Recently, supermodel Naomi Campbell, 50, announced on Instagram that she just had a baby girl. “A beautiful little blessing has chosen me to be her mother. So honored to have this gentle soul in my life, there are no words to describe the lifelong bond that I now share with you, my angel. There is no greater love,” Naomi wrote.
It’s not clear whether Naomi gave birth to her new baby, had her by surrogate, or adopted the child. But one thing’s for sure. More and more women are choosing to become mothers in middle age. Why?
When a woman reaches middle age, she questions her choices. Did she choose to follow a career path and backburner starting a family? Did her career take off and she followed the momentum of her successes? The majority of households around the cities and in the suburbs require two incomes to sustain a level of comfort. A lifestyle replete with expensive cars, jewelry, couture clothing, a vibrant nightlife, and travel leaves little or no room for children.
So, why children now?
Clearly, middle-aged women who venture to start a family do not want to grow old alone and yearn for expanding their personal universe to include the love of a family they (hopefully) nurture and grow. According to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Pew Research Center, “The share of American women at the end of their childbearing years who have ever given birth is higher than it has been a decade earlier, reversing a near 40-year trend where fewer women in that age group were having babies.”
Data analyzed by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals, “Not only are women more likely to be mothers than in the past, but they are having more children.”
And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported an increase in births for women in their early 50s over the last decade.
There are, of course, concerns. The chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome is 1:100 at the age of 40, and 1:30 at the age of 45. There is a higher rate of C-sections in middle-aged women (middle age is universally considered the ages between 45 and 65.) A woman’s fertility starts to dramatically fall after age 35. Here are some women who decided the benefits outweighed the risks:
- Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, 50, gave birth to a baby girl. She was the first serving U.S. senator to have a baby.
- Pop singer Janet Jackson, 50, gave birth to her son in 2017 when she was 50.
- Hoda Kotb of The Today Show became a mother at age 52.
- Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former U.S. Senator John Edwards, at a son when she was 50.
- Helen Morris, wife of film director Martin Scorsese, was 52 when she gave birth to a daughter.
- Actress Brigitte Nielsen was 54 when she delivered her fifth child. “My pregnancy was so for me,” she related. “Still, I thought, ‘Wow, at 54 you can expect to never get back to normal.’ But after I gave birth, I was back to feeling completely myself again after two and a half weeks.”
- Diane Keaton adopted her two children when she was in her fifties.
- Madonna adopted two girls from Malawi when she was 58.
- Singer Sophia B. Hawkings was 50 when she became pregnant with her daughter, Esther.
Don’t think it’s over at 50, either. Mangayamma Yaramati of India had a child with her 82-year-old husband when she was 74.
If you are contemplating having a child in middle age, make sure you have lots of energy and lots of help because you’ll need a lot of both.