March 2013 Profile: Frieda Birnbaum
AGE: 65 (gave birth to twins at age 60)
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married over 40 years to Ken Birnbaum
RESIDENCE: Saddle River, New Jersey
CHILDREN’S NAMES/AGES: Twins: Josh and Jarrett, 5; Ari, 12; Alana, 34; Jason, 38
How does it feel to be the oldest women in the U.S. to give birth to twins, when you were 60? I don’t feel any different except everyone knows my age, so I have gotten a lot of attention.
What prompted you to become a mom yet again, and how did it come to fruition? My husband wanted to try. I wanted to adopt an older child for my son since he was 5 years old. I conceived through IVF, working with a clinic in South Africa that specializes in in-vitro fertilization of older women. I delivered via C-section at Hackensack University Medical Center in NJ.
What do you see as the positives and challenges of becoming a later in life mom? It’s funny, but the same challenges still arise…. my husband and I are different. He is stronger with the children, and I balance that with being more of a nurturer. I guess it is an innate process and has nothing to do with age.
What do you see as the distinction between having kids at both a younger and older age? (You had your first child when you were 26.) When I was 26, I wanted to experience the world and find out more about myself. I went back to school and because of this, I have a PhD in psychology and did research on women, happiness, success, careers, what comes first career or marriage. I think we are still dealing with the same issues. I taught my daughter to have a career first so she could be independent in her marriage.
What do you most want to teach your children? I want them to have a love for life. To be good to others. To be productive.
Do you and your husband take on different aspects of parenting? As a second generation Holocaust survivor, I had parents who over protected me. My husband was brought up, with a nanny, from Jewish American parents. He was happy with macaroni and cheese, while we celebrated life with special Sabbath meals, holidays, friends and family. My life was far richer, and I try to impart that richness to my family.
Do you recall anything from your own upbringing that really stuck with you that you’d like to pass on to your children or other parents? I don’t believe in the nanny from TV. I don’t believe in tough love. Children are born innocent and are just a reflection of what goes on in the home. Love, support, structure. That is what children need to grow on.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with others contemplating becoming a mom later in life? You chose these children because you have so much to give. Realize that you are already ahead of the game.