Women who give birth in their 50s lay foun­da­tions for ‘trau­ma­tised’ chil­dren

Taranaki Daily News - - World -

Women who have ba­bies in their 50s could be ‘‘trau­ma­tis­ing’’ their chil­dren, ex­perts have said.

Chil­dren may not cope with look­ing after frail, aged par­ents or be able to deal with their early death, the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for Re­pro­duc­tive Medicine con­fer­ence in Den­ver was told.

Dr Ju­lianne Zweifel, a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist at the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin, Madi­son, said: ‘‘Sur­veys show the drive to be a mother is so strong, they don’t think about the prob­lems their child will face un­til after the birth.’’

This ‘‘slip­pery slope’’ could even­tu­ally lead to an in­crease in women hav­ing ba­bies in their 60s, she said.

‘‘The stud­ies sug­gest it is trau­matic for a child to lose a par­ent at a young age. Ad­di­tion­ally, the emo­tional im­pact of be­ing a care­giver to an age­ing adult can be dev­as­tat­ing. If you are a teenager, you are not de­vel­op­men­tally pre­pared to deal with that an­guish or re­spon­si­bil­ity,’’ she said.

In the UK, there has been a steady rise in ba­bies born to older moth­ers in the past 15 years. Ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics, women aged

45-49 had 705 ba­bies in 2001, ris­ing to 2,048 in 2016. The 50-54-yearolds had 53 ba­bies in 2001, ris­ing to 218 in 2016. Those aged 55 and over had two ba­bies in 2001, ris­ing to 20 in 2016.

Dr Ju­lia Wood­ward, direc­tor of psy­cho­log­i­cal ser­vices at the Duke Fer­til­ity Cen­tre in North Carolina, said: ‘‘I am wor­ried about the [older] woman’s risks of post-na­tal de­pres­sion.

‘‘And what is it like go­ing through menopause with a preschooler? What is it like to be en­forc­ing a mid­night curfew for your high school se­nior when you are push­ing 70?

‘‘What is it like for that child, who is hav­ing to al­ter and de­lay their own life plans. They can­not back­pack across Europe this sum­mer be­cause they are go­ing to want to stay home and get Mum through that hip re­place­ment.’’

She said stud­ies showed that chil­dren of older par­ents worry about them dy­ing, and them find­ing their bod­ies, as well as be­ing up­set that they might have fewer years with their par­ents.

And not only were par­ents ex­hausted look­ing after a new­born, later on they felt they could not fit in with other, younger moth­ers due to the age gap.

– Tele­graph Group

‘‘Sur­veys show the drive to be a mother is so strong, they don’t think about the prob­lems their child will face un­til after the birth.’’

Dr Ju­lianne Zweifel, Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin, Madi­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.