Too old to be a mum?

Freya and Sue Tollefsen

Did anyone else catch the BBC documentary Too Old to Be a Mum? last night? It featured three older mothers, and I was very moved by Sue’s story in particular. What a lovely lady and what a great mother to her beautiful little girl Freya, who is showered with love and gentleness by Sue and her husband.

Sue had Freya at the age of 57. She spent a lot of her life looking after her elderly parents and, by the time her mother died, Sue figured she had left motherhood too late; but modern science held out some hope. She needed a donor egg because she was long past the menopause, and she had to go to Russia to get it. The first two attempts failed, and the third ended in miscarriage. Five months later, Sue’s doctor told her she might have ovarian cancer. She went for a scan, whereupon the technician told her she was 29 weeks pregnant. It turns out she’d been pregnant with twins, and only one had miscarried. This left her with about six weeks to get her head around the idea that she was having a baby, before having a baby. Her daughter, Freya, is now 18 months old, Sue is about to be 60, and she wants another baby, but we are left with the impression that having thought long and hard about it, she didn’t want to “push our luck” and was grateful for the blessing of Freya which they had been given.

The film presented three stories about three families, all of which looked extremely happy and full of love.  Can the same be said of every family? Yes, they all touched on how old they would be when their child started school, became a teenager, entered their twenties, how long they would be around for their children. Is it selfish to have a child in your 50s? How old is too old? Perhaps it is only the children themselves who will be able to answer this question in the future – for now they are very loved and secure children who are enjoying a happy childhood.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fiona Moore
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 15:17:31

    Yes i saw this programme and I too was struck by the love and tenderness of Sue.


  2. daniella ashmore
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 15:18:35

    It is a tough thing to comment on – I can understand the longing for your own child and if medical science can make it possible, then I can see why these women decide to go ahead with it – but I am not sure it is in the best interests of these children to be born to elderly parents.


  3. Caroline
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 15:19:30

    with all due respects to these women and others like them – we do not have an inalienable right to have a child – sorry but sometime we have to just accept that we are not meant to have children and certainly not in our 50s!


  4. David
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 15:19:55

    These women are selfish and irresponsible!


  5. Betty
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 15:20:43

    I really feel for these women and others like them and if they can provide a happy and stable home for their children and they are in good health, well who are we to say they can’t have children!


  6. shauna
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 15:21:12

    that baby looks very sad 😦


  7. angie
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 17:07:17

    As a child of older parents – though not as old as these ladies – I felt embarassed as I grew into my teens. My parents are both in their 80s now and are alive and healthy and make wonderful grandparents to my three children. I am grateful looking back for all that they did for me.


  8. jonathan
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 17:13:23

    I don’t think it is up to us to judge – so long as we as taxpayers don’t have to pay well what’s the harm –


  9. Lorna
    Jan 31, 2010 @ 10:36:44

    I didn’t see this programme but would have liked to.
    I do think children go through phases of feeling embarrassed by their parents if they are elderly. My husband did and his mum was 40 when she had him but she was old-fashioned too if you know what I mean. I think you are as young as you feel.
    Personally I think I am a better parent for having my kids in my 30s rather than my 20s. Perhaps there should also be a debate on how good parents are when they are young, ie late teens and early 20s.
    I think live and let live and if a child can be surrounded with love and care, then it doesn’t matter what age the parent is. There are too many children growing up mistreated and neglected and that’s where the problems lie.


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