Last night Max and I sat in the audience for SBS Insight show which will be televised Tuesday 20th September at 8:30pm. The show was about “Older Parents”. In the audience there was a mixture of people including parents of children, children of older parents and Dr’s.
This topic is quite obviously very dear to my heart… Which brings me too write this blog.
In your honest opinion.. What do YOU define as being too old when it comes to parenting? What, in your mind, is the perfect family? Is it wrong too be an older parent?
It is very interesting that for the first question- No one could give a definitive age when it came to Men as Women are the ones with the biological clock. There was a young Man in the audience who was the child of the world’s oldest Father born naturally (without IVF help), his Father was 92 when he was born. Is that wrong?
We came to the conclusion that if you are healthy and the child is loved is it ok.
Someone healthy should be allowed to parent a child. Does this mean young people should be stopped? People can pass away at any age. Most people don’t know when or how long they will live, most parents think long and hard before deciding to have a family, so just because you assume the “older” parent will pass away first should stop them having a family? Because this is selfish?! Selfish are parents who don’t love a child yet still bring it into this world, selfish are people who only put themselves first.. This is NOT older parents. They are not selfish, they have thought long and hard, they can love and adore a child like a younger parent, sometimes more.
Then you have the lovely couple Anthea and Peter who are known as Australia’s oldest parents to conceive naturally. Anthea was 50 and Peter 55 when their son was born. Is that wrong?
There were 2 young Women sitting in the audience who were children of older Fathers. One lady who ufortunately lost her Father young as he had Dementia, the other lady was 17 when her Father died. Both Fathers were in their 50’s when those girls were born. Is that wrong?
One of the most amazing, influential, strong, intelligent Woman I have come across, Mary Coustas (Effie), went through 28 rounds of IVF, countless miscarriages, 10 brutally heartbreaking years of failed conception too then travel across the world to Greece and finally be lucky to achieve her dream of becoming a Mother with a donor egg, at the age of 49 was also in the audience. Was her decision to keep trying for a precious baby wrong despite the fact she was getting older, not younger?
Do any of us have the right to judge the story of anyone else? Should we have stopped these people from becoming parents because society thinks it’s wrong, yet it mean so much to that one person.
That brings us too Max and I… It is very evident and common knowledge that their is an age gap in our marriage. Max has 2 sons and 4 grand kids, we are trying for our own baby which for both of us will complete our family, Max this time around will be an older Father if/when our child is born. Is that wrong?
Those of you who know Max and I, know that we so desperately want to have a family together. As with everyone sitting in the audience last night that is an older parent, we have of course weighed the ups and downs, the pros and cons and thought long and hard the impact our decision could have on a child.
– What will happen if something happens too us?
– Will Max’s health allow him too be the best Father he possibly could be?
– What will parents and children at the school think? Will our child be bullied?
– Will the child hate us for bringing it into the world?
– If something does happen too us who will look after our child?
– Will being a single parent be good or bad for the child?
So many questions… Yes we have probably thought of them all at great length and more then once. Yes it’s been asked too us more then once..
Last night out of all of the children in the audience born to older Fathers, only one had a problem with being brought up by an older Father. Her Father died when she was quite young and not long after her birth he was diagnosed with Dementia, so this was a quick decline in health where she felt she never really knew her Father. During the discussion she was so passionately against older parents, thought it was wrong to do this too a child, and embarrassing. It came out that this lady has since brought her own child into the world with a man that is much older…. Hypocrite or ironic? That was tough! I asked myself did that girl have deeper issues that needed addressing? Every other child felt loved, loved their Father and knew no different because it was Dad. They don’t have any problems from being born to older parents.
As children we are brought into the world with “our parents”, sometimes that’s just Mum, sometimes just Dad, sometimes your parents who birthed you, may not want too be In your life any longer due too a number of factors, children are born to alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, single Mothers, parents pass away no matter what the age, Grandparents play a huge role in a lot of children’s lives.. The list is endless. That child grows up thinking that is “normal” because that is all they know. The child plods along in life knowing no different usually until School starts and other children start to tell them they are weird, different and not like them because Mum or Dad is different. Children don’t mean too be so judgmental it normally is instilled in them, but words can be so cruel, looks can hurt. Which brings me too ask.. What is “normal” too you? Such a broad question yet everyone has a different perception of “normal”. Your normal does not mean it is someone’s else normal, your idea of the perfect family does not mean it reflects someone else’s idea of a perfect family, your thoughts and opinions on older parents does not mean everyone should think like you.
We live in such a judging society. People are very quick to judge when something doesn’t look right them, when someone/something might be different. Why? Do you believe you live in the perfect world? Has it ever crossed your mind that your thoughts and actions may hurt someone? Have you thought about having this discussion with your children so they understand that what YOU may know as “normal” doesn’t mean other children think it’s normal and that their words could really hurt that other child?
For Max and I we are not classified as the “normal” family… But to us, it’s very normal. We believe that what we have together is special, it may look different or people may not understand what we have in common, what attracts us etc… But for us we have a special bond, call me silly but age no longer comes into the equation. Max is a young man at heart, Max is in great health (probably better then me), Max still works 5 days a week because he wants to, we talk for hours on end about so many different things, we love being in each other’s company and we love being Married. Society judges us, they always have. There is not one nasty comment I haven’t heard/read before, I’ve been asked all the questions, people try and pre judge our situation straight away. People assume that Max is a “millionaire” and I don’t work at all and I live this life of luxury with an older man. This is wrong. I have nice things not because of Max but because I went to University and have a good job that allows me to spoil myself, I work, I save my money, I pay off all my debts, I pay a mortgage and car loan, not because of Max… But because of me…
Why do you judge? Should you think before assuming?
Putting myself out there obviously leaves me open for criticism. I understand that. But again that brings me back to my first question.. Why judge? Why not just keep quiet, have your own opinion and move on with life. Does it affect you in any way? Are you nasty because you are jealous? Again… Should you teach your children that what you think of someone may not be the truth and your words can hurt that person?
So.. After last night I walked away a lot wiser.
I have learnt more so not to judge.
I have learnt that what YOU think is right and perfect does not mean everybody else needs too think like that.
I learnt that children born into loving families with older parents are much better off then a lot of other children.
I learnt that Max and I are normal. We are our own kind of normal.
I learnt it is ok too keep doing IVF and wanting to nurture a baby in a judgmental world with an older Father.
I’ve learnt I am not alone in this journey. So many other families are in similar situations.
But most of all, I learnt, NOONE IS PERFECT! Everyone’s story is very different.
I ask people who read this too please stop judging, take a minute too think before you comment, look at your own life- are you perfect, children born to older parents should not be judged, people with older partners should not be judged.
Think about your actions and words. Think of the consequences. Think of the other person.
This is our journey, our life, our story.
Our child will be loved, adored, have a huge network of people surrounding it, our child will feel wanted, our child will grow up knowing that for us this is normal but for others it may not be, I will teach our child not to judge and hope they never do, I will teach our child “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all” in the hope that they will not hurt others, our child will grow up knowing what amazing people it has in its life, the strong influences.
Our child will definitely grow up knowing that because it’s Father is older does not mean our child is different, but it is normal. It will grow up doing “normal” things like other children. Yes, Max will go to school drop offs and sports and kick footballs or play netball, yes they will go to the park.. All the so called normal things!
I pray when we have a child that more people realise we are living longer, establishing careers and that more people are becoming parents later in life. Hopefully this will become the new normal.
Stop judging, teach younger ones it’s not ok to judge, your actions may hurt others. It is not ok!
Please don’t judge us or others in the same situation.
So tune in next Tuesday night at 8:30pm on the SBS and see if your opinion has changed.