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Pardons for being an older mother do, from time to time—in the form of a regal thumbs-up—get dispensed beneath the media spotlight in the Colosseum of public entertainment.

A few weeks ago it was a grandma who gave birth to her grandson via surrogacy in Chicago, Illinois. This week, it’s a 53 year old new mom from England—with a long, agonizing history in search of the elusive grail of motherhood.

But the white elephant lurking between the lines of the story was straight out of Monty Python’s “Now for something completely different…”

Get this: because she’d been trying to get pregnant since the age of 18, her maternal middle age was all but forgiven.

Is there a sort of strangely budding renaissance—emerging after the dark ages of burning the old pregnant lady at the stake for defying God and mating with science—on the horizon here?

Mitigating circumstances for becoming a menopausal mom? Forgiveness? Absolution?

If so, the new moral ruler by which older mothers are judged bears striking resemblance to the one that measures your spirituality by how many times you went to church this year.

Regular church means you’re a good Christian. Ergo, not intentionally delaying motherhood—but faithfully trying and trying again if at first you don’t succeed—relieves you of the sin of selfishness.

In fact, trying to get pregnant for 34 years made Kim Parsons of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, a maternal martyr, characterized in the Daily Mail (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/health/article-1362202/Daughter-mother-spent-34-years-50-000-trying-child NULL.html) as “devoted” and “proof that childless couples should never give up.”

The writer didn’t mention her age, or hold forth with dire prognostications about how the parents would likely be pushing up daisies by the time little Bonnie—the Parsons’ daughter via surrogacy—was fixin’ to go the dance on Prom night.

So, riddle me this: Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Is it the beginning of enlightenment that at least some women in their 50’s are being press-approved for parenthood?

Or is it evidence of a frightening double standard? No one made mention that Parsons had ever had a career in her life– it wasn’t germane to the article.

But her attempts to get pregnant over 34 years were eulogized.  Her career WAS motherhood. And the media made merry by making her a martyr.

And while we’re at it, modern reproductive medicine might have potentially shortened Parsons’ journey—with serial miscarriages along the way—had there not been so much controversy surrounding it.

According to the UK’s Nicole Klieff—author of Baby Next Time (http://www NULL.babynexttime NULL.co NULL.uk/)—who also suffered repeated miscarriages before finally giving birth at 44, there may have been other options for the Parsons family.

Klieff, who only conceived after undergoing a controversial treatment pioneered as Reproductive Immunology, thinks there may have been other factors at work.

RI, originally pioneered by Dr. Alan Beer in the USA, works in the premise that, in some women, the body’s Natural Killer cells repeatedly attack the fetus, resulting in miscarriage.

“The first steps to finding out whether immune therapy can deter the problem, is to have certain tests done that are not currently available at many fertility centers,” she says.

“Testing produces known answers to their hidden problems, giving them the option of whether they would take treatment with some breakdown of how to deal with the problem.”

According to Klieff, RI is unfortunately the last resort many couples take after suffering repeated failures with IVF and being considerably out of pocket.  Kim Parsons,  for example, spent the equivalent of  $80,000.

So, the price-tag for public and media approbation for motherhood after 50: Trying to have a baby for 34 years and spending a King’s Ransom.

Notes for this blog:

Notes for this blog: Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), a regular blog featuring news, commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40.

Dailing Mail article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1362202/Daughter-mother-spent-34-years-50-000-trying-child.html (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/health/article-1362202/Daughter-mother-spent-34-years-50-000-trying-child NULL.html)

Nicole Klieff, author of Baby Next Time: www.babynexttime.co.uk (http://www NULL.babynexttime NULL.co NULL.uk/)

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One Response to Midlife Mom or Martyr?

  1. Mrs Kim Parsons says:

    I have just found this tale about myself, I am indeed the so called Maternal Martyr! I am afraid this tale has been blown all out of proportion! I have never been trying to get pregnant since I was 18, I fell pregnant and miscarried at 21 & 22 yrs old and when I married David in 1986 we knew there may be problems which were due to blocked fallopian tubes caused by surgery I had inbetween. I was 29 when I married David and we knew we would have trouble conceiving so IVF and donor IVF is the likely route. After these failed we had test done which had to be sent to USA and concluded that we had a similar gene and in fact I would reject anything to do with my husband thus surrogacy was suggested. COTS (Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy) have a limit of 50 to be on their list and we met our surrogate when I had just turned 51.

    I have also worked hard throughout those intervening years and still work from home with my husband who is self employed.

    All the routes we took to allow us to be a family were the ones given to us and obviously if we had known earlier about our incompatibilities we could have been younger when embarking on our journey of surrogacy.

    We have a beautiful daughter who is loved dearly and the ‘King’s ransom’ was well worth it.

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