In the last part of our "mid-life mom" series, CBS reporter Hattie Kauffman explains how medical science has essentially stopped the biological clock with the advent of procedures such as donor egg in-vitro fertilization as well as the concerns over the risks of having babies later in life.
Jeanne Litvin had three children in her 20s from a first marriage. But she never thought she'd be playing with kids again at age 53. "I got pregnant when I was 45 and they were born when I was 46," says Litvin.
She joined the ranks of older moms when she and her husband became the parents of triplets--two boys and a girl. They are seven years old now and keeping their parents on their toes.
"I bike with them, we play baseball with them, and we go out and shoot hoops with them," says Litvin. "I was the coach with my husband for their championship basketball team."
But there are concerns about age catching up with them. "We are very focused on what if," says Litvin. "What if God forbid something happens to one of us. You know we want to make sure we have enough insurance. What if one of us becomes disabled? You know, how do we manage going up and down stairs?"
For older moms there are numerous issues. No one wants to be the oldest in the playground or worry about college payments when they're retiring. These are fears that therapist Carole Leiber Wilkins hears often. "That they won't be able to keep up with their kids," says Leiber. "That they won't be able to go out and play ball with them. That they feel embarrassed when people ask whether that's their grandchild. That they won't live to see their children graduate from high school."
And there are medical risks as well. "Around mid 40s into their late 40s, we begin to warn women that they may be taking a risk with their health," says Dr. Michael Feinman. "And we ask them to get a cardiovascular screening to make sure at the present time, they have the cardio pulmonary ability to sustain the extra stress of pregnancy."
Despite the risks, there is no age limit for women using medical help to become pregnant. Dr Feinman thinks we should take a hint from nature. "God has given us a symbol of when to stop which is menopause," says Feinman. "The mean age for menopause in this country is 51. So this would seem to be the time when nature is telling us women are no longer physiologically as capable of carrying a pregnancy as younger women."
But there are advantages to being a mature mom. "Women in their late 30s or 40s tend to be more financially secure," says Leiber. "If they're in marriages, those marriages tend to be a little more stable than a very young marriage at the age of 23. They know what they want. They perhaps traveled, they've developed careers and they're really ready to give what is necessary to be a really good parent."
Now in her 50s, Jean Litvin is doing it again and she's at the top of her game. "My daughter's class went to the zoo in the spring last year, ad the kids are running and I'm the only mother running to keep up with the kids," says Litvin. "We love it, and we wouldn't change what we have for anything. So I recommend it to those that want babies, just realize that you need to have energy."
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