Thursday, May 24, 2007

Agree or Disagree, I'm Putting This Out There

This morning there was a woman named Frieda Birnbaum on Today who, at age 60, just gave birth to twin boys. She has 3 other children (33, 29, and 6) and "wanted her younger son to have siblings closer to his age and wanted to remove some of the stigma attached to older women giving birth."

While I am happy that medical technology is allowing men and women to deal with a full range of fertility, obstetric, and pediatric health concerns, as Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park: "just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should do it." When Meredith interviewed the new mom, Birnbaum said that it's a wonderful thing because it gives women the choice, and we don't have to do what society dictates, etc. Meredith asked her what she would say to people who think that she isn't thinking about the babies' future - Birnbaum said that they just don't agree with her choice because "maybe they're not a part of it, or they don't think that way..." and explained that this is the wave of the future, and they just have to move with the times. Okay. I can understand that this isn't the 1950's and women are more often postponing motherhood, to either pursue an education, career, financial stability, or other personal goals - and this is an important part of the feminist movement. You don't have to do what (the former?) society dictates... Good thing, because I think the world would suffer if it didn't have the gifts, talents, and ideas of professional women.

However, when a person decides to become a parent, he or she has to have the mentality, even before pregnancy, that the baby's (or babies') needs come first. This mother seems to be fulfilling her own needs (and perhaps those of her 6 year old son's ??) to blaze a trail for senior citizens who, if they have enough money, can take advantage of in-vitro fertilization and become parents again. Mission: accomplished! Never mind the fact that she will be an elderly woman trying to raise twin sons (!), a surely exhausting feat (in addition to her 6 year old) and since the average life expectancy for a woman in the United States is around 80 years old, these kids are in for a unique childhood. I am glad my own parents are still here to be involved, witness major life events, and can still take care of themselves while I am busy taking care of an infant. When the mother passes away in 15-20 years, who will be responsible for the teenage boys? Of course anyone's parents can die at any time, but even if she lives to be 80 years old, they will always have a special situation with their mother being as old as she is throughout their childhood. I don't know... I'm getting on a tangent here. Of course this is a subject that there is a lot to say about, and a lot of people's opinions will differ.

Some people require medical intervention to become parents, but usually these people are choosing that route because RIGHT NOW they are in their window of time when becoming parents makes sense. They deserve the chance at least try to have a baby of their own, and in many cases, families spend the life savings just to attain that miracle. Those who cannot afford it, simply cope with their disappointment and some of them choose to adopt (and almost always feel that their adopted baby was the one they were meant to raise, and believe it is a blessing in disguise).

I don't know how old is "too old" - I know women who have had babies in their late 30's... celebrities having them in their 40's... and they are handling it beautifully. But 60 is a whole new ballgame in my mind. Maybe I just need to "get with the times" ... I thought this was an interesting, controversial, social / moral issue. There cannot be laws regulating when someone is "too old" to have a baby. That's a slippery slope ... then does it apply to the father? What if the conception occurred "naturally", mandatory sterilization? That's all insane, and should never and will never happen. It is up to an individual to act selflessly, as mothers have no room for selfishness. While I support a woman's choice to do what is right for her and her family, well, in this case I think Jeff Goldblum was right.

I thought at least 2 pictures of Jeff Goldblum were necessary to make my point.


kelly said...

oh jeff goldblum, ye are so wise...

i agree that she seems sort of selfish in this. inevitably, her grown children will be responsible for the littler ones. 60 is too old in my opinion, but to each his/her own, i suppose.

Katie said...

Hi Mindy,

You're right. This lady is a little crazy.

Thanks for the comment. It looks like we have little girls about the same age. I love the name Lucy. It was on our short list :) We also have a little boy, so I am just getting the hang of this girl thing (so much pink!)