Yet again another media uproar about older mothers, this time the finger pointed at mothers over 50, and how they are supposedly placing pressure on the health system, all 154 of them (the actual number of women who gave birth in their fifth decade in 2012). Honestly, aren’t there more important issues to report, like the the amount of alcohol or tobacco or other drug related illnesses? Surely these place a heavier burden upon the NHS?
When I see these stories in the press, my reaction is to ignore them; they are negative, and quite frankly misogynistic of their blaming of women. No one is disputing the facts or the very real risks of later motherhood, but where are all the features on late paternity? Later fatherhood comes with risk too (increased risk of autism and schizophrenia), and yet their fecundity is celebrated rather than demeaned by journalists who should know better.
What I would like to see is an article that acknowledges the fact that society has changed, that women are having babies at an older age for a variety of personal reasons, and that this isn’t going to change regardless of scaremongering reports, and anyway, older women aren’t stupid, we are all quite well aware of the risks. Older motherhood, and the many advantages that come with this (emotional maturity, confidence, wisdom, financial stability) should be celebrated, not damned.
Anyway, I digress, the point of this post was to let you know that I came across a wonderful response to the recent media hysterics by Ellie Stoneley (you can read her story on Older Mum) who wrote a wonderful, uplifting article in the Huffington Post. She was approached by a broadsheet that surprise, surprise, wasn’t interested in her good news story…. I think her piece describes a far more balanced and real view on how she experienced birth and motherhood at a later age, which is basically the same as any mother of any age might experience. So can we get over the whole older mother thing now purlease?