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“There has been plenty of argument about whether older people should be having children, but to a certain extent that’s a moot point; the fact is, they are,” writes Jordan Baker in Australia’s Sunday Telegraph, on 20th January 2013.
“So attention is turning to the kind of parents they will be and how that will affect their children—and the rest of us—in the decades to come.”
Ten years after having my first child at nearly 42, Baker’s piece, entitled “Will Older Parents Change The World?” (http://www NULL.theaustralian NULL.com NULL.au/news/will-older-parents-change-the-world/story-e6frg6n6-1226557333148), is the first honest media attempt I’ve seen in a while to reasonably consider the long-term effects of the trend in motherhood after 40.
Universal Rise In Babies After Age 40
When she contacted me through the internet looking for moms over 40 to speak to, we ended up interviewing on the phone, across a divide of over 7,000 miles, sharing the same modern maternal reality:
The rise in women having babies after 40 is universal in developed nations.
According to Baker, the proportion of women giving birth over 40 in Australia has risen by 40 per cent over the last decade.
Interviewing older parents who’re a little further down the road after childbirth, Baker highlights the challenges: the emotional “wringer” of fertility, the “double generation gap”, and the sagacity of older parents.
Fears Over “Last Chance Children”
She even wheeled out Monica Morris—who published “Last Chance Children: Growing Up With Older Parents” back in 1986—to talk about how children of older parents were afraid their parents would drop dead in the night, or how lonely they were as singletons.
Isn’t it time someone interviewed some modern day kids of older parents, who might feel just a tad differently? That study took place over 25 years ago.
In fact, recent research has shown a rise in the number of older mothers having a second child (http://www NULL.parentsociety NULL.com/todays-family/parents-40/more-older-moms-going-for-baby-number-two-and-three/) is on the rise.
How The Tide of Talk Is Turning
But what Jordan Baker has really achieved with this piece is a change of direction on the subject of motherhood after 40, spiced up with a new tone in the dialogue: time to stop criticizing women who “delay motherhood” until after 40, and start asking the real questions about the rise in older parents.
Last year, she had the nerve to write a piece on how advertising and media were exploiting women’s panic over age-related infertility (http://www NULL.nationaltimes NULL.com NULL.au/opinion/society-and-culture/advertisers-exploit-the-female-fear-of-infertility-20111004-1l765 NULL.html), citing Lisa Miller’s controversial New York Magazine article, “Parents of a Certain Age: Is there anything wrong with being 53 and pregnant?”, which sported a provocative cover photo of faux-pregnant senior, who was ripened well past the age of 53.
Clearly, Jordan Baker likes to get to get past the illusions too often spun by ink and paper (or keyboard and monitor) and down to the nitty gritty.
“Twenty years from now,” she says, “we will begin to see some effects of the older-parents boom. We just don’t know exactly what they will be.”
I’m guessing we might see them even sooner than that.
- (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/health-headlines/women-increasingly-going-online-to-seek-free-sperm-donors-1 NULL.1590245)
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