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How old is too old?

By Anonymous January 24, 2009 - 2:22pm
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I just had my basement carpet installed and I was a little interested to hear that the 60 year old gentleman that was installing my carpet had a 6 year old daughter. His wife was 45 years old at the time of her birth.

I thought there were several issues with having children at an older age. How old is too old to bear children?

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It's one thing to be a woman bearing a child in her 40's, and another to be the 60-year-old father. For him, it's a virility issue; for her, it's probably something quite similar. Where are the statistics showing that older parents are less inclined to feel they are "missing out" on a social life by having young kids, and are generally a bit more mellow?" I think it's more a feeling of proving to self and the world that you can still bear a child, even at whatever risk to yours or the child's health.

There are plenty of second-time-around-dads raising kids young enough to be their grandchildren. Like my dad, and he's not exactly "mellow" with his second family. His wife is younger than I am!

Let's not make generalizations about what it's like to be older parents. Did you have one? I've seen how having a 60-something father negatively impacted his teenage son, and how having that young child negatively impacted the elderly parent. At an age when you expect to be enjoying your golden years, do you want to feel strapped to children - again?

Age may be a state of mind, but it's also a physical and chronological reality. Personally, I wouldn't want to be raising a little one at my age - a hair shy of 60 - and neither does my DH. Sure, we might be better off financially now than when we were younger; but, we were actually better prepared to have our children when we were younger, if that makes any sense to you.

I think of the child, first, and what it would be like for him/her to have an "old" parent. I'm lucky enough to have the energy to keep up with kids, and the ability to admit that I also like having my DH to myself in our second half century. There is no way I'd want to be dealing with a teenager at age 80!

January 26, 2009 - 9:10pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for the great information. In a position of being 31 years old without any children, the carpet man really gave me hope that I am not ‘too old’ to have children.

It really feels like a totally different world when all my friends have 11-12 years olds already and I haven’t even started a life with children. It appears with modern technology and differences in culture, there may be a better chance to have children later in life. Thanks again for all your input.

January 26, 2009 - 9:38am

I think it's interesting that my mom's generation tended to have kids really young. Well, what I consider really young, anyway. Like early 20's. If you were nearing your 30's, you were considered pretty old to start having kids. It's so different now. I have several friends who didn't get married till their late 30's and early 40's. Families are starting later and later. As far as the 60-yr-old with the 6-yr-old daughter, that does seem a bit extreme since realistically he may not be around for her graduation or to be able to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. And he'll most likely miss out on grandchildren.

January 25, 2009 - 11:09pm

Miscortes, your question is a good one and I think the answer may depend on who you ask because I believe the answer does have broader, perhaps even cultural implications. In many societies women start having kids earlier (15-16 y/o) and end their child-bearing years when natures takes it away. While men in these social groups may never be concerned about age and opt for a younger wife.

I think men and women in western societies such as the United States have different reasons for wanting to stop having children at a certain age. The fear of down syndrome is a western culture concern over other societies, but we also carry the fear of dying and leaving the kid(s) parentless. Our reasons may not be shared by other ethnic groups even within the borders of our own country. There are some religious groups also when men are procreating until very advanced age. Women have a clock and when that stops, if we want more kids, we go to the adoption office....although hormone therapies today could stretch that "clock" much further, we still worry about dying and leaving the kid behind if mom or dad dies while still young.

January 24, 2009 - 11:25pm
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