Category Archives: Pregnancy over 50

A Perfect Response To Controversy

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?

Last Chances

Catherine is the owner of and wonderfully supportive blogs, Pregnancy Over 44 and Baby After 40. I would like to be able to say that her story has a happy ending. Sadly, it doesn’t. What her story did do was spur her on to support other women trying to conceive much later in life.

I met my second husband when I was 49 years old. Despite using birth control, I had a surprise pregnancy!

I carried that special baby for 8 weeks before it ended in a horrible miscarriage. Since my husband had no children of his own, we decided to try again.

We even worked with an RE for a short time, with monitored natural cycles. There were more losses over the next few years.  I was patient, and persistent. I picked myself up after each loss, and I got back on that roller coaster ride again. I never missed an opportunity to try. While I came to accept the reality of my age, I never stopped believing it could happen, I never stopped hoping for a happy ending. I did what I could to protect my heart, to ignore the statistics and the naysayers, and yet be realistic to the fact that it might have already been too late for me.

Between 49 and 53 I experienced natural pregnancies six times… I fell pregnant for the final time at 53 years old. I would rather not make a big deal about my age. All I can claim is incredible luck and genetics (my great-grandmother had five children after 40 years of age!). How old I am will have no effect on your personal chances of success or failure. The menopause occurs in 25% of women by 47, 50% by 50, 75% by 52 years old. I know I took a big chance, but it was the choice I made for myself.

Very sadly, my final pregnancy ended at 15 weeks.

Not longer after, the menopause arrived.

Due to my age and history of loss (5 more losses during a previous marriage), we were turned down for donor egg, and turned down for foster care/adoption of infants. We had hoped to adopt from a teen family member, but the baby was born with Trisomy 18, lived her short life in hospital and passed away at 5 months.

I know we could have fought longer and harder, but for my own sanity, we decided it was time to stop. I still struggle with it though, and have sad moments.

I don`t want my story used to prove that “if you wait long enough you can get pregnant with your own eggs”. Because that very well may not be true for you. Most of you may not be willing or able to wait that long. You may not welcome parenthood that late in live. Or you may very well hit menopause long before you get the chance.

However, through my pregnancy blogs, I have helped so many women keep up their hope and find their own success – so I feel like I continue to bring well-loved, so-wanted babies into the world!