Let’s Talk: Are older parents selfish?

“I hated having an old dad. I hated people thinking he was my granddad. I hated that he wasn’t like anybody else,” 27-year-old Eugenie Levine told SBS’s Insight program recently.

Eugenie’s father was 50 when she was born and at 60 he developed early onset dementia. Instead of enjoying their time together, Eugenie says she was preoccupied with his health and became increasingly aware of their age difference as she got older.

She was attending as an audience member while the program explored the trend of older parenthood, and expressed some pretty strong views on the issue.

“I’m not trying to judge,” she told the audience, “but there is this overwhelming feeling of selfishness.”

How old is too old to have a child then?

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Anthea Nicholas and her husband Pete never thought they would become parents after meeting later in life, and had agreed early on that having children wasn’t in their ‘bigger picture’.

At 55 and 59 years of age respectively they were told by doctors that their chances of falling pregnant were 2 million to one, and that even if something did happen their changes of carrying the child to term were at even longer odds — 7 million to one.

You could probably imagine Anthea’s surprise when she found out she’d fallen pregnant naturally at the age of 50, and despite doctors advising the couple against proceeding with the pregnancy Anthea gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Nick, in 2011.

Anthea also became the oldest woman in Australia to give birth after falling pregnant naturally, however, in August a 62-year-old woman became Australia’s oldest mother after after conceiving her daughter through IVF. Her partner is 78 years old.

What Insight revealed is that a lot of children of older parents can feel scared of losing their parents and embarrassed when their dad (or their mum) is mistaken for a grandparent.

Sure, having a baby is definitely possible well into your senior years, but just because you can does it mean you should?

What are your thoughts on this issue? Is there a considerable age gap between you and your parents or between you and your children? Tell us about it.

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