The Argument by Laura
Yesterday I participated in a new talk show that’s coming to CBS. They have a segment called “Viewer vs. Viewer,” and as a mother who gave birth at the age of 44, I was pitted against a woman in California named Diane who believed it was selfish, risky, and dangerous to have children over the age of 40. We had a healthy debate, and I am sure my stance is correct because choosing to have children is a very personal, very private decision that belongs only to a woman and her partner.
But the thing is — Diane in California is right. But only on two counts. It is risky and dangerous to conceive at an older age, and we’re more likely to have complications with everything from the baby’s health to our health. My doctor specialized in multiples and women over 40, and she always told me we had to look at the picture through three lenses: my health, the babies’ health, and the health of the pregnancy. Fortunately, I was healthy and the babies were healthy, but my pregnancy was a worst-case scenario. I had a previa, a hematoma, and an abruption, all of which lead to an emergency C-section at 32 weeks, and ten days later I had a hemorrhage that landed me in the ICU.
Having babies at my age with my issues was risky. And it was dangerous. And I wouldn’t change a thing. And in truth, the only person who suffered was my husband who after my procedure had to ask the doctor if he was going to become a single father. I was knocked out through the whole ordeal, so I was not traumatized in the least. In fact, it was nice to be able to spend another two nights in the hospital so I could be close to my boys who were just one floor down in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU.)
But Diane in California is wrong, wrong, wrong on one account. Having babies at 40 is not selfish. Her point was that they wouldn’t know their grandparents and to that I say, “I didn’t have a grandmother growing up.” She died giving birth to my father and his twin. And I turned out just fine. I found substitutes. And eventually my grandfather married a wonderful woman who was a great grandmother to me. Both of them lived well into their 90s, so I was in my 30s when they passed.
My opponent also mentioned that 40-year old women didn’t have the energy to keep up with the kids, so we cut corners. Au contraire, Diane in California. Even with three hours of sleep a night, I am wide-awake for this time in my life. And because I waited to do this, I have the resources to give these kids everything they need and more. I have a huge circle of friends who are aunts and uncles to these boys. And because I am older, I am more patient and wiser, and what I see from this is two little boys who are happy, delightful, confident, secure and curious about their world.
I wouldn’t change a thing. Bring on the risk. The danger. And I will be selfish only with my time. That goes to the little guys I gambled on. Gambled and hit the jackpot.