Older moms have been flooding the news the last few days. There is the 61-year-old mom who carried her own grandson for her infertile daughter. She is not the first to do this and it’s an incredible gift most are applauding her for. There is a much more controversial older mom making headlines today. Annegret Raunigk an elementary school teacher in Germany and mother of 13 is pregnant.
You may be amazed she is pregnant for her 14th child or given the Duggars you may find it not too newsworthy. If I told you she was 65, you may find it newsworthy, but if I add that she is not just pregnant for baby number 13 but for quadruplets…I think it is fair to say you would be shocked.
Perhaps the biggest shocker would be that this elementary school teacher is 65 years old. She is also not carrying the babies for an infertile child but to give a sibling to her 13th child that she gave birth to 9 years ago at the age of 55. Her naturally achieved pregnancy at the age of 55 was considered something close to a miracle. At the age of 65 though Annegret turned to fertility specialists.
Annegret’s other children range in age from 22 to 44 and she balks at being told she is too old to have more children. She finds cliches about being too old exhausting. I am sure having quadruplets at 65 or any age for that matter is the true meaning of exhausting. However Dr. Holger Stepan, head of obstetrics at the University Hospital of Leipzig, called the pregnancy “an absolute disaster.” He told Berliner Morgenpost that it wasn’t just Raunigk who’s at risk — so are her four fetuses.
As with any controversial topic, the public is also voicing their opinions. Some are calling Annegret selfish and irresponsible. Others are saying that the medical professionals that allowed this are at fault. While others are voicing their opinion that it’s no one else’s business and more power to her.
I remember when I was expecting my son Ethan there was a woman Frieda Birnbaum, 60, from my home town in Bergen County, NJ that was expecting twins. The twins were born and mother and babies did well but it was not without controversy.
Frieda also wished to give her young son a sibling as well as go against the stigma attached to older women giving birth. Birnbaum and her attorney husband were married for 38 years and had two children at the time ages 33 and 6. Mrs. Birnbaum went to South Africa for the fertility treatments that made her the oldest American woman to give birth to twins.
If all goes well Annegret will be the oldest mother to give birth to quadruplets. So far the pregnancy has been free of major complications and she is due in the summer. Annegret underwent several unsuccessful IVF attempts before becoming pregnant with the quads and was said to be shocked to learn she was carrying four babies. She has not considered selective reduction in order to reduce the risks to her and the babies.
So what do you think? Should people just mind their own business? Are the doctors irresponsible? How old is too old? Should women’s rights mean that a woman can choose to have a baby at any age? Let me hear what you think. If you like reading about pregnancy, you can see more at borncute.