html (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/femail/article-2096285/Pregnancy-IVF-patients-age-50-carries-risk-women-42 NULL.html)

14 Responses to Marcia Pans Motherhood After 40

  1. Barbara says:

    What exactly does Marcia Cross do for a living? Is she a medical professional? Is she a trained, educated, lisenced therapist of some kind? No, she is an actrees-someone who is paid a large amount of money to get in front of a camera to pretend she’s someone else. This hardly qualifies her as an expert on when the rest of us ordinary folks who live in the real world should have children. There are lots of us out here in the real world who don’t have nannies, the botox injection doctor on speed dial, or a closet filled with designer clothes and handbags, who are getting along fine raising our young children at 40+.

  2. M Gatlin -PVED (http://www NULL.pved NULL.org) says:

    I have a lot to say not all of it printable. However, I will say this- perhaps Ms. Cross experienced something in her pregnancy that frightened her and therefore she felt compelled to make that statement. Scary stuff can happen at any age during pregnancy not just after age 40.

    The other piece to remember is this the opinion of an ACTRESS. She is not a doctor.

  3. Bonnie says:

    I agree with barbara- Marcia cross does not have the credentials to back up her statement. I am 43 and ttc and I know I would not have been a good mother in my 30’s. I know the risks but I know I can do it.

  4. Anne says:

    Ok so here is my .02 worth. Marcia is not only talking about getting pregnant but MOTHERHOOD after 40. This is my “BIG BEEF” with Marcia’s statements.

    This throws a negative light on anyone who wants to parent after 40 not only those who chose to give birth but foster care, adtoption etc….. BOO HOO Marcia – be thankful and count your blessings wake up and join the real world.

    For those of us that could not have children and have chosen adoption…… well I just turned 50 this year and we adopted an infant when I was 46. My husband and I are having a blast raising our daughter. It keeps us young and we were able to fulfill our dream of being parents!!!!

    So to those out there that firmly believe that MOTHERHOOD over 40 by any means is a GREAT THING……… HATS OFF TO YOU…….

    Anne

  5. mary andrews says:

    Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, so sorry you are unable to embrace the magical experience of motherhood over forty. I can’t imagine doing it any differently and talk to more older moms who say the same.With so many of us who treasure each precious day, and feel so lucky to have the chance I can’t help but feel sorry she can’t appreciate the miracle she has before her. I wonder how her children will feel after reading her admission when they get older.

  6. Marissa Post says:

    If I were counting on my life with children being anything what it was like in my 20s and 30s I would be frustrated. However, I wouldn’t try to hurt all the very happy moms over 40 as an excuse for my mistake. The problem is that she used the wrong words. Where she says “motherhood” is not a good idea in your 40s, I think she means “self-absorbed, narcissistic women that don’t want to spend time on others” should not become mothers in their 40s… and I agree. I also don’t think they should be mothers at any age, but so very often do and then wonder why they can’t handle it. Although Marsha I don’t know what it’s like to be a mother under 40, I can safely say it is fabulous for me (Mom of 3 boys conceived naturally at 41, 43, & 45)

  7. Lylas says:

    Poor Marcia. If she’d like me to adopt those gorgreous twins, I will gladly take them off her over-worked and misinformed hands. Then she will have more time for therapy sessions.

  8. Katie (http://babycenter NULL.com) says:

    Ageism is a very real thing in maternity care. If Marcia had a complication it may have been blamed on age by providers and she believed it. Also, society is still adjusting to older mothers as part of the landscape and one can become worn down by the constant comments about age and time and youth etc. I wonder how many women in utter exhaustion at some point state that it wasn’t a good idea to become pregnant at all, no matter how old they are! If you have multiples or a baby or child with sleep issues, you may say anything you don’t really mean at some point due to sleep deprivation. Maybe the actress simply has no perspective and thinks she was that tired or challenged because of age. Have had some great younger Mom friends who admit having the same feelings of being ovewhelmed by motherhood from time to time.

  9. Lauren says:

    I don’t think she is trying to tell older women not to use ART or donor egg to become moms, merely that if a woman chooses to wait until she is 35 or older she will face the likelihood of having to do DE IVF and she may face greater odds of running into pregnancy complications. Hopefully we all agree that this is true.

    As I understand it Ms. Cross is not open about having done DE IVF (though I may be wrong on this). I pass no judgment against her choice not to reveal her methods of conceiving as I really do think it is a person’s private affair. If she did do DE IVF to have her twins that is her business. I also think that it is responsible of her to caution other women about waiting too long to try to conceive.

    I wish that I had been given this advice. When I tried to conceive (age 35) it took me a year to get pregnant (using a fertility monitor to check for the LH surge) and then at the first ultrasound I discovered that I’d suffered a fetal demise. My OB, who was very nasty about it, told me the loss was my fault for waiting too long and said, “Let me give you the facts. One in three pregnancies ends in miscarriage and the numbers go up after the age of 35.” She steered me to an RE who pushed me to DE IVF. I fled to another RE and then another (trying to evade DE if possible) and ended up conceiving two more times NATURALLY (at home in bed) only to suffer a fetal demise after two good u/s with h/b each time.

    I suffered two of those losses while in the care of an RE whom I asked to monitor the pgs since no OB will take a pregnant woman prior to 11 weeks and I wanted to give those pregnancies the best chance of success by having them monitored (he put me on progesterone suppositories as well as prenatal vitamins). I even had a “tissue sample” from the final pregnancy sent off for analysis and when it came back “XX Normal” took that result to my RE and said, “See, there was nothing wrong with the baby. There must be something else wrong with me.” He said, “XX Normal proves nothing. XX might have been YOUR tissue she sampled. Only XY Normal would prove your thesis.” While I thought he was wrong, how could I argue? I was 41 at that point and the odds of chromosomal problems really do shoot up after the age of 40.

    So I committed to pursuing DE IVF (young, healthy eggs from a donor), even putting myself on b/c pills so that I wouldn’t accidentally conceive again. I also sought psychological help to deal with the grief and started my own support group for women considering DE IVF so I wouldn’t have to go thru such a “weird” process on my own. My therapist (who had suffered pg losses herself) referred me to the reproductive immunologist who I am convinced enabled me to carry my DD (finally conceived with the help of a donor.) The tests he recommended revealed an underlying placental disorder (APA) that I was told meant I should inject lovenox, a blood thinner, if I conceived again.

    So with my DE IVF conceived pregnancy I injected that blood thinner daily. However, my OB told me to cease lovenox one week before the medically necessary scheduled c-section and two days later I nearly died when I came down with HELLP Syndrome (an extreme form of eclampsia) that ruptured my liver and gave me a stroke that put me in a coma. Carrying my daughter was the joy of my life and I don’t regret a moment of it. Nearly dying was a horrible nightmare for myself and my extended family, a nightmare that I find almost impossible to fully convey.

    While I am not “out” to the whole world about doing DE (am only “out” to my close family, best friend, support group, and daughter) I made a point of telling all the young women with whom I worked “Don’t do what I did. Don’t wait until you’re 35 or older to try to conceive.” You see I didn’t want to help contribute to the myth that conception is advisable or easy after the age of 40 (I was two weeks shy of 45 when my DD was born.)

    Even the women who seemed uninterested in what I had to say (they told me they weren’t even sure that they wanted children) went on to have them prior to the age of 35 and one woman even wrote me to thank me for our “late night office talks.” So I feel like I have created some good karma even though I am not “out” to the entire world as Ms. Cross is not “out” to everyone.

    It is her right.

    Good luck to all.

  10. Lauren says:

    I also think that we have to take this article with a grain of salt, so to speak. The press often feel compelled to create drama and controversy where none exists in order to sell papers or get “hits” to their websites. Probably what Ms. Cross said was taken out of context and used inaccurately. I wish her (and all other “older” mothers) the best.

  11. Miriam says:

    I think Marcia Cross is not out to hurt anyone by her comments. What she is giving out is learned advice which I agree with due to the tragedy of my 2 miscarriages (age 40 and 42) and resultant grief that has affected my physical health, my marriage, my mothering, my emotional well-being and spiritual life over the past 2 years. I make it a point now to advise younger, “willing to listen to wisdom” women that having children when you are relatively young is wise. Don’t wait for the perfect time. There are strong statistics backing this thinking. The rest of my life, I will wonder who those children were that I lost and know that had I started the journey of motherhood sooner, the results likely would have been better. Also, I am now dealing with perimenopausal symptoms which don’t necessarily make me a more patient mom….Older women who have experienced heartbreak and difficulty are worth listening to as they provide a taste of reality which hopefully will help women reconsider their “waiting” to have children when it seems more convenient. I wish I would have listened to my “older” sisters who cautioned me about the risks of pregnancy at a later age and started sooner.

  12. sarah says:

    i think she’s just trying to counter perceptions that she is part of encouraging people to wait. i respect that she was THE ONLY celeb so far to come out and say i did IVF, many women who are my age would use donor eggs, but we somehow didn’t have to. i liked that she gave a public nod to the invisible egg donor pregnancies of celebs that might leave others thinking it’s super easy to get pg at 45. it can happen, sure. and the stats don’t lie.
    she also had a rough road the last few years almost losing her husband to cancer only a few years into their marriage. i’m sure it’s been a poignant and demanding time for her. i remain a fan of her.

  13. Lieby says:

    I “waited” to have children. I remember I was 26 years old when a very dear friend of mine who ended up dying from AIDS that she contracted from her husband told me that I had “plenty of time.” She was gone within two months. That was almost 23 years ago and I swear it feels like yesterday. I still don’t have kids. My husband and I have been married for 26 years. The neighborhood was never right. The school system was never right. We never had enough money. Then September 11th happened and the world became a more horrible place than it had been before. What responsible adult would bring a child onto this planet? Our careers, our this, our that. I am 49 years old now and my life is destroyed by the biggest regret of all – never having children. Now I’m solvent enough to “just about” break apart my 401K to pay for the GD donor egg cycle. How’s that for a laugh? I am a broken, ruined woman. I would give up everything to be the greatest mother in the world and I know I would be. The thing is, there has been so much pain in my marriage over this that I don’t know if my husband and I haven’t already died because of it all. There’s no hope for us and a family now. I don’t care if young women want to hear my advice or not, I shout it from rooftops. It was God’s first Commandment for a reason: Be Fruitful and Multiply. And if you can’t, try. The majority of you will be very regretful if you don’t, I truly believe that. Don’t wait. Don’t wait. Don’t wait. You will not be able to endure the pain and regret of living as a barren woman.

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