Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just Curious: Too old to be open to more children?

I received a heartfelt email from a reader the other day (let's call her Jane), and I think it's worth a discussion. So, with her permission:

Hello Leila,

I stop by and read your blog often. Your last post about the air conditioning man getting fixed is what has me writing to you.

Do you have a post about married couples struggling with one spouse not wanting more children because of age?

My husband, who is 46, is adamant about not wanting anymore children because he says he's too old. We aren't intimate anymore because he respects that I don't want to use birth control, but is serious about no more children. He always says he would be 65 years old by the time the child turned 18 and moved out. (Not that we even want our almost 16yo to consider moving out at 18!!)

I am 41 years old. Sad that my fertility has become a horrible subject in our life. There was a time I couldn't get pregnant. It took 7 years to get pregnant a 3rd time. We are blessed to have 5 children now.

I would LOVE to see a thread and the comments from your readers about AGE. My husband has been reading everything I send to him. He isn't a practicing Catholic. This issue really has turned him against the teachings of the Church.

BTW, we are the oldest in our circle of friends. Everyone is under 40 years old and cannot relate to what my husband is going through. I'd love to read how families have dealt with the age issue. 

Jane, I'll just throw out my thoughts and then open it up to others...

My husband is also 46, and our youngest is two years old. I was just shy of my 43rd birthday when I had him. It's funny, because back in the day (the pre-Church days), we had decided to have our kids (three, max) in our twenties, so that we could be "free" by our forties. We expected to travel and "have fun".

I certainly do think of my age and count the number of years I will attain by "this child's wedding" or "that child's graduation", and I wonder if I will be around long enough to see all of them grown and with kids of their own. It's weird how life works: Our oldest children have very young parents, and our youngest kids are going to have old parents. The "old parents" thing has bothered me less and less as time has passed, however, especially as I see that no child is guaranteed a parent who will always be around, young or old! I know too many young parents -- with young children -- who have passed away. Life is fragile and having children is always a risk. The fact that my kids have life at all is a good thing to me, and, please God, we will all end up in Heaven together. The eternal truths and implications of all our lives are so much more important than whatever happens on this earth, which is utterly unpredictable anyway.

One of the many great aspects of being in my "little Catholic bubble" locally is that many of my friends have had and are having babies well into their forties. It's normal around these parts, and no one bats an eye. My husband is a youngster compared to some of his buddies who have had children born to them past the age of 50. We will not be the oldest parents at our youngest child's high school graduation, which may seem hard to believe in other cultural circles.

I can't say we are actively trying for any new children (in fact, we aren't), but we certainly are always open to new life in our marriage.

I do want to add that it makes me incredibly sad that your husband has gone to the extreme and cut off all intimacy. That cannot be good and healthy for a marriage, and a careful application of Natural Family Planning would be ideal here.

I am curious to hear what others have to say in response to Jane's questions and concerns. Take it away!



  1. Jane, I'm so sorry that your fertility is being viewed in such a negative light. I'm a twenty-something IFer, but I have a few things to share that sort of apply to this situation. I have a friend (the youngest in his family) who was born when his father was 60. He was very close to his dad, and up until he passed away at 85, his dad would always tell people that having a son so late in life kept him young. I know they were both thankful to have each other for those 25 years.

    Another thing I wanted to share is that my parents stopped at three children when my mom was in her early 30s. I'm not sure why they never had more; it's something I've never asked. And now that they're empty nesters, they really are doing all of that traveling that they always thought they'd do. They're seeing the world and loving it. They also haven't stopped being our parents, they just parent us differently now that I'm married and my siblings have moved out.

    Just a couple of different perspectives for you. I'll say a prayer for you and your husband.


  2. A much discussed topic in our house; this May I will be 39 and my husband will be 47: he is also concerned about seeing any children born to us into adulthood: no answers ~ much sympathy.

  3. We are 43 and 53, and our youngest is 1. My oldest is 23. The children keep him young, and they keep me sane.

    I second the fertility awareness methods. It taught me how to communicate fully with my husband.

    I remember Fr. Tad explained how using contraception was like putting plugs in your ears and then trying to really listen to your spouse. That was powerful to me.

  4. Jane, I'm really sorry. When couples aren't on the same page in regard to being "open to children" it is a terrible cross to bear. Since I live in Leila's real life bubble, I will tell you that having children in one's forties truly, as she reports, is common (I was one of them). I concur with her advice to talk to your husband about NFP or another fertility monitoring method that would restore your husband's confidence in "timing" so that marital intimacy can resume. As his wife, and from a practical standpoint, I would also try to help him do the "things he wants to do" now so that he doesn't see children as a hindrance to those desires. In other words, if he wants to travel, I'd get a sitter and make it happen. If he wants to golf - give him Saturday mornings. If he wants dates or time alone with you - arrange it. In the end, God knows what (and how many children) we can handle and we ALL have to trust in that. Most importantly, pray for him. I've seen great conversions in men from the prayers of their wives.

  5. I'm interested reading this letter. I'm grateful to God that my husband is a willing participant in our NFP lifestyle, but after our fifth child was born last year and he turned 40 three months later, my husband, too, thinks we should be "done" trying to achieve pregnancy due to his age. Of course, I am two years younger than he is and have at least 7 more fertile years...not that God would grant us a blessing, but my mother started perimenopause around 46 and completed menopause around 52 or so.

    I was discussing with a mentor of mine (actually the wife of the couple that taught us NFP!) and mentioned how some discord had arisen because I don't like the idea of issuing a blanket statement that we're "done" with this much time left in the fertile spectrum. While I understand it may not be God's will for us to have another child, I also worry about using NFP with a selfish mentality. Granted, I am not ready to try and achieve pregnancy as our youngest is only 9 months old...but I know the time will come when he is 18 months old and I can't be certain that I will not be longing for God to fill my womb again.

    I agree with Leila in that there are no guarantees as it is. Young parents get brain tumors or are in car accidents or a number of other tragedies that remove them from the lives of their children long before this world is ready to see them go. Trust in God is a critical part in all of this. It's unfortunate that the writer's husband is not on board with her and the Church in this regard.

    God may be calling her to some sort of sacrifice in this regard? Or maybe she need only pray for the Holy Spirit to work on her husband's heart. It's hard to know, it's hard to trust...but it's all we can do sometimes.

  6. Jane, in our case, the roles are reversed. I am 45, my wife almost 30, and we have two little girls, 3 and 4 1/2 years old, whom we both love dearly. I am of course aware of my age, and I'm not actively hoping for another child, but I wish at least my wife would practice NFP instead of using a contraceptive, and remain more open in principle to life. We're both Catholics (she a convert), but for her the faith is mostly about her faith in God, less so the specifics of Catholic dogma. My hope, which I think may be materializing slowly, is for her to abandon the contraceptive. If she were to become pregnant again, then that is God's wish, and He knows best. Certainly most children of older fathers will tell you they were rather born than not...

    So, my point is - try to respect you husband's point of view, while gently pointing out other perspectives. Prayers also work miracles (though not always the ones we expect).

  7. I agree with Dayns that making life with many/more children attractive as opposed to always postponing activities goes a long way... My DH loves to backpack so he goes on a week-long trip every summer (now with our 2 oldest sons, 20 and 18)... Also we see that my parents, who had 8 children, the youngest when they were both 43, have plenty of time to travel and enjoy their "empty-nest" now that they are in their mid 60's, in fact they ate sometimes "lonely" because many of my sibs are so busy with their own lives/families... Finally, look at it practically, having another child in the next 2-3 years only "delays" your husbands "plans" another 2-3 years! It is not like you have no children and are starting from "square one", you will be parenting the children you have for the next 20 years, seriously, what is 1 more??? PS my youngest brother said he always thought it was cool he had such older siblings (I was 18 when he was born) and said it was nice mom and dad were more "relaxed" by the time he came along...


  8. My husband and I haven't reached this stage yet, but my husband's mother was in her early 40's when she had her two youngest children: my husband and his little sister. So obviously I am always so thankful that they remained open to life even as they became "older"! They are in their 70s now, but still remain very active because they have young grandchildren who insist that they be so. I know they consider both of their youngest children to be blessings despite having possibly been the oldest parents at some school functions and I am, of course, so grateful for their sacrifice :)

  9. I don't have the age problem. I have the number problem that Leila mentioned.

    I sympathize (or empathize) with your problem. It's the dark side of a "mixed" marriage (and not just denominations but beliefs). But since I'm not in my forties, I haven't any advice to offer.

    I pray a lot to St. Monica on these matters. So I'll make sure to add you on the list as well.

    1. Whoops, thanks, I should have clarified! My numbers problem isn't the number of children, it's "how old will I be when..." Sorry!

    2. Just clarified in the post. But your point is valid, thanks!

  10. I had secondary IF at age 33. Now at age 37, I gave birth to number 5. I was more tired during the end of my pregnancy, but the actual birth was my easiest one yet.

    I got really brain washed by my doctors that giving birth over age 35 was either "dangerous or impossible." So the ease of conception and healthy outcome for both Mom and baby was a huge surprise.

    It's crazy for me now to think that we really might have 1-4 more kids in the next ten years. For so long, I thought we'd only be blessed with 3 kids.

    My own perspective as a faithful really changed when we moved into a more serious Catholic community. When I lived in a highly secular city, we barely knew anyone with 4 kids. Now I live in the country, there are two families I know who had kids after age 45. My daughter's Godmother had 10 kids. This month she adopted number 11! She is planning her 23 year old daughter's wedding the same time as this adoption.

    Being around all of this pro-life witness in action has made me more confident to keep staying open to life.

  11. He always says he would be 65 years old by the time the child turned 18 and moved out.

    And why does he think this is a bad thing?

  12. Hmm. As an infertile adoptive mother, this is interesting, I (desperately) want more children, but we literally have to move to be approved :(. I will be 37 this summer and hubby just turned 38; we do worry about the same things (how old we will be when..., will we be healthy, will we be alive). Plus adoption is so expensive, unfortunately. I *wish* ours was simply a matter of NFP or not, but there are so many other issues.

    Children are such a blessing from God, and having five is amazing to me :). I don't have words of wisdom for Jane, except pray for your husband. Only God can change his mind, and praying is something you can "do" to contribute to the process. Blessings to you in this...

  13. I'm be thrilled if I were able to get married and have a baby at my age! I am in my mid-40s, and let's just say my body runs like a clock. All signs and signals are a go. I think feeling "too old" is an attitude. If you are "too old" to have a baby, then you won't conceive one. Not to say if you don't conceive you are too old. Too old is a cultural thing. I've heard of women ten years my junior complain about "advanced maternal age." If a woman is ovulating then she is not too old. And what's with men complaining about their age? They do carry the physical burden of pregnancy.

  14. My husband feels this way, too, and so do I a little bit,though neither of us quite to the extreme that the letter writer's husband does. I think there is a difference between actively seeking pregnancy in your 40's, and being open to pregnancy in your 40's. And this isn't at all to criticize either position--simply to say that there is a difference. One consideration is the age you will be when your children are a certain age, but to be honest, another big factor is how much different a 40 year old, staying up with littles, driving teenagers around, reached a fat plateau body feels. Throw in the "advanced maternal age" thing, and I find it difficult to seek pregnancy, while I have no problem accepting it. I'd be thrilled, actually--but I'm not aiming for it, either. If I was getting pregnant for the first time in my 40's, it would be different for me, and I know lots of women who start when they're older and do just fine.

  15. Corrections: If you are biologically too old to conceive, you will not.
    Obviously, men do NOT carry the baby during pregnancy.

    My mom was 40 when I was born. I remember going on a hike with her and could barely keep up!

  16. I could barely keep up with my older mom. I better stop typing.

  17. "Jane", I would love to have another child even though both my husband and I are 44. I highly advise you learn NFP. My husband is also very unreceptive to further children but we still have intimate relations, just not after day 4, which is 2 days earlier than the most extreme day 6 rule for NFP. I thought this was extreme before reading that your husband's course of total abstination. This is because our 4th baby was conceived on day 8. Unless there are existing health issues, I don't think 40s is too late to have a child. Having a child to nurse and change diapers affects what you are able to do with the other children though. I was never a lifestyle decision-making person. I love children and if my husband were with me we would be adopting or opening up our own orphanage let alone having at least one more, if our fertility cooperated. My friend recently had a baby at 41 and nothing like experiencing the joy of a newborn to rev up the desire to have another. My husband is somewhat immune to that though. It is a joy to have friends with babies and toddlers for the drought between now and when the grandchildren, God willing, arrive.

  18. I sped through the comments due to time, but I wanted to add that I was 45 when our seventh child was born. Like Leila, we are the younger parents to our older children (our oldest turning 25 this month)and the older parents with our younger children (the youngest being 3). After our third, I also had secondary infertility. It took five years for baby number four to come along. I just turned 49 two weeks ago, and I would more than welcome another. My husband is 50. I was so hoping I might have another soon after our seventh was born.

    I do think about age, and I do have my concerns. However, right now, in the present, I know I am a better mother with age. It is easier to let the small stuff go. It is easier to just enjoy and have fun with my kids. At my age, I am not particularly concerned with what other mamas think. And, with older children around to help out and babysit, my husband and I can do things if we like.

    There are no guarantees in this life, and we have had some very trying times in our family... but having children, especially the little ones (but All of them) makes those difficulties easier to cope with.

    My friend Leila knows I don't typically comment, but as an older mama, I felt I wanted to. +JMJ+

  19. Well, I am still in what society considers prime child-bearing years (31), but we are only starting on #1 right now! Thanks to prolonged singlehood and infertility, 31 was as early as I could start a family at all. My hubby is younger (2 years), so that is nice I guess, but as a woman I feel the clock ticking. I've always wanted at least 4 children but always envisioned them spaced farther apart than what I feel will happen if we do try for 4. The issues surrounding age can go on and on. It's hard to accept that a) We are all mere mortals and time is limited (and we don't know the day or hour) and b) our bodies do change over time and fertility does have limits that may or may not respect our visions for our lives.

    That said, I have to agree with Leila's mention of using a natural method. Even if you decide not to have more children, intimacy does not have to be cut off! That is so hard on a marriage, and the Church certainly doesn't teach that one must cut off intimacy to plan your family effectively. In fact, the Church values physical intimacy as a means of bonding with one another. As women, even those with very healthy fertility, we are *infertile* most of the time - God made us that way for a reason. :)

    While I certainly can't answer what age any given couple should stop actively trying for a new baby (I really think it depends on the couple), I am glad you brought this up as we will *all* have to face that big question at some point: "Are we 'done'?" It's not one I look forward to after waiting so long just to START, and spouses will not always be on the same page as that is human nature - we just aren't going to be in perfect union with each other all the time. Ideally, spouses will work to respect each other and prayerfully discern what God is calling them to do. I like the idea of getting involved with a support network of friends who - whether or not you decide to try for more children - will support your marriage vocation and be a source of strength during difficult seasons.

  20. I AM OPEN to as many children as I can have. I am 41 1/2 and expecting my second born child in 3 weeks. We conceived 7 children but have only 1 child here in Earth with us. My issue is:

    I suffer from obesity, insulin resistance, recurrent miscarriage and thyroid problems. My energy is not what I wished it could be...but I have an amazing husband who will be 50 this year and I wouldn't want to deny any child the chance to be his son or daughter!

    I sincerely do not think about living long enough to see my children's children or to see my children move into their first home or whatever.

    My parents had me in their late 20's. My father died by the time he was 35 and my mother got cancer at 45 and died a few years later leaving me parentless by my 20's. My husband's father had a heart attack and died when my husband was in his early 20's as well.

    And, we know many many people who get divorced when their children are in their teens or middle school years which basically leaves the children without a family at age 12, 16, etc...

    Of course, it would great to live to see our children turn at least 30 years old...our secret plan is to encourage them to marry young and have kids right away!

    To be closed to life just because one hits ones 40's...to me, this sounds very out of step with what we now see are current trends in longevity and life span.

    40 is the new 25.

    50 is the new 35.

    People are living until their 90's and many until 100 plus.

    So, I think some thinking about this should be part of the thought process as well.

  21. I am really loving the comments, so thank you all! And here is one from a friend, who cannot post, so I am cutting and pasting for her:

    I agree that it is not healthy for their marriage to completely abstain from marital intercourse! As for your question, “Are you ever too old to be open to life?” My response would be no. As a 43 year old mother that is blessed to have 4 beautiful children here with me, 3 little angels with our Lord and another beautiful baby girl (Gianna Rose) on her way I feel that unless there is a medical reason why you should not have another child, you are never too old. God knew what He was doing when He created our biological time clocks. We stop being fertile for a reason. Does that mean if you are 50 and still fertile that you are still called to be open to life, I would say it depends on what God lays on your heart. We have the blessing of NFP if we feel at the moment God is calling us to space, we can or lays on our heart that he wants to bless us with another life, He can. (We have used NFP for the last 18 years and none of our children were “a surprise” as so many ask) So no I don’t think you can be too old if God puts on your heart that He wants to bless you, welcome His gift with open arms. I believe that God will let you know when you are too old.

  22. "He always says he would be 65 years old by the time the child turned 18 and moved out."

    He's gong to be (God willing) 65 no matter what. The presence of child certainly can't impact that reality.

  23. TW, thanks for bringing up one more great point! One of my greatest joys was having my two oldest kids be the godparents for my youngest child!! So special!

    Loving all these comments, guys.

  24. WOW, I am super inspired by all these comments. I'm only 21 years old and not getting married until next summer, but I've already started learning about NFP and further exploring the Catholic teachings on sexuality...and now after reading all these amazing comments, my resolution to be "OPEN to as many children as God wishes to bless me with" has been super-duper reinforced! I'm feeling great and I can't wait to get married and be blessed with new life! Thanks to all of you amazing, courageous women that commented. I really appreciate this post.

  25. Jane, I know how you feel. I was 35 when I had my youngest daughter, many years ago, and at hat time 35 was considered really, really ancient to give birth. My husband (a non Catholic) refused to consider having any more children because "it's too worrying at your age" so he went off and had a vasectomy. It broke my heart

  26. I'm not Catholic (but am an evangelical Christian) and I think it is sad that the husband is not open to more children, no matter his age ... but what I think is sadder is the fact that this couple is no longer intimate because of the issue. Surely this is a problem? I think there are verses about not being apart unless for prayer and fasting? I am not sure what the solution is, but I think it could ruin the marriage ... I am not suggesting birth control, but surely somehow there needs to be a compromise on both sides. Just interesting to me anyway.

    1. This is late to comment, but for the future if anyone reads these old comments: Actually the Catholic answer to an extreme situation, like for example, the mother has a health condition where pregnancy would endanger her life, was to completely abstain for the rest of the marriage, or generously take the risk. I have studied this extensively using historical documents and stories from Catholics who remember. NFP did not become an option until Pius XII mentioned it in an address to midwives because women were starting to want to contracept. It is not doctrine, dogma, nor infallible. Let's not forget that the Catholic Faith...the only True Religion, is supernatural. So a couple abstaining in marriage was seen as a means of sanctification, and from what I have read, spouses were sanctified by this.It's hard to understand this from a purely natural level, because of course, these are supernatural graces we receive. NFP is not practiced by Traditional Catholics who know their Faith and the slippery slope of NFP. It's the mystery of suffering, which I find so many Catholics don't really understand, especially when it comes to marriage and children.So we get a lot of NFP use to avoid some perceived suffering. And it's all perceived, because none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

  27. Oh Jane, I'll pray for you. I've got some insight about your situation, but it is simply too raw & personal to discuss so publicly. If you would like to email me (my4kidsma@gmail.com), I would be happy to share with you. Peace.

  28. I have a 10 year old, a seven year old and I'm pregnant with my 3rd. I'm 42 and my husband will be 48 when this one is born. We considered the "age" aspect but were open to it anyway. We were married later in life (I was 30 and he was 35) and sometimes this is just how these things work out.
    I'm sorry that you both aren't on the same page. Perhaps talking to your priest or a counselor will help this situation. For him to shut down all marital relations isn't healthy for either of you. Also, maybe taking a class in NFP will open things back up in your marriage. I wish you the best and hope that you two can find some common ground.

  29. A long time ago, a friend of ours said he looked forward to the day when he and his wife stopped having children so they could get started on their life. I wondered what he thought having children was, if not really living!!. I married fairly late, 32, and had our first child close to the age of 33. We went on to have six more children- ALL SONS. The last three were born when I was 41, 43 and 45. My mother always said that having children later in life keeps you young and she was right. In my life, a great influence was a friend who had little money but great faith to have a large family. Having friends who consider children a blessing and are open to life can be very inspiring for couples struggling with the numbers and age issue.I very much hope that your husband can realize that age truly is just a number.

  30. By using phrases such as "we were married later in life (I was 30 and he was 35)" and " I married fairly late, 32" just adds to the myth of being too old to have children. Since when is being in your early 30s considered late and later in life? I mean that would be late in life if you're going to die at age 40! Maybe you just felt old or were comparing yourself to your friends or still reading Tiger Beat. I don't even know if that magazine is still published.

  31. I don't comment much but this post's comments really inspired me. We're struggling with infertility again (secondary) and it gives me such hope to hear these women talk about going through it for even 5 or 7 years and then miraculously having several more children. I really want more children, and it helps to know I need to be patient and wait and pray and listen to God's will in the matter. I am learning!

  32. Ok. First off, I have my own personal story. Personally, my husband and I cannot have biological children so even though we are in our mid thirties, we don't have to worry about making any decisions in regards to trying for more natural children. That said, growing our family (through adoption) is a topic that we will discuss at all seasons of our life and if we feel that God is calling us to grow our family, we will follow His Will, no matter what our age. Right now, we have 2 children: 6 months and 22 months and we do not feel God calling us to pursue another adoption at this time.

    Secondly, I am the second oldest of 7 children. My youngest brother is 22 YEARS younger than I am. He was conceived while my mother was already in pre-menopause. Their youngest at the time was 10 years old and they thought they were done, although they NEVER used birth control. My dad was 52 and my Mom was 46. They just didn't feel God calling them to grow their family. Sometimes God doesn't always let us in on His Plans! LOL! My bother John was always meant to be my brother. God knew this from the beginning of time. My parents did not do anything contrary to God's Will and thus God gave them this blessing, even though not planned for.
    Their reaction to this blessing. My mom cried and cried and cried. She was upset because she felt like she was too old to parent another baby. She felt frustrated because all her Catholic friends had their kids in the age range of her oldest 6 children and now she was going to start with nursing and diapers and potty training all over again...ALONE! None of her friends were having babies anymore.
    Sometimes God's Will for us is NOT what we want, but it is what He wants for us.
    My brother is 11 years old now and my Dad is in his 60's and my mom on her late 50's. It is exhausting for them. They don't have any other children at home. My brother is being raised as an "only child", which is hard because he doesn't have any one to play with. This has affected our whole family. My parents don't get to enjoy their grandchildren as much as they would like because they are still parenting a young child and have commitments to him. Thus, us older siblings don't get the help from grandparents that we would like.
    I do not think that anyone should use birth control or get sterilized EVER, no matter what. I just wanted to let you know that sometimes parenting at an older age is hard.

  33. Jane,

    Has your husband read anything on the Theology of the Body? I think most people who are against Church teaching simply don't understand it.

    I used contraception from the age of 18 to my early 30's, then had fertility issues (go figure). Our first child, born when I was 34, had a rare disorder called Marfan Syndrome, and died at 13mos after heart surgery. Thankfully, we had two more children in the next four years (all with medical help since I didn't understand the Church's teaching at the time). However, I still wanted more children, but my husband was concerned that we would have another child with special needs. He mentioned getting 'broken,' but didn't because I didn't support it. At age 40 I finally gave up trying to convince him. We were still intimate without worry because my fertility issues gave us a sense of 'security,' so my situation is different in that regard.

    I recall showering one day, praying about wanting more children, knowing my husband didn't, then turning it over to God, saying that if he wanted us to have more children, through adoption or fostering, I was trusting that he would bring them to us. I began thinking about all the things I would do, now that I wouldn't be having another baby. Going back to school to become a teacher, traveling once the kids were older, not waking in the middle of the night, going where I wanted, when I wanted.

    Three months later, after weeks of nausea (I knew at age 40 I was going through the change), I finally took a pregnancy test and was shocked to see it turn rapidly positive (I was almost through the first trimester). Our beautiful Julia was born within a few days of my 41rst birthday (my husband was 46 then). Needless to say, we can't imagine life without her.

    Shortly after learning we were expecting, I was walking out of church and saw a basket with audio tapes of Janet Smith's talk "Contraception; Why Not." I thought to myself, "Well, now I guess I need to know 'why not' since I'm 40 and expecting." When I listened to that tape, it all made perfect sense, just as every Church teaching has made perfect sense once I bothered to find out what the teaching actually was, and not what the secular culture told me it was.

    Since Julia was born over 11 years ago, I earned my MAEd (after she entered kindergarten) and this year, at age 53, began teaching Math, Science, and religion at her Catholic school. She is one of my students! We don't take expensive vacations, our house needs repairs we can't afford, and our retirement plan is 'work till we die,' but we don't regret a thing.

    My advise would be to pray for your husband's change of heart; St. Joseph is my go-to guy for all husband issues. Also pray for acceptance. As painful as it is to long for more children, your marriage really must come first and respect for your husband's feelings has to be a priority. While this may seem unfair (that you defer to his wishes, rather than him deferring to yours), it is simply the task of the more aware spouse to do so. That being said, I strongly urge you both to get NFP training for the sake of your marriage. Restoring the intimacy in your relationship is likely to change many things.

    I will pray for you!

  34. I would think not having intimate relations is a dangerous thing for your marital relationship. I agree with the others that you should learn more about NFP, even being overly cautious there are still "safe" times to be intimate together without the use of artificial contraception.
    Pray for your husband . A wifes prayers are strong.

  35. Interesting that this was the current topic. Tonight at my parish we will begin a two night talk by Fr Brian Mullady,O.P. on Theology of The Body.
    In my pre-understanding-enbracing-living the truth/vs the dark days, I would not have even been excited/interested about his talk.
    I am envious when I read about the readers with large families. I mourn the children I should have brought forth into this world to accompany our daughters.
    The reason?- we were Cafeteria Catholics who feel trap to the "belief" that we had "reasons" to limit our family size, we had bought a house, were over extended financially, I had very difficult deliveries, then later husband had his problems. Now we are separated , and I am in peri-menopause so it appears there is no hope for the children I crave.
    denying ourself more children was the wrong solution.

  36. Lena - First, it's "late" if your mother started menopause around 36 like mine did (PLEASE do not perpetuate the myth that fertility lasts until 45+ for every woman! It simply does not and many women suffer for it. The 20's are the "surest bet" for fertility. Even healthy women's fertility can start to decline in the 30's). I was very stressed about this reality given my maternal family history - so yes, getting married at 29-almost-30th bday felt very "late" considering my desire for a large family.

    I also think when people refer to the 30's as "late" they are not just referring to their age but their wait. Being single (for some, especially those who feel ready for marriage in their early 20's due to their religion/faith( can be a very hard cross. I had 10 years of heartbreak and dating under my belt by age 29 when most of my peers had been already been married for years and having children (in my region, it's common to marry before 30 unlike some regions).

    1. I think a lot of it has to do with family genes most women on my mother's side still had cycles into their early 50's

    2. I was thinking the same thing about marrying "late". While hindsight always makes things easier, men and women cannot be certain about fertility until they are "trying". So if you worry at all about fertility, and anyone can have trouble there, then 30's can seem late to start figuring things out.

      And I was also thinking about the wait. If you are someone who desired marriage from a young age and did not buy into the prolonged adolescent culture, then waiting 10 or 15 years, even if you are only 35, can seem like forever, hence marrying "late". So I agree :). Not trying to perpetuate a myth of 30's as old, but I understand why it can feel late. And, if you desire a large family, it is hard not to focus on the lost 20's. Sometimes we just have to trust God there.

    3. Everything seems longer when you are younger. Ten years seems like twenty, and now ten years seems like five!

      I know all about the long wait except I've decided not to wait. Waiting implies sitting still. What if the bus never comes and you're sitting there at the grubby bus stop when you could be going for a walk in the park and enjoying the flowers?

      Hopefully the twenties are not lost if you're single. Hopefully you are growing in some other way if not growing your family.

      As much as I would like to share the walk in the park with someone else, I am still enjoying the flowers.

    4. Now, I remember the LOUD TICKING of the biological clock when I was in my 30s. It doesn't seem so obnoxious now.

    5. Lena, it's great that you didn't "wait" through your 20's. But it's not an either/or thing. Mourning the loss of the 20's for family building doesn't mean that the 20's were wasted with waiting around. Of course not a single year is lost in our lives when we know God is working in us. He does work in us through suffering sometimes, though, and it is okay to acknowledge that suffering. Sometimes when people dismiss the suffering of waiting for marriage and family, regardless of age, it comes off like they are belittling the real suffering there. Like somehow suffering in one's 20's over marriage family implies that they were doing it wrong -- waiting around and wasting their time and not living life. The loss related to that desire is a big deal, even if our lives are certainly valuable and wonderful in other ways! So while one area of life may have been full of suffering in waiting for marriage and family to start, another area, like you said, can be full of growth enjoying the flowers :). It can be both ways, since life is often very complex!

  37. I find it really baffling that your husband has cut off all intimacy, and if I am reading correctly, he is not not on board with NFP but respects your decision to not use birth control? Most men would pout and be really agitated about that situation. So I am wondering, how is his health? Does he feel old? Men can go through male menopause, maybe you can seek out a doctor who is knowledgeable in bio identical hormone replacements. Is he in good physical shape? Maybe he is worried about financially supporting children in old age? Maybe he is worried about your health? Are you in good physical shape? I think I would have to know the exact reasons why my husband would be willing to cut off all intimacy. To me it seems like he might have some legit reasons that could be worked out. And if it can't be worked out, then how about adoption? There are so many older children that need to be adopted! My parents are just over 50 and I can't imagine them taking care of an infant, they get exhausted taking care of my two girls, ages 4 and 5. Not everyone feels the same in their mid 50s and just because we live longer doesn't mean we are healthy in old age.

    the "as long as you're ovulating you're not too old to have kids" is not a good argument. Girls can start ovulating at age 12, does that mean it's a good age to get married and have children? Obviously not.

    Your husband could have good reasons to not get you pregnant at his age. and maybe if you found out the exact reasons you could work it out. Maybe he doesn't even know the exact reasons himself, but he obviously has some strong feelings about it if he is willing to cut off all intimacy.

  38. A couple of thoughts:

    Just a clarification (because it can be confusing) that not all medical infertility interventions are immoral (as we see from the Catholic bloggers on my blogroll!). As long as a medical intervention/surgery/treatment is bringing the body to its healthy state so that a child can be conceived via the sexual relations (marital embrace!) of the husband and wife, then the treatment is moral. Any "treatment" or medical intervention which creates a child outside of the marital act, is immoral. A child has a right to be conceived by an act of lovemaking by his/her parents, and not in a lab or by a third (or fourth) party.

    Also, I think I would say that as long as a married couple is still fertile, and a wife still ovulating, then it's never "too old" to have a baby, strictly speaking. God instituted marriage for procreation (and bonding of spouses -- but sex can never be separated from procreation, which is its purpose). That is why sex is only proper in marriage -- because it is the mechanism which makes children! So, it may be that a couple's poor health or infirmity is a reason to postpone pregnancy, even indefinitely, no matter how young or old, but never would it only be because of an "age" that is reached. (The key is "married", and we would not want a twelve year old to be married, even if she is fertile. Since sex is only for marriage, this would not be an issue for a Catholic twelve-year-old. No sex = no babies.)

    Hope that makes sense?

  39. This whole topic is very difficult for me. I terribly regret having my first at 32 and last at 37. I wish I started ten years earlier. It is my constant fantasy. I am utterly parazlysed by this guilt and fear somedays...and sadness. It has made me very angry at liberal ideology, my former friends and even some relatives...I realize I am unfairly blaming them for my own sins, but it is there all the time...I pray to be in the present and enjoy what I have and be a force of love and good in the world...I pray this often. When I watch young people making the same mistakes I did (well, most of college-educated Massachusetts these days) it kills me.

  40. Mary, I am so grateful that in spite of the guilt and fear, that you do speak out on this issue! I think you are the "warning" to the younger girls (like you implied, the "enlightened, educated" feminists who have no clue), and I hope you never stop speaking out. If just one or two listens to you, it will be worth it. I know that several of the old guard feminists have come to regret their earlier "enlightened" stances later in life, and are doing what they can to warn the younger generation.


  41. I pointed out about the 12 year old, because it shows that discernment is needed when it comes to having children at any age. You can't just rely on your biology. And i said "does that mean it's a good age to get married and have children?" I wasn't implying that a 12 year old have children outside of marriage. In other countries 12 year olds get married, and they use the reasoning of " you're ovulating so you must be ready for marriage"

    You can't just rely on your biology, which is what is implied when commenters say " you're still ovulating so you're not too old" We're not animals. And like I said, I think the husband could have very good reasons to not have more children and those reasons COME with age, like health reasons. I don't think a man would cut off all intimacy with his wife just because of his "age" Give the guy some credit. What if a 78year old man decided after his wife died to marry a young woman of child bearing age and start a family with her? Would that be wise? Should he use the reasons of " my body is still able to reproduce, so I should actively seek that out" ? I'd call that selfishness and lack of self control. I'm not saying that all people when they reach a certain age should abstain from sex, but I do think you need to examine some things, through prayer and fasting. if you want to have more kids or your first kid you should examine yourself. Am I a good weight, is my cholesterol good, am I in good physical shape? How are my finances? And if you find some concerns, address them. Get in better physical shape, eat healthier, cut back on your spending so you can support young children during retirement. Be responsible. We had two young children one year apart, and we waited to have a third because of my health, and finances. And the finances part came with my husbands AGE. Not too many 26 year olds can support a family of 5 with a stay at home wife. Age is a factor! And those finances were a legit issue, we are pregnant with our 3rd right now, and we live in a small two bedroom home that we rent, and we have one very old car. We didn't wait until we lived in a 2500sq ft home with a brand new mini van, but we did examine our finances and determined we could not have another child without going on govt assistance, which would not be responsible. We used discernment. I didn't just say "well I'm ovulating let's go for it" This husband obviously has some concerns, and we shouldn't assume they are not legitimate concerns just because they come with age. Telling her husband " you're never too old, and the wife is still ovulating and many women have children in their 50s" isn't going address his concerns.

  42. You make valid points, Bartley's, but I don't think anyone here was saying "well I'm ovulating so let's go for it" no matter what. After all, we wouldn't be learning about NFP if that were the case.

    The question is about being "too old". A number. An age past which people say "no more". Obviously, no married couple can just arbitrarily put a number or an age on their "end point". Like you have pointed out, there are highly subjective reasons that each couple may have that would make their determination. No one should presume to judge anyone specifically. But we are discussing, not those other circumstances, but whether or not there is an "age" cutoff. My contention is that as long as a married couple is fertile, a child may come and that's okay. It really is okay.

    As for the 12-year-old, I am speaking within the context of Catholic teaching, and the Church does not allow the marriage of 12-year-olds. But once a woman and man come together in Matrimony, the sexual act always leaves open the possibility of a child being conceived, and that is how it is designed. Sometimes older couples conceive (and even very old men) and if they are married and having sex, then that is not a horrible thing! It is the design of marriage. Now, like you said, there are many factors which might lead a couple to avoid a pregnancy later in life (or earlier), but none of those factors should be simply and only that "I have attained age X".

    Hope that clarifies and makes sense!

  43. I totally was like Mary. "enlightened femininist.
    thought now I see that this was a false feminism.
    the worlds idea of feminism is to deny our very feminine selves. to think being able to be like men and work full time, to focus on material things. at the time my husband and I were having our children I was working outside the home and none of our co workers were not using birth control. of course many/most of them were non Catholics and probably even aethiests. not once in 25 years at our parish did we hear a sermon on the why not of artificial contraception. in the k-8 parish school most of the families were one or 2 or at most 3-4 children. only maybe one family we knew of that had eventually 8. At our engaged encounter we were given a pamphet that implied that one could pray about it and make up ones own 'concience" in regards to using artificial contraception- a pamphlet from the US Bishops themselves.
    If only I could go back 10 years, 20 years I would do it differently but I cannot
    I pray the next generation learns from our mistakes.
    To me- the fact that your husband is ok with ceasing marital relations is a red flag that should not be ignored. I should know- I ignored many red flags and just hoped they would go away, that my husband was just having a bad phase or something.
    find a good orthodox Catholic priest to talk to as soon as possible.

  44. I understand, but I am saying that certain factors come with age, and they shouldn't be disregarded. these comments are just focusing on age and biology and are not looking to address some concerns the husband might have. Which doesn't really help this marriage out. Are we looking to debate about age, or are we looking to help a wife try to reach her husband and understand him so they can come to an agreement? I'm saying this husband probably isn't saying " I've hit certain X age and we shouldn't have children because we are X age" He's probably having concerns that come with X age. In marriage we have to attempt to understand where our spouse is coming from, whether or not they have the same beliefs. Is this husband catholic who is on board with NFP? spouting off "age doesn't matter because you're still ovulating" isn't going to change his mind or relieve him of his concerns. What if this was the other way around, and the husband wanted to have more kids but the wife was concerned because of her age? If a husband said "well you're ovulating so age isn't a concern and Mary Smith down the street is 50 and she's pregnant" we would call him insensitive. I'm all about debating the "you're never too old for babies" because I don't think you're ever too old to have children, but I thought this was about trying to understand a husbands concern and help his wife address them.

  45. Therese, thanks to both you and Mary. And, I would agree that not having sex is a huge red flag that cannot be ignored.

    Bartley's, agreed, there might be more to this than a number. We don't know what is behind it other than age, because she did not tell us. This is all we have:

    Do you have a post about married couples struggling with one spouse not wanting more children because of age?

    My husband, who is 46, is adamant about not wanting anymore children because he says he's too old.


    I would LOVE to see a thread and the comments from your readers about AGE.

    So, I think most readers were replying in that vein. That's all we have to go on, unless we get more information from Jane or her husband. He is not a practicing Catholic, we do know that much.

  46. ok. I am addicted to this post!

  47. Can you get him to attend a Marriage Encounter... my husband and I did and the spiritual disconnect had more issues underlying than, "I believe this and you believe differently." We just haven't had time to catch our breath for a good discussion - let alone form our ownthoughts in quiet - since having kids. The weekend provides lots of opportunity for discussion about any number of things.

    On a personal note, my husband turns 40 this year and wants this, our 4th baby, to be our last. He was raised in a totally secular culture where most of his friends are 'done' having kids and just starting to 'get their lives back.' Little kids are stressful so I can appreciate his longing for what other men his age usually have. I would let him know how much you miss HIM, not just long for another babby. Too often as practicing Catholic wives we focus on our children and not on our vocation - our husbands. I am so guilty of this one, too. This discussion is looming after this baby is born in September... so I am eagerly following this thread myself.

  48. If you believe that the Bible teaches husband and wife shouldn't neglect each other sexually (except for a season of fasting)AND that the Bible doesn't endorse artificial birth control. At some point most couples will have this discussion. I am 32 and my husband is 44. I could in theory have a baby in my late 40's which would make him in his early 60's. NFP has worked very well for us up to this point but most women no longer have standard cycles when going through the change of life. At some point most every spritual conviction will test you. Two believe both these truths requires a large amount of faith that what happens may not be easy but will is God ordained. I think of the Dugger's who just announced another pregnancy. In my secular opinion she shouldn't have any more babies...however that's her religious conviction she has come to terms to accept the outcome no matter how hard.

  49. I would LOVE to see a thread and the comments from your readers about AGE. My husband has been reading everything I send to him. He isn't a practicing Catholic. This issue really has turned him against the teachings of the Church.

    Variables. Variables. Variables.

    I can honestly see the husband's concern. Kids require every ounce of everything we have, and as we age, we slow down. We want to ride the brake a while. We may even spiritually need it.

    JMO: Generally speaking, I think we wives need to have compassion for our husband's point of view should it come down to him not wanting anymore children. That being said, it doesn't mean a woman who desires more children should stop dreaming/praying for that.

    But, regarding the quoted passage above: I don't know that I'd keep sending him Catholic reading material if he's a) not a practicing Catholic and b) he's turned against the teachings of the Church; both which you've mentioned above. Doesn't this further irritate him?
    It's such a bone of contention right now, I don't know that I'd appreciate my spouse sending me info, no matter how well intentioned you might be.

    Just letting things be on postponing children for a while could bring a sense of peace within the marriage, and who knows, maybe even a change of heart for him.

    But "no intimacy" is a danger. I'd encourage you to find a way to reconnect on that score. JMO.

  50. I find this post really fascinating and I keep coming back to read the comments. Jane's situation really struck me because my husband is 11 years older than me. Currently, my husband is 41, our oldest child is 2 and we definitely hope to have my children. To think of him suddenly deciding enough while I am still pretty fertile is a scary thought. I feel for you, Jane!

    From my husband's perspective, I don't think he feels old or thinks of himself as an older father. I think his take on it is that somehow his ability to father children is a testament to his manliness.

    I tend to second what others have said in that Jane's husband may have some valid concerns about adding to the family. Also, I agree that it's important to try to continue to go on dates and to keep up hobbies together. I'd also add the importance of taking care of oneself physically, so that he has trouble resisting your charms, if you know what I mean;) Then leave it at that and pray, pray, pray. But I don't know if I'd broach the subject again for a while, and I don't know if I'd be giving him Catholic reading material, if he's not a practicing Catholic.

    It's certainly a tough situation indeed, but I'll be praying for Jane and her husband. God bless!

  51. Just for clarification, because Mrs. Reverend Doctor's post made me think I missed something, Michelle Duggar has not announced another pregnancy since her loss of Jubilee Duggar in December at about 20 weeks gestation.

  52. I've been reading some of the comments and unsure if I should jump in or not. I'm a child of older parents (They were 42 when I was born and had been married for over twenty years.) I really don't want to come across as a negative voice in this discussion because I happen to think I had a fantastic childhood and love my parents very much.

    That being said, it is very possible that before my 30th birthday I won't have any living parents. There is a lot more to being a parent than getting a kid to 18. So I have a few observations for the older parents from a kid in that position.

    First, make a commitment to your health. If you are going to have a kid who turns 18 in your 60s make a good effort to stick around until your 70s and/or 80s. My mom never made it to my wedding and it is very unlikely my future kids will have many memories of my dad- if they have any.

    I would never say this to my parents but it broke my heart my parents ignored weight issues and other health issues. I know why they did it, the same reason we all do- we don't think it really going to be a problem that happens to us. But if you have a later-in-life child, do them a favor and try to be in the best health you can be. As a teenager I just couldn't understand why they weren't doing EVERYTHING possible to make sure they would live longer.

    Second, realize there are a lot of adult issues your grown kids may not ever get a chance to ask you about. Take some time to write down how you dealt with some difficult situations and some of your life lessons. There are thousands of questions I have now that I am a wife I wish I could have asked my mom. Questions I never considered/thought about before I was married. I'm sure I'll have even more if/when I become a mom. I never would've paid attention as a teenager if she tried to talk to me then and now she's not around to ask.

    (Just a note: My parents never planned to have a larger family or any of their kids. They were just a good, catholic couple (I never heard them utter the phrase "open to life") but both told me they thought one child was plenty. I guess God knew they were going to be great parents so gave them a lot more!)

  53. Good read today. So often we think we know what's best. Or we just don't really care for anyone's perspective but our own. It can be so hard to trust in God, let things unfold as they may. But it is so
    fulfilling to know that we are doing His will when we just submit and let him call the shots. That we are not getting in his way. That we are doing exactly the mission He planned for us.

  54. http://www.nogreaterjoydad.com/

    I just read this blog post...It appears to be written by a dad who is afraid... ;) Good read!

  55. I'm a single woman, 49 years old, and have no children. I have always tried to live God's will in my life, even though being a wife and mother were the only heart's desires I have ever known. Life is hard and, if we truly and sincerely want to walk the path of Life, only love and service give it meaning. If you can let go of your own dreams and aspirations for your life, you will find peace and joy. In my experience, that's a promise that God always keeps.

  56. First baby at 26 3/4, second baby at 30, went on the pill without much thought until I miscarried my third child. Then I read the small print and found out the pill actually can cause a healthy embryo to abort. Went off the pill,still using barrier methods, had 4th baby at 37, 5th baby at 39. Finally saw the light of my Catholic Faith concerning issues of contraception, and just put it in God's hands, which was a pretty safe thing to do since I was already so "old". 6th baby at 42 and baby #7 at 44 2/3. I am now almost 55, having only a few periods a year, but would jump at the chance to give birth, if God willed it. (My husband, who become a Catholic after #6 was born, feels the same).

  57. I am jumping in even though I haven't been able to keep up, as usual! I'm glad that I happened to start reading at StarFire's message. I think it's an important one for all moms, because none of us knows when our time on earth will be up. I have read that postpartum depression can be worse in women whose mothers are no longer living, because they don't have their own mother to turn to for advice - I think that applied to first-time moms. What a great gift to write down some of our thoughts now, in case we aren't there for our adult daughters.

    Anyhow... my biggest concern here is the husband cutting off intimacy. It makes me wonder if he is having low testosterone issues, which could also make him feel less able to come up with the energy for another little one. Just a thought. But, a lack of intimacy can be dangerous to the relationship What if you get used to that and never get that part of your marriage back again? I thought of this discussion when I saw the following comment and came over here to share it: "The death of communication is the birth of resentment." Intimacy is an important part of the language of your marriage, and unless you both agree that it isn't that important to you anymore, discontinuing it could be a cause for resentment. I hope that's not the case for Leila's friend, but I did want to mention it.

  58. Maybe the lack of intimacy is a result of marital problems, not the cause of them. Maybe the husband is stressed. Maybe home life is too chaotic. Maybe there are physical problems he needs to take care of, or emotional or spiritual roadblocks. Maybe he's worried about money. Maybe he's just not that into his wife. We may never know the his reasons. There could be a simple reason, or a complex reason he feels too old. Maybe he's happy to not have sex for some reason. I'd worry about the marriage first. And that's my opinion.

  59. My new philosophy is nag God, not my husband. I am trying :) I agree about avoiding not being good for a marriage, so see if you all can learn NFP (I am a huge Creighton model advocate) so you can at least be intimate. And keep nagging God!

  60. Reading this at age 43, 39 1/2 wks pregnant after a 4 year bout with secondary infertility; a stillbirth and 3 miscarriages. I'm praying for Jane! There is nothing like the desire for children and not being able to have them for any reason. May God bless you!
    As far as the age thing? We are looking forward to having an 18 year old with 61 year old parents....because we are so much smarter now than having had an 17 year old with 43 year old parents! This baby is blessed and mygoshbeyondwords, so are we!
    Best wishes! Lisa

  61. I don't have any words of wisdom - but enjoyed this post, and all the responses.

    I can empathize with being scared -- I'm 39, and pregnant with Baby 5.0. I could have at least 5 more years of fertility ahead of me. I'll be nursing this baby for a long time, which will make NFP even more of a challenge for me.

    I agree with Abigail .... being surrounded by Catholic families with 6,7, 8 children makes me a little more comfortable with the fact that we may not be 'done'.

    I've come to realize that it's OK to be scared - God doesn't expect us to have all the answers -- but to lean on Him.

  62. This is a great discussion. I've been following along, and don't have much insight into the mindset of the op's husband, or what she can do about it other than pray, pray, pray! And sacrifice. Maybe novenas to St. Joseph, St. Jude, St. Rita (who has been extraordinarily generous to me), and St. Andrew (Christmas novena).

    However, I would like to make one observation that hasn't really been brought up so far. I am 41 years old, due in June with my eighth child. I always wanted a large family, but over the years my ideas of what large really is have evolved to where I really can't see limiting our family size anymore, given our age and the fact that there is almost no conceivable way we could ever be able to increase our family beyond limits we feel we could manage happily.

    And, I'm trying to face the fact that this may be it for us, that our years of babies and little kids in the house are coming to an end. What a sad thing, really. We could have had all that traveling and career, nice house, etc., like so many of our family members have. But we are so happy we chose this other adventure instead. Now we may be able to do some of those things, have our leisure time and all, but it just seems so empty to me by comparison.

    I would obviously love to have another after this baby, but am worried about putting my husband (and myself) through the emotional strain and pressure of trying for a baby and failing. I have lost two babies at around 6 weeks gestation in the past four years, but conceived healthy babies soon after. I am worried now that my odds are worsening, and that, at this age, being open to life also means being open to death (of one's unborn children) and great suffering. I have never been so afraid as in the early weeks of this pregnancy, and I know I've gotten off easy compared to many. I also hate the comments from people "concerned" about having a baby past 40. I am in great health, and don't look or feel old, so I wish people would just shut up about the risks. Like I really haven't thought about all that! Unfortunately, comments like that really do take their toll.

    Does anyone else have a similar situation or concern? At what point/age should one stop trying for a baby and just remain passively open to life? How does one balance fear of miscarriage with fear of missing one's last chance for a baby? This is where, for the first time in my life, I feel the suffering inherent in motherhood, and know it can neither be whitewashed nor avoided.

  63. I just reread my comment and thought I should clarify one thing! When I complained about people making comments about the risks of having a baby over 40, I was referring to unsolicited comments from friends and family, made to my face, usually in the context where we are announcing a pregnancy, etc. That can really get under my skin and cause my doubt and worry to spiral out of control.

    But I emphatically do not have any problem with commenters on this thread who may have brought up these concerns in the context of a frank and thoughtful discussion. Clearly, I have my worries too. Big time.

  64. Robin, thanks! I want to throw in one great thing about being in a "Bubble" (meaning a lot of good Catholic family and friends) -- blessedly, I never got a single negative comment about my pregnancies as I got older. Not from anyone. That's because so many of my friends have had babies in their forties (one is pregnant now at almost 48!). And, my doctor is pro-life (though not Catholic), so he was always very supportive (never even used the term "advanced maternal age") and never pressured me to get an amnio (which I never did) or any of the other tests that I didn't want. My heart goes out to those who have to withstand those kinds of judgements and queries from people who are just plain ignorant thanks to a culture which does not welcome children past a certain age, and which likes to scare older women with misleading stats. That said, I am one of those "passively" open to life, as the body sure does slow down when one gets to my age! I don't think a pregnancy would be too easy for me now, but again, that is for me and my husband and God to discern, and no one else should pipe in with melodramatic, uninformed "warnings." The only appropriate thing that anyone should ever say to a married couple who are expecting a child is "Congratulations!!!" :)

  65. Tell him not to be afraid but excited. My dad was 53 years old when I was born. He was a sight to see far into his 60s, biking and playing basketball, working in construction and architecture. He saw me married, with my first child, and with a second on the way before he died at 80 unfortunately (he could have lived longer if not for some avoidable illness).

    My brother and I were a bit of an insurance policy for him. We helped him finish his last house. We were able to keep him mobile when an accident put him in a wheelchair BECAUSE WE WERE STILL AT HOME. It was God's will that he have children late, I am sure of it, because it was great for me and my soul to serve him as a young man, and great for him to learn how to be served and taken care of by young sons.

    Don't be afraid. Lean on God, and don't be afraid.

  66. I am the youngest of six. After the fourth kid my mom did not want anymore. She got two more on the rythem methode; it didn't work for her. She did her Catholic duty and had me in her forties. Both my parents acted old and rarely interacted with me. My dad died when I was 11. My mom was abusive towards us because she hated being a mom. I got the brunt of it because I was the youngest. To this day I am not close to any family members. My advice, if you don't want kids anymore, then don't have them. It's not worth the pain inflicted on kids if you end up resenting them. And don't blame God. He gave you free will. Use it.

  67. "the slippery slope of NFP" -- what is that, exactly?

    1. (comment directed to "OurLadyofGoodSuccess," above

  68. Yes, I'm also interested to know what "the slippery slope of NFP" is. Thanks!


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