“I went through waking up crying and saying, ‘Am I too old? Will I suddenly at 51 have my knees give out?’ ” Hawkins, who used a sperm donor and was implanted with her own frozen embryo, told People magazine.
“Now I don’t have any of those fears because I feel healthy and strong. I’m also setting up a good net of support, and that’s the key to anybody having a child.”
Hawkins is part of a small but growing trend of women doing what was unthinkable only a few decades ago: becoming moms at age 50 and beyond, according to a recent story in AARP The Magazine.
50 and pregnant: Celebs having babies later in life
In 2013, an average of 13 children were born every week to mothers 50 years and older, the magazine reported. In 2012, women 50 and older had 600 babies, up from 144 births in 1997, based on numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF).
And those numbers don’t take into account the women who become mothers through adoption or surrogacy, women like Deborah, who had a child “close to 50,” she says. She used a surrogate after she learned through in vitro fertilization that she could get pregnant but could not carry a child to term.
A few years later, Deborah, who wanted to use only her first name for this article, had another child after her surrogate offered to carry and deliver a second baby for her and her husband.
“That was the best decision we made, or she helped us make … because I do think that it’s a bit of a burden on an only child to have an older parent,” she said.
‘Sometimes they think I’m the grandma’
“I’ve gone through a lot of stuff, and I’ve come to parenthood bringing a completely different perspective than somebody that’s just starting out,” said Scott, the mother of twins born through surrogacy.
“I’ve been around. I’ve been around the block.”
Deborah, who also had her kids through surrogacy, said her friends who have been through motherhood have been a tremendous resource.
“If you have a close relationship with your friends, they are that much farther ahead of you, and so I’ve benefited from their advice,” she said. “My best friend that I grew up with, her son’s getting married … and I’m looking at high school.”
As for the children, most of the mothers I spoke with said their kids don’t think of them as ‘older’ parents. They think of them as parents.
“I think the thing my children feel is that they were so wanted and so loved,” Deborah said.
“It’s like a dream come true for us, so every day, I wake up and say, ‘I’m the luckiest person in the world,’ and I hope they feel that.”
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