Having Babies in Midlife

Written by Jane Brooks

Just because you're older and wiser doesn't mean a "midlife baby" isn't without its share of obstacles.  Learn how one couple handles the challenge of midlife parenthood.

Irene Nemiroff was 41 and life was good. Divorced when her son was a preschooler, she built a satisfying career managing a law firm. She enjoyed a loving relationship with a man 22 years her senior. They traveled frequently. Nemiroff was content with the direction of her life.

Then she got pregnant. Shock turned to incredulity when she learned that she was having twins.

Advice for Older Parents
Find a support group or befriend other older parents with whom you will feel comfortable.
Don't ignore reality: Be sure to have a will and name guardians.
Reach out to younger parents: Don't assume they aren't interested in socializing with you. Parenting provides a common ground.

Today, Irene, 48, and her husband, 70, are the parents of active 7-year-old boys. Her older son, 20, is a doting big brother. Irene and Milton traipse to nearby softball fields instead of to Europe.

Irene recognizes the pluses and minuses in her situation. The financial hardship and lack of emotional support that she experienced as a young, single parent are absent, making motherhood less stressful. She's more decisive regarding the twins than she was with her older son. On the other hand, working full time and raising toddlers in the midst of an early menopause was exhausting. But she believes that maturity outweighs physical shortcomings.

Milton has grandchildren older than the twins. Of parenting later in life, he says, "The first time, I was more devoted to building my career. This time, it's a different story. Financially, it's easier.

"The twins have been the joy of my life. They've energized me and made me feel young again."

As assistant coach of the Little League team, Nemiroff admits that the boys can wear him out, but "it's a good tired."

According to Cheryl Borck-Hadley, LCSW, a psychotherapist in Bryn Mawr, Pa., the "second-time around" parenting experience is unique for each family. For example, an unplanned midlife pregnancy can be stressful, evoking ambivalence. "Older couples may need counseling to reach a consensus on whether or not to continue the pregnancy," says Borck-Hadley.

Raising kids is a challenge any time. It may take more energy for an older parent to keep up with a toddler, but as Irene Nemiroff says, "You don't think about it. You just do it because you love your kids."

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