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to think that selfishness is a bad argument to use about people wanting babies?

(34 Posts)
ShadowFall Mon 31-Mar-14 14:35:13

Watching TV earlier today.

They were discussing a newspaper article about women over 50 having children, and read out a few comments sent in by viewers.

One viewer had said that women over a certain age were selfish to have babies.

I think that this is a very poor argument to use when discussing the rights and wrongs of someone having a baby under less than ideal circumstances.

If someone chooses to get pregnant, regardless of how ideal their circumstances, then they're presumably doing so because they themselves want a baby. Not because they think that society will benefit from the birth of their baby. So surely someone choosing to concieve a baby is always doing so for selfish reasons?


brokenhearted55a Mon 31-Mar-14 14:36:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HandragsNGladbags Mon 31-Mar-14 14:37:08

YANBU of course it is selfish to want a baby. Even if it is a second baby and you want DC1 to have a sibling you are still doing it for a selfish reason - your dc being happy will make you happy.

It's very difficult to make a truly unselfish decision.

VampyreofTimeandMemory Mon 31-Mar-14 14:43:39

well, sort of but usually 'selfish' is used as an insult and i don't think this type of so-called selfishness is negative...

somedizzywhore1804 Mon 31-Mar-14 14:43:47

Having a child is pretty much the most selfish thing you can do. No one has one because they're thinking about the contribution to the economy or society. Nature makes you want them to carry on your genes- its not an intellectual decision at it's heart.

CailinDana Mon 31-Mar-14 14:45:44

Agree with handrags - practically every single decision humans make is "selfish" in that it serves their own interests above everyone else's.

So I agree that arguing having a baby post 50 is "selfish" is a bit meaningless.

Fusedog Mon 31-Mar-14 14:48:25

I think any extreme is always a bad move I don't think it's a perticallr good idea for a 15 year old to have a baby nor a 60 year old

MaxsMummy2012 Mon 31-Mar-14 14:51:12

I agree anyone of any age choosing to have a baby does so for selfish reasons but in terms of women over 50 isn't the selfishness referring to the fact that they are older mums who (age wise) may have deteriating health and minds and that by the time their child reaches adulthood a woman of 50 would be in her 70's and elderly and there is a strong potential for that child to lose 1 or both parents while they are still young. By the by I'm not saying this is a view I hold so dont flame me as this isn't my personal opinion.

AMumInScotland Mon 31-Mar-14 14:51:43

"You/they are being selfish" = "I disapprove of your choice"

Of course having a child is pretty much always going to be selfish. Outside of an 'acceptable' age range, people tend to disapprove, now that contraception means that having babies is something that people choose instead of just being something that follows automatically from being in a sexual relationship.

JohnCusacksWife Mon 31-Mar-14 14:56:04

I agree that at a basic level the decision by anyone to have a baby is selfish. But in the circumstances described by the OP i think what people mean is that they think the mother is putting her wishes above the best interests of the child.

Topaz25 Mon 31-Mar-14 14:56:30

Yes, having a baby is generally a selfish decision because it is based on your wants but a responsible parent also makes sure they can provide their child with a good life. I think people mean that it is selfish for someone to have a child when they will be in their 60s when that child is at school and in their 70s when that child is in their 20s, meaning the child will potentially have to make those difficult decisions about caring for their elderly parents when their peers are still enjoying their independence and focusing on their education. I know some people are perfectly healthy in their 60s and 70s but the risk of health problems increases with age and that's a heavy burden to place on their children's shoulders.

Contrarian78 Mon 31-Mar-14 15:02:32

Nobody needs a child. Therefore its always selfish.

Not strictly true. True of the developed world, but certainly not for everyone.

It's true that it is always selfish (I suppose). I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with women in their 50's and 60's giving birth - mainly becasue of the burden that could be placed on the child in future - but I'd be suprised if it was something most people were that bothered about.

My wife is preg-er-nent as the ripe old age of 34. It's been the hardest so far!

Contrarian78 Mon 31-Mar-14 15:03:20

Actually, just in case she's on here, she's nearly 34!

CloverHeart Mon 31-Mar-14 15:04:28


My (not so D) BIL and SIL, upon receiving the news we were expecting DC2, told DH that we were being selfish having another because DH and BIL parents are nearing their 70's hmm

I wouldn't have been so hurt by it if:

a) They didnt constantly have PIL's take their THREE hyperactive children out for long days at the zoo/park/museums and ask them to stay overnight with DC's when they fancy a weekend away

and b) had we not THEN found out only 2 days after their vile remark that we have a high risk of having a baby with Downs Syndrome.

Anger and pure bitterness doesn't cover what I feel towards them right now.

Objection Mon 31-Mar-14 15:46:45

Having children is always selfish, yes.
But perhaps they were trying to make the point that having a child at 50 is specifically selfish to the child?

Objection Mon 31-Mar-14 15:47:52

a very weak x-post with topaz who has put it far better than me!

RiverTam Mon 31-Mar-14 15:54:15

having a child, in this country at any rate, is usually selfish, not much is more so. But I can see the argument that having a child this late in life is more so - the child will barely have reached adulthood before they could be thrown into caring for an elderly parent. I have found becoming a parent at 38 pretty bloody exhausting, so unless that 50-year-old is super-fit I can't imagine how they would be with a young child to run after (or not, as the case may be). Plus the medical costs of seeing a pregnant woman of this age could be much higher?

Just different levels of selfish, I guess. Personally, I don't think it's a great idea but I would be happy to be proved wrong!

mrsjay Mon 31-Mar-14 15:57:35

everybody has children for selfish reasons they want a family and to be happy they dont have children for anybody else just themselves, so regardless of age it is selfish, although i think people think that being 50 plus means the person cant look after the child properly could die in the teen years etc etc well plenty of younger people have babies and are terrible parents, so there is not really an arguement imo, if women want to and can have babies in their 50s then why not,

mrsjay Mon 31-Mar-14 15:59:32

although saying that i saw aprogramme about older mothers and a woman she is european (cant remember the country) has a baby very late in life and she said she regrets it so I can see there is 2 sides

fluffyraggies Mon 31-Mar-14 16:13:03

As far as selfishness goes: everyone who chooses to get pregnant does it because they (or someone else - surrogacy) wants a child. They want to be a parent. ie they want that for themselves. Their self. Selfish then, if you like.

As far the ''particularly'' selfish ... well, some mothers are short of money, some are short of space, some are disabled in some way, some are v.young, some are gay, some are older than average, some are single parents, some are living in a troubled country/war zone, some have mental health issues, some have a life threatening illness - are they all also ''particularly'' putting themselves before the child'? ''particularly selfish''?

Who are these 'perfect parents' then? Only the early 30's, well off, married, heterosexual, perfectly fit, morally perfect and living in a civilized society? hmm The human race would die out/become pretty inbred if only the perfect and therefore somehow 'less selfish' folk had babies.

Burren Mon 31-Mar-14 16:23:07

There have always been older fathers, and no one accuses them of selfishness, or at least not in the numbers in which they are pillorying older mothers. Yet surely advanced paternal age - which can of course be far more advanced than even the oldest women who conceive - is just as likely to deprive said child of a parent at a young age? Or is it worse to lose your mother than your father?

Honestly, I would like to ask the pointers and shriekers in what circumstances is it least selfish to have a baby, as clearly it's regarded as selfish if you're on benefits/ a single parent/ gay/ disabled/ over 35/ under 20 / conceive as a result of IVF / plan to be a SAHM (therefore 'economically inactive') or to return to work (cold, careerist bitch) etc etc.

ShadowFall Mon 31-Mar-14 16:58:06

I'm not denying that there can be potential downsides to an older person choosing to have a child.

I just don't really see how they're being intrinsically more selfish than someone younger choosing to conceive a child.

NiceTabard Wed 02-Apr-14 13:20:02

I can't understand how so many posters can state unequivocally that having a child is "always selfish". women and girls all over the world including in the UK are in situations where they have little or no choice. even in northern Ireland which is part of the UK abortion is illegal to all intents and purposes. many girls globally have no access to contraception, are abused or controlled by others. labeling them "selfish" on top of everything else seems unnecessarily harsh. Have a little empathy.

Also, those who feel that having a child is always selfish, presumably that applies to the men and boys who are involved in pregnancies as well?

HandragsNGladbags Wed 02-Apr-14 13:32:54

But if someone wants or chooses to have a baby then that is selfish imo. And that goes for anyone, man or woman.

That is not the same of course as someone who is forced or persuaded or reluctant to have a child. But the OP is about older women choosing to have a baby at a later stage in life.

NiceTabard Wed 02-Apr-14 14:51:26

Why is it selfish simply to want a child? Lots of people want something but don't or can't have it. Is it selfish to want something you are never going to have?

This thread is odd!

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