PJ Media

Freak Show or Miracle?

Today, I read an opinion piece over at Pajamas Media by Cathy Seipp, a href=”http://pjmedia.com/2007/02/the_old_mom_freak_show.php”who argued against /aolder mothers having children. Seipp points to a href=”http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-me-fertility30jan30,1,6355057.story?coll=la-headlines-frontpage”the 67 year old mother /awho recently had twins and asks how anyone reading about this birth could not relexively think: Freak show? Well, not me. br /br /When I read about the birth, I thought, “What a miracle, to push the bounds of human achievement, kind of like climbing Mount Everest, (without a href=”http://drhelen.blogspot.com/2006/05/high-of-mount-everest-and-lows-of.html”walking past/a your dying fellow climbers, of course) walking on the moon, or breaking the sound barrier.” Are these activities dangerous–kind of like having a kid at 67? You bet, but there are people who are willing to push the limits, despite these dangers and it seems that a href=”http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=432196in_page_id=1811″Carmela Bousada /a was one of those people. Are there some legitimate concerns in having kids at such an advanced age? Yes, Seipp points out that not being around is one of them: br /br /blockquoteLeaving aside all the increased health risks to these older mothers and their babies, the cold, hard reason your life and health insurance premiums rise each year is that the longer you live, the more likely it is that the passage of time means you will, in the near future, sicken and die.br /br /Sure, older men can still marry younger women and father children. We all know about Tony Randall et al. But why spend tens of thousands of dollars to raise the odds that a child will grow up motherless?/blockquote br /br /But if you want to look at the odds, Ms. Bousada is already playing them and perhaps will win–the older a person is, the more likely they will make it to the next age. For a 65 year old woman, there is a a href=”http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,201555,00.html?sPage=fnc.health/aging”good chance she will make it to 85 /aor beyond. And her mother lived to be 101 — at that rate, her twins would be 34, an age where many people have already lost their parents. And younger parents die frequently or get sick, when I had a heart attack at 37, my daughter was just three and a half. I wondered at the time whether I would live to see another day with her, but I never wondered if I should have had her in the first place because she might be motherless. One of my colleagues died last year at 36 after having a stroke following childbirth. Should she never have tried to have children at all? The point is, life is uncertain, when we love is uncertain, and all that we can do is the best that we can with what we have at the moment–even if that moment comes to us later than we hoped. br /br /Recently, I saw a website chat board discussing how old Bousada was and how the twins shouldn’t have to look at her wrinkled breasts when they nurse. Others on the board castigated her, talking about her selfishness in having the twins because their classmates would be laughing at them for having an old mom. “What kind of life would that be” lamented one cheerful commenter. Well, my question is, what kind of life will these twins have if people continue to make hostile comments about their mother vs. what kind of life will these twins have if people accept their situation as a miracle, instead of a freak show?