Baby at 46

(346 Posts)
TwittyMcTwitterson Mon 24-Feb-14 08:12:49

My lovely mum is going for fertility checks tomorrow to see how difficult it will be to conceive. At 46, she's not receiving that much positive feedback. She always wanted a big family and only had me. One of her biggest regrets.

I'm fairly certain it's not empty nest syndrome as I've lived away for 9 years now. I'm 26 and have a DD myself of 2.5 or a midlife crisis as, like I say, she has always wanted this and hasn't just gone and bought a Porsche

She's not the healthiest 46 yr old. Diets not great, smokes like the proverbial chimney, don't think she'd quit but would cut down but that's another thread has around a glass or more of wine a night. Her life is set up very much as a 46 year old. I don't imagine a baby would fit in easily. She's also self employed and recently set up her own business. She's also not in the stablest of relationships.

Most people have said about tiredness and not realising how knackering it is. However, I said that when I was 24. Her friends who had children at 38 and 40.ish have not been as supportive as you'd think.

Anyway, I'm basically asking if anyone has any constructive advice for her. She's fed up of people putting her down and dismissing it as a fanciful idea. Is it as bad as they say or should she happily go ahead?

Thanks in advance wink

Topseyt Mon 24-Feb-14 09:23:22

I have sympathy for your mum. Not because I have been in her shoes, as I haven't, but because it sounds as if she feels a chunk of her life is missing because of the children she didn't manage to have. Those are feelings she will never manage to simply dismiss.

Some women do get pregnant in their late 40s, although the chances of it, and of success are slimmer due to age and reducing fertility. That is just a harsh fact and your mum probably already knows it, so doesn't want it rubbed in anymore. Many people will know of a few cases though. Late pregnancy like this isn't impossible, just rather less likely.

As someone upthread has already said, I think all you can do is offer your mum all the support you can for whatever the outcome. Don't try to dissuade her, and don't dwell on either positives or negatives. Just ensure she knows you will always be there in moral support (not always close by) anyway.

TwittyMcTwitterson Mon 24-Feb-14 09:24:12

She has previously asked me to donate. I said no way. A sister that's technically my daughter and younger than my own. Jeremy Kyle would be calling... wink

MothratheMighty Mon 24-Feb-14 09:24:39

'the lifestyle of a woman at any age who wants a baby but who has poor diet, is a heavy smoker, drinks daily, is in an unstable relationship and has just changed jobs to one where she will not receive any maternity benefits? Her age is only one factor here.'

Yes. This is a potential baby, not a hamster that is being discussed.
OP, would you be happy leaving your mother in sole charge of your child for a year? With the smoking and the drinking?

Meerkatwhiskers Mon 24-Feb-14 09:28:24

I know exactly where you are coming from. I'm an only child and my mum met my step dad when I was 18 (she also had me when she was 20). She then tried for a baby with him and was refused NHS fertility treatment. She was (and still is overweight) and didn't try to change that. I was against the idea, not for the fact that I am an only child but because of the circumstances. In hindsight, I'm now 36, my stepdad has had a stroke, heart attack, aneurysm in his aorta that has been scented, has chronic kidney failure and heart failure at the grand age of 58. He is currently in hospital having a stent in his artery (he needs a bypass but his heart is too weak to risk an anaesthetic) and needs to get a pacemaker fitter to control his irregular heartbeat.

I am incredibly relieved I only have my mum to support through these last 10 years as they've been hard. If there had been kids involved it would have been a nightmare. He changed a lot when he had his stroke and wouldn't be a good father now as he would have been beforehand. Harsh to say but true (and he is a good stepfather to me).

It's a rare situation I know but I didn't think it was a good idea at the time for these reasons (it was known he had heart problems before).

Btw I also have fertility issues and I know what it's like. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But if I had to be realistic (and my own health is actually not that great now so I may have to make that choice myself) then I would choose to have to not be selfish.

Topseyt Mon 24-Feb-14 09:30:51

I can absolutely understand why you declined to donate eggs. I wouldn't either. A baby produced that way would be your biologcal son or daughter, and their grandma would be their mum. Few people could cope with that.

If she wants to go the donor egg route it is probably much better done anonymously, via fertility clinics or whatever.

Stockhausen Mon 24-Feb-14 09:30:58

Can she not concentrate on her daughter & grandchild/ren?

Seems a very selfish idea, never mind fanciful!

Meerkatwhiskers Mon 24-Feb-14 09:31:29

Btw I never ever said any of this to my mum. Even now. It's not up to me to say that. I can have my opinion but it's not up to me to say that to her.

I just did the nod and agree thing whenever she said anything about it to me. Best way to be impartial lol. Our extended family were of the same persuasion to me so I had a sounding board though thank god. It was harder as I was living with them at the time.

TwittyMcTwitterson Mon 24-Feb-14 09:32:28

Topseyt, that's exactly how she feels. I understand that totally and know I would be the same.

I didn't realise congenital abnormalities were that high at that age shock

I have only once or twice left DD with DM at her house and it was only for ten mins. I have left them together at my house when DD had pox and I had to work as the dangers were gone. Take from that what you will

TwittyMcTwitterson Mon 24-Feb-14 09:34:17

She is excellent with DD now she's over two. She was PFB but was v v v nervous until she was 1-2 hmm

BoffinMum Mon 24-Feb-14 09:35:53

Well, if you are able to conceive naturally, then nature thinks you are able to bear a child. If not, you need to ask yourself a few questions about what is going on.

I am also 46 and had my last baby at 41. I was fit and well and got pregnant within a month of deciding to have another one, but I got a ghastly complication and lost the ability to walk for a while. The birth and postnatal period were fine apart from that, however. In fact the lack of sleep was easier than it had been with my first one at 19 as I needed less sleep overall.

I suppose in planning terms I would recommend she works out how to organise domestic help, and a lot of it, in case things work out more difficult than she is expecting. Frankly if someone can afford a decent nanny this can make all the difference. A comfortable home also makes a difference too.

In terms of health, I think an immediate yoga/vitamin/diet improvement campaign would show intent and improve things all around. Statistically most babies born to women of 45+ are healthy (although it's more risky than when you are younger, obviously).

Ultimately she is going to have to throw money and time at the project if she wants it to work out well, I think.

fuzzpig Mon 24-Feb-14 09:36:42

I had no idea that the risk of congenital abnormality was so much higher.

I would've thought she is fairly unlikely to have successful IVF though, considering the miscarriages etc sad

BrandNewIggi Mon 24-Feb-14 09:37:28

Has she had any counselling for the miscarriages, which might help her reflect more as well on what she wants for the future? It is very hard to accept ending your fertility history, so to speak, with a loss.

BrandNewIggi Mon 24-Feb-14 09:39:25

The miscarriages can be linked to the increased risk of abnormality, iyswim. Doesn't necessarily mean that the next egg wouldn't be able to produce a baby (looks at ds2).

MothratheMighty Mon 24-Feb-14 09:41:33

That's not what I meant Evee, I was wondering if you'd be happy with your mother taking over the exclusive care of your DD for an extended period of time.
Do you think that she'd keep up with the demands of an active child, would you be concerned about the effects on your DD of the smoking and drinking and poor diet?
How would your mother cope with it all? Fantastically, or not?

TwittyMcTwitterson Mon 24-Feb-14 09:41:50

Stockhausen, we live quite far away and rarely venture up there. I've also not exactly been forthcoming with letting her handle DD lots when teeny. She wanted to be very ott and fussy but I always backed away due to her having a very different parenting style to me. Basically, I've been a bit of a bitch.

Thank you meerkat. You raise a good point. My grandad/her dad had a huge heart attack and triple bypass at 50 shock died at 65.

Chunderella Mon 24-Feb-14 09:45:46

Constructive advice would be to make sure she's as healthy as she possibly can be! So no smoking, cut down the drink, sort out her diet. Pregnancy takes such a toll on the body even when the mother is young and healthy. At 46, there's a pretty good chance that if she does want to conceive, it will have to be via IVF. That's also very hard on the body. She may well need several attempts. Someone mentioned Tina Malone upthread, she also went through a miscarriage and iirc some failed cycles. Your mum would have to be ready for this and what it will entail. I would never want to do this at her age unless I felt very healthy, energetic and resilient.

Topseyt Mon 24-Feb-14 09:45:56

I am not keen on the comments stating that the op's mum is being selfish.

I am lucky, as I managed to have all three of my children pretty much when I wanted them. I am 47 now and my youngest is 11.

At my age, I can now safely say I absolutely do NOT want any more children, and am happy with the lovely ones I have. HOWEVER, perhaps I would be thinking very differently if I had not been able to conceive them?? I might even be considering my options, just as the op's mum is. Luckily for me, I never had to find out, even though I do have a medical condition which could have caused it.

I don't think it is selfishness. It is a natural maternal instinct which cannot, so far, be fulfilled.

TwittyMcTwitterson Mon 24-Feb-14 09:46:07

I know what you meant Mothra, that's my point. I don't trust a day let alone a year!!! Or didn't when she was newborn. However, she raised me very well.

princessalbert Mon 24-Feb-14 09:47:31

Oh no. I am 46 - with a 16yo. I couldn't imagine wanting to go through all those baby/toddler/small child years again.

I loved being pregnant - that was the easy part - it was the subsequent 15 years that were hard.

I would just go with it OP. Your DM is really quite unlikely to get anywhere with this - but if you show your disapproval it'll be remembered. More so, than your support.

Pigsmummy Mon 24-Feb-14 10:20:31

I have a friend who fell pregnant by accident at 47. Healthy happy baby. She gave up smoking and wine when she realised.

mummymeister Mon 24-Feb-14 10:23:10

The menopause is a horrible thing. it messes with your mind. I had my last baby in my early 40's then late 40's desparately wanted another because essentially my hormones were all over the place. this is what is happening to your mum. its what all of us go through to a certain extent

TwittyMcTwitterson Mon 24-Feb-14 10:28:23

With all due respect mummymeister, she's been talking about this for at least 7 years in great detail. All my life to some degree. Menopauses don't last that long wink

bodybooboo Mon 24-Feb-14 10:29:15

of course she could get pregnant people.

my grandmother was one of 14 and her mother had her last 2 at 46 and 48.. it was commen then as women hadn't got the choice.

I think you should support her and see what happens as it's her life, her choices.

not everyone plans their babies by starting a healthy eating/cut down alcohol/fags plan. maybe on mumsnet but not in RL.

MerryMarigold Mon 24-Feb-14 10:32:58

I think you need to be a little wary of support. Just because, if she does have a baby with abnormalities, it will (quite soon) be falling to you to care for this sibling. I know I would not want to be put in that position with a child of my own. I would feel torn between realising my mum's responsibility for the decision and the fact this person is my sibling.

I think your Mum needs to have plans now for a child with abnormalities. If she can think this through, has plans in place which don't include you as a carer, and still wants a child, then fair enough. If she is going into it, blindly hoping for a healthy baby and ignoring the possibilities that it won't be, then I would not be very supportive.

bodybooboo Mon 24-Feb-14 10:33:45

Eveesmummy with all due respect the menopause can indeed last 7 years grin you just wait.

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