Does your age affect the type of mother you are?

I’ve just been reading a terribly sad feature written by a woman who got pregnant at 43 and seems to believe that her age is to blame for her failure to connect with her daughter and the fact that she has no desire to spend any time with her.  It isn’t easy reading, particularly for anyone who would absolutely adore to have a child, but the link is here if you want to take a look.

I think it is a great shame that the author has used her own feelings to draw conclusions about offering IVF to women of 40-42, as I find it very hard to believe that age has anything to do with the way she feels – I think she would have had just the same response to being a parent had she been 20 or 30 when she conceived rather than in her early 40s.  In fact, it is often suggested that older women may be good parents precisely because they have more time to devote to their children, and the sweeping generalisation that all older women may feel too set in their ways to accept the changes that motherhood can bring seems to me to be completely wrong.

To then go on to to conclude from this that offering IVF to women in their early forties may not be such a good thing because they are too selfish is just nonsense.  When I interviewed women who’d had children after fertility problems for my book Precious Babies,  it was very clear that whatever age they were, they all relished spending time with the children they’d longed for.

Of course your age makes a difference to the sort of parent you are because your interests and lifestyle tend to be different as you get older – but this can be positive rather than negative, so don’t ever believe that waiting to have a baby is going to make you any less capable as a parent in the future.

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