screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-1-52-57-pmScience — and celebrities — are routinely sending us the message that our biological clocks aren’t really ticking as fast the emotional ones that tell us we must become a mother by a certain age.

Three years ago, Halle Berry gave birth to a son at 47; last month Audra McDonald welcomed her second child — a daughter — at 46; and we all know Janet Jackson has completely defied the assumed medical odds by being pregnant at 50. Moreover, a new, albeit small, study in cancer patients showed the ovaries may actually be able to produce new eggs in adulthood. As The Guardian pointed out, “If confirmed, the discovery would overturn the accepted view that women are born with a fixed number of eggs and that the body has no capacity to increase this supply. Until now this has been the main constraint on the female reproductive lifespan. The findings, if replicated, would raise the prospect of new treatments to allow older women to conceive and for infertility problems in younger women.”

While the latter theory may still be in an exploratory phase, the women giving birth at 40- and even 45-plus (to healthy babies despite the still high-risk pregnancies) are real. But just because your body can physically handle pregnancy, does that mean it can physically — mentally and emotionally — handle child-rearing in middle age? That’s a question Kenya Moore recently asked when detailing her fertility journey — egg donation and in vitro fertilization — as a then-single woman and now a 46 year old dating a man 16 years younger.

“I’ve been ready [for a baby] for at least five years,” Moore told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There have been a couple of bumps in the road with the donor situation, with relationships. It keeps taking turns. I’ve been in a long-term relationship for over a year and a half. I’ve had some reservations moving forward with my partner. I will touch upon that [on Real Housewives of Atlanta].”

 The reality star has also had some reservations about moving forward with her plans to have a baby.
“I have a reason for pause,” she further explained. “As a woman of a certain again, do you want to be Halle Berry or Janet Jackson? Do you have to have a kid later in life? It’s different now. Medical science makes it possible. But there’s also that emotional aspect. My life is pretty good. Do I want to change everything and become a mother? It takes an emotional toll on you just trying to figure it out, seeing myself with children.”
It’s a valid question. If people in their 40s can be too set in their ways to compromise with one another for the sake of a relationship, it’s not hard to fathom the sacrifices made to have a child in this stage of life might be greater than those made when parents are younger. While some may not be as financially established in their 20s or early 30s when most people become parents, young parents also have no concept of what it’s like to only look out for their needs for four decades. They may miss being able to be “selfish” to some extent, having to always put their children’s needs before theirs, but giving that up a mere few years after one’s first taste of freedom and independent living in college versus truly restarting a whole new way of living when your life is half — or close to half — over is a huge emotional undertaking that doesn’t get talked about nearly as much as the wonder of a miracle birth at nearly 50 years old.
As many women look to the examples set by modern medicine, Halle, and Janet as proof they don’t have to rush to settle down and put on the superhero cape of motherhood, it’s important to ask not only can your body handle pregnancy later in life, but also your mind.
What do you say? Do you think you’d be mentally equipped to have a baby past 45, even if your body allowed it?
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