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In “Motherhood after 40: Ethical debate rages over how old is too old to become a mother,” Wendy Gillis from the Toronto Star interviewed Canadian fertility specialists, academics from Women’s Studies and bioethics, some real “mid-life mamas,” along with a chime-in from yours truly. (For both Star features, click these links: 1 (http://www NULL.thestar NULL.com/mobile/living/article/1110159 ) and 2 (http://www NULL.thestar NULL.com/living/article/1108972--motherhood-after-40-meet-the-mid-life-mama).)
It’s clear that Gillis takes her ethics seriously and is in tune with the current media maelstrom—or should I say “mutterings”—over whether it is nobler in the uterus to suffer the slings and arrows of age and infertility, or take up motherhood in our season of youth (apologies to Mr. Shakespeare (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Hamlet)).
But is “to be, or not to be” a mother in later life really the question any longer?
Treated just like unwanted political refugees, mature new mothers are coming on in droves and yet, those who can help are mesmerized by their ethical navels.
They seem impervious to the overwhelming cultural changes that led to over fifty percent of today’s workforce being driven by women.
Are we supposed to stuff them back into the kitchen and the bedroom? Methinks not.
Instead, let’s ask the refugee question: These moms are here; now, how do we support them? Ask that, and you’ll hear the echo of an empty TV studio.
We are not, it seems, ready for reality.
In the USA, we are on the cusp of a series of television broadcasts—from Anderson Cooper and Dr. Oz to PBS, not to mention a number of upcoming documentaries—where we’ll be invited to join the maternal age debate ad nauseum in the comfort of our living rooms: “How Old is Too Old?”
Ultimately, it may end with the whimper of a moot point.
With recent refinements in oocyte cryopreservation, the scientific argument against later motherhood may soon be made redundant. If women can successfully freeze their unfertilized eggs during peak fertility years for later use, where’s—not to put too fine a point on it— the beef?
Take away the legitimacy of science and we can effectively lift up the rock to see what’s really fuelling this fracas: that we have very definite cultural and social taboos about age and motherhood.
Our society is uncomfortable with wrinkled, older women holding bouncing babies unless they happen to be the grandma. You know what? Big deal.
From the perspective of a mother who is “livin’ the dream,” I can tell you that our concerns are inherently more practical—dealing with grade-schoolers amidst howling perimenopause, struggling for financial security at a time of economic disaster and, pondering the real question of what’s left of a raped and tainted planet for our offspring to inherit– ay, there’s the rub.
Notes on this blog:
Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom.com—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/)(www.flowerpowermom.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/)), featuring commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40. She actively advocates for more supportive attitudes towards women having children in midlife and to raise awareness of the real issues related to later life motherhood.
Angel also hosts “A Child After 40”, an online community to empower all women on the journey of motherhood after 40. To join, go to: http://www.achildafter40.com/a-child-after-40-online/ (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/a-child-after-40-online/)
Angel gave birth to her children at 41 and 44 after conceiving naturally. For her full story, go to:http://www.achildafter40.com/my-story/ (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/my-story/)
Toronto Star article: http://www.thestar.com/mobile/living/article/1110159 (http://www NULL.thestar NULL.com/mobile/living/article/1110159)
- (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/health-headlines/women-increasingly-going-online-to-seek-free-sperm-donors-1 NULL.1590245)
Angel on CNN(http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)
CNN Mother's Day: "Mature Moms" (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)(http://youtu NULL.be/atScMih4_d0) (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
AARP's "Inside E-Sreet" on PBS TV (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
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