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If you are childless at 50, is it too late to change your mind?(Would you want to?)

young family imageArticle by Fabafterfifty
I was sitting with a group of women recently  and the inevitable
question came up- ‘How many children do you have?’ My response of ‘none’
seemed to not go down too well with one of the ladies present, who,
despite the fact that she knew nothing about me or my life, stated that
she thought my decision not to have children was a selfish one.

With an increasing number of  women over the age of 50 apparently now having IVF and more than 100 new mothers over the age of 50 in the UK last year , comments on various forums have also suggested that these women are selfish for choosing to have children later in life.

Is there a right or wrong answer to this?

I have also been asked if, in my case, I feel as though I have missed out by not having children- and also will I feel I have missed out as friends around me start to have grandchildren.

I don’t know the answer yet to the subject of grandchildren, but I can honestly day that in regards to not having had children I do not feel as though I have been deprived. Nor was it a conscious decision to not have them- my life took me down a path where I did not meet the right person at the right time , and combined with a period of bad health the opportunity passed me by. Perhaps I was lucky that I didn’t have a strong maternal instinct, or perhaps it was a case of not missing what you’ve never had.

 I have always led a very full life and have always felt happy around friends with children.
Many women choose to remain childless, for others (like myself) , it is just a result of circumstance, for others being childless can be heartbreaking and can follow miscarriages and many rounds of failed attempts of IVF. To be Child free is not always a conscious choice. Although I do think if women recognise that they don’t want children it is less selfish to remain child free than bring up a child who is not wanted.

There are occasions when watching programmes such as ‘Who do you think you are’ when it crosses my mind that no future generations will be seeking me out in their family tree, but in terms of my life and how I live it today, I have no regrets.

Would I take advantage of advances in fertility treatments and contemplate having children now? For me, the answer would have to be no. Although  I could be considered by some to be selfish either way!

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. julie

    March 2, 2011

    I would have adored children in my 20,30 maybe even 40’s.They never happened !I’ve encountered the your selfish attitude before and it was very hurtful. However to be pregnant at 55 for me would be a disaster.I got my children the same way as I got my husband… second hand !Those babies are now having babies of thier own and I have to say they are hard work.I love them all as if they were mine and would die for each and every one of them.But do I hanker after my own DNA walking around ,not anymore, that ship sailed and I was at the airport.
    Far more selfish are the ones who have children and don’t want them or expect them to look after them in old age .

  2. Ellie Wilkie

    December 4, 2011

    There was a lady of 61 who, with the wonders of modern science had a baby. When her friends came to visit the baby she told them they had to wait ’til it cried before they could see it. When they asked why she said “Because I cant remember where I put It!!!”

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