Let’s Talk: Are older parents selfish? 4

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“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?

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.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I guess it’s avery individual thing and for some people who were unable to have children earlier for very good reasons it’s probably OK but nature certainly didn’t intend it that way and I believe couples who put it off for reasons of career and money, for example, can be very selfish parents and perhaps overly indulgent as well as their world becomes focused on their children.

    The natural order of things should be to have children reasonably young while you are healthy and full of energy, have some free time before menopause hits and care for elderly parents kicks in and a reasonably long older age with freedom from children other than grandchildren.

    Very often now this doesn’t happen and parents have teenagers in their late 50s,are dealing with young grandchildren in their late 70s and are not going to see their grandchildren grow up. Medical science is great for those who really need it but not necessarily for those who want to manipulate their lives to suit themselves.

  2. Naturally becoming pregnant by acident and having a baby late in life isn’t selfish at all, especially when you already have grown children. You’re giving up your empty nest and starting over. But putting it off, then purposely having a child at 50 or older does seem to be putting your wants above a babys needs. If you had kids earlier, you’d realize it’s exhausting. Rewarding, but exhausting. It isn’t fair to not have the energy to play two hours of soccer after school, that statistically your child will be orphaned before marriage or have to deal with your failing health as a teen. And doctors who care more about people than money shouldn’t be helping bring kids into the world under such circumstances.

  3. I was living and teaching English in Vietnam, my friends girlfriend asked me if I wanted to meet with a Vietnamese lady from the country, I told her that I was 57 and I didn’t want any more children, she told me that her friend was a single mother and the doctors told her that she couldn’t have another baby, so I believed her, we arranged to meet at a party at a restaurant, I usually don’t drink much but I got a little bit drunk and I took the lady home, I asked her before we went to bed could she have a baby, I told her that I was too old and I don’t want any more children, she said no problem, I can’t have any more children,
    What a lie, she got pregnant the first time we did it, she wouldn’t have a abortion even though my son Charis told her that I too old, so now I’m a father of a 9 year old boy Hozay, I’m 67, I love Hozay but I am very angry with his mother for tricking, lying to me, I don’t live with Hozays mother, but I support Hozay and see him in the holidays,

  4. I started going grey at 17! By the time I had my first two children at 28 and 30 years I was often mistaken as their grandmother. In fact sometime strangers would even argue with me that I wasn’t their mother but really their grandmother. A look at my driver’s licence was about the only way I could prove I was their Mum. In case you wondered I still looked a youthful age but had silver white hair. In my late 30s I finally decided, enough was enough, and hit the dye pot – going red. At 41, I gave birth to my last daughter who was born with hair and eyebrows the exact colour match with my hair. My doctor’s wife told me to write to the hair dye company and tell them their product was so good it even went to the second generation!! My youngest daughter still has striking waist-length red hair (I have gone back to white) and is nearly 21. She tells us she loves having older siblings and parents -particularly a Dad who is a university professor and has so much to share in the knowledge stakes. My Mum had her last bub at 42 and my sister at 40.

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