Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On 'selfish' older mothers

I had a column in yesterday's Canberra Times, 'Not easy to be an older parent, but it's not selfish'.

Prompted by a doctor's suggestion that older mothers are 'selfish', I'm exploring why we should support older parents.  A sample:
For most of these couples, late parenthood is not a blithe lifestyle choice - they are doing their best in less-than-ideal circumstances. Perhaps a new generation will navigate this terrain of intimacy with a more accurate compass. Others might give up their career earlier, seeking a different balance. And medical science may stop the tragedy of many early miscarriages. But in the meantime, we have loving, well-meaning couples, who are ready to conceive and raise children. While parenting is always a roller-coaster, these parents are often more mature and secure, and prepared to nurture new life. 
Despite the ambivalence and ambiguities of ageing parents, most children in Australia will be grateful for this opportunity: to exist. They might curse the effects of age, but most will deal maturely with the medical and financial consequences. And as a taxpayer, I am happy for the state to offer support and succour in this. 
Yes, older parenthood is nothing to take lightly. But neither are missed opportunities for new life.
(Photo: Ernest F)


Elisabeth said...

I note in the article about this doctor's comments that he did not mention the 'selfishness' of older aged fathers, Damon, or did I miss it?

I'm with you Damon on this one. It seems such an extraordinary thing to say. So ill-conceived.

Damon Young said...

No, you didn't miss it - it's all about mothers.