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Motherhood: Today, Someday, or Never?
The cover story of this week’s New York magazine gets personal with a group of women whose definition of someday is totally outside the norm. They’re older moms who waited to have children, and then were lucky enough that reproductive technology (egg donors, egg freezing, surrogacy) enabled them to become mothers at 49, 50 and 54. Writer Lisa Miller, who had her own baby at age 40, explores why the sight of gray-haired, post-menopausal women chasing toddlers around the playground (or holding a pregnant belly, or breast-feeding, as in the photos that accompany the story) make other people--doctors, younger parents, grandparents, new moms under 50 but still considered to be of "advanced maternal age"--express almost hostile disapproval.
Miller stokes the controversy for the first part of the article, but then suddenly switches tack and presents research that shows that, physical and mental exhaustion aside, there may be advantages to having a baby at the same age one's friends are becoming grandparents. This both-sides-of-the-story method of reporting resonated with me. In complicated dilemmas (and parenthood is full of ethical and emotional quagmires), it’s easy to choose sides, but it’s much harder to show why something could be wrong at the same time that it’s absolutely right. I finished the article feeling just as confused as ever about my own baby dilemma—but also enriched from hearing about the complexity of choices.
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