Pregnant at 56: the new normal?

September 30, 2011

When I picked up this week’s NY magazine from my mailbox, I was taken aback by it’s cover. On it, a grey-haired woman your mother’s age proudly holds her ever-growing baby bump.

The featured article, written by Lisa Miller entitled, “Is She Just Too Old For This?” sheds light on a growing trend in the Western world’s obsession with youth and having it all.

While I’m all for personal choices and individual happiness, I’m not sure what to think of this cultural shift. I’m not mad at older women wanting children: everyone deserves to be happy. My issue is from a health standpoint and the disruption of the natural progression into menopause.

The article points out the many risks involved, including hormonal disorders and strokes. But osteoporosis, linked with aging and hormonal changes, is a big one. If a woman already suffers from brittle bones (which is common among menopausal women), pregnancy and nursing will only add to the problem, won’t it? And can the heart handle the major increase in blood volume? Are the health risks worth it? Apparently, for these women, risking it all for the chance at motherhood makes it all worthwhile.

I’m not even sure I want to touch this topic further: it’s controversial and a bit disturbing. But I’m fascinated at the great lengths people will go for personal satisfaction. What are your thoughts?

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