40 yrs+ celebrity IVF pregnancies: Celine Dion and Kelly Preston

kelly preston john travolta.jpgThree weeks ago 47-yr-old actress Kelly Preston and 56-yr-old actor husband John Travolta announced they were expecting a baby. (Twins denied.)
Then a week ago 42-yr-old singer Céline Dion announced she and 68-yr-old husband René Angélil were expecting twins.
Both pregnancies were reportedly conceived via in vitro fertilization.
(And if these things do come in 3s, keep an eye on 40-yr-old singer Mariah Carey, whose 29-yr-old husband singer Nick Cannon didn’t exactly quash rumors a few days ago that she’s pregnant as well.)
Congrats to all. We’re praying for healthy babies.
Even though we recently observed in 4443-yr-old Michelle Duggar that women over 40 do conceive naturally, pregnancy past 40 isn’t the norm.
On May 31 OB/Gyn Dr. Jennifer Ashton described on CBS’s The Early Show the staggering preborn death toll to achieve a successful 40+ pregnancy…

We’re seeing this more and more among celebrities, and it appears that 40 would be the new 30 when you’re talking about pregnancy and fertility. Not exactly the case.

celine and renee.jpg

“When you look at the numbers in terms of women and their fertility, there is no question it declines as they get older. We’re meant to reproduce in our early 20s. So, when you look at women in the 20-to-24 age group, only 7% will be infertile. When you go up over 40, that number approaches 30%. That’s because the quality of their eggs goes down and the number of their eggs goes down.”
Outside intervention to help start such pregnancies is “pretty common,” Ashton says. “Actually, there are 4 million births in the U.S. every year, approximately, and the estimates are that 1% of them, so that’s about 40k babies, were conceived using what’s called assisted reproductive technology. So, not totally mainstream, but very, very common.

sarah jessica parker matthew broderick.jpg

“There’s a whole spectrum of what we call assisted reproductive technology,” Ashton continued, “and it could be anything from in-vitro fertilization, which could be due to anything from sperm problems or egg problems, and then it could encompass donor egg, donor sperm and, in the most aggressive cases, uterine surrogacy…..” [Photo above is of 45-yr-old actress Sarah Jessica Parker, 48-yr-old actor husband Matthew Broderick, and 7-yr-old son James with twin daughters Marion and Tabitha, born June 22, 2009, via surrogate.]
How often do such pregnancies take hold and get carried to term?
When you look at … all cycles using non-frozen embryos, the success rate approaches about 30%,” Ashton says. “Now, that is heavily dependent on age. The older you get, whether you’re using your own egg or not, the success rate of a live birth goes down. Again, just because we’re seeing it in the 40s does not mean it’s easy.”

Dion underwent 5 failed IVF fertilization attempts before the 6th took.
Now to the hard truth. While these children are all blessings, the pathway of death to get them was immoral.
More of the hard truth: Liberal feminism trampling over biological norms has brought us to this point. The fertile female human body during her early 20s as well as the simultaneous increased male and female sex drive indicates women and men were instinctively built to have babies much earlier than is now societally accepted.
Feminists have actually not told women they “can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan.” They’ve told women to 1st get educated to learn how to bring home the bacon, then begin bringing home the bacon, and then begin thinking about the home in which to fry it up in the pan, tinkering by 5 to 10 to 15 years with their biological clocks.
guttmacher abortion stats 20s.pngConversely, feminists have told young women and men not to strive for relational maturity during their prime reproductive cycle of the early 20s.
They say instead to sow wild oats during that highly fertile span of time. This only increases the likelihood abstinence until marriage cannot be achieved and that both parties will be bringing along damaged hearts and bodies when saying “I do.” And of course there’s abortion, highest in that age group, of course.
Women have been instructed to replace the desire for a husband and family with a desire for a career. They have been told children detract from rather than enhance whatever else women have going on.
This is not to say career and kids cannot coexist. The most perfect wife and mother ever described in the Bible, the Proverbs 31 woman, independently purchased real estate, planted her own vineyard, and made and sold goods.
But today’s career options often separate mothers from families rather than synergize them.
And so today we see women past their child-bearing prime pumping themselves with dangerous artificial steroids to conceive and bear children they belatedly realize they long for, killing many along the way and also increasing the odds of killing themselves.
[Top photo via Getty; bottom photo via the Associated Press]

46 thoughts on “40 yrs+ celebrity IVF pregnancies: Celine Dion and Kelly Preston”


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    LizFromNebraska says:

    Celine Dion was definitely an IVF….because her husband had cancer and I think might be sterile…..
    Isn’t John Travolta a Scientologist? You’d think he would consider IVF to be ‘unnatural’ if he is, and he’s anything Tom Cruise (who belittled Brooke Shields I think it was, for taking meds for post partum depression).
    We do pray for health pregnancies, but I do wonder how many embryos were created in these pregnancies and how many failed to implant.


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    Kim says:

    The human female body is fertile at the start of menstruation, which on average starts at 12. I don’t see a lot of people arguing that 12-19 year olds should be having babies. (which was quite common in Biblical times, no?)
    “But today’s career options often separate mothers from families rather than synergize them.”
    This is true for both men AND women. In an agricultural society, both men and women worked with their families for their livelihood.
    Why is it that now, only women are encouraged to give up careers, commuting, etc.? Shouldn’t we be encouraging both women AND men to spend more time with family and look into alternative work options (flex time, part time, telecommuting etc.)?
    – A liberal feminist


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    eko says:

    Amen, Jill! We were blessed with a baby (have two olders and had one miscarriage) when I was 44. Rare and a blessed event indeed – and natural. I am shocked how women will endure all kinds of chemicals in their bodies to conceive (or to not).
    It is heartbreaking what we are doing – and I believe God will not be mocked forever.


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    militarywifey says:

    I find myself agreeing with Kim in that motherhood shouldn’t mean that you have to give other aspirations up (such as career).
    Unfortunately in this country our maternity leave laws are horrible. Even paternity leave is something that is JUST now being accepted in our community.
    I do agree that it is far healthier to get pregnant in the 20s. Having a sister who works as a nurse in Labor&Delivery I hear countless stories about how women who are over 40 face far more complications that those in their twenties and thirties.
    I had a child at 24 and have a bachelor’s, master’s, and am currently working towards a teaching certification. It can be done, you need not give up any other aspirations. Having children is no excuse to give up an education.
    Maybe our system just needs to accommodate the choice to have children and pursue career better. A woman need not make the choice between education and motherhood, fortunately.


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    Jill Stanek says:

    Kim,
    You and I are both feminists. You and I agree women should be able to function in society as well as bear children. Liberal feminists believe the two can’t occur together, as displayed by the animosity toward Sarah Palin and feminists’ shocking accusations that she had too many children to run for VP.
    I agree fathers are invaluable. But there should be no more denying mothers have a unique and indispensable role bearing children as well as nurturing them in their early childhood years. Before the invention of inferior formula, for instance, children were reliant on mothers for their complete nutrition during the 1st 6 months.
    The denial must also stop that mothers are better suited, generally speaking, to nurture babies and young children than fathers.
    As an aside, I’d be curious to know what average age adolescents began menstruating back in the day before they were ingesting large doses of growth hormones throughout their young lives as well as being bombarded with sexual titillation.
    Thanks.


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    muriel says:

    This is an excellent article Jill.
    This phenomenon of forty plus moms giving birth via man made interventions, neglects to consider the dignity and health of the preborn child. These babies have an increased chance of being born too early with complications of prematurity. Cerebral palsy, blindness & deafness are some of the risks of preterm birth. If the woman took the toxic hyper egg stimulating hormones, then she has put herself at risk for cancer later on. I read one time that statistics showed older moms giving birth to healthy babies naturally, (no intervention), were usually women that grew old and were able to raise their baby. On the other hand, we don’t know about the women that go through the fertilty treatments, but they have defintely put themselves at risk.
    As per usual, no regard is given to the child and their future. It is all about the woman who can purchase the intervention to aquire the biological baby to satisfy HER need. Sad, so sad….


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    Jill Stanek says:

    militarywife wrote, “I find myself agreeing with Kim in that motherhood shouldn’t mean that you have to give other aspirations up (such as career).”
    To be clear, that’s exactly what I said. It’s all about the mindset of either welcoming children and finding careers compatible with nurturing them, or thinking the two can’t happen simultaneously so procreation must wait or be limited.
    To all else you wrote, amen!


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    militarywifey says:

    @Jill:
    Having done a research paper on teenage sexuality related to parental marital status I did find some things in my research that could possibly be attributed to the younger age at menarche.
    -Single motherhood (specifically lack of involvement from the father) can prompt young women to enter menarche sooner.
    -Girls who grow up in households where the father is very involved, usually mom and dad married referred to as “traditional” families, tend to menstruate much later (as well as engage in sexual activity later than those coming from single mother situations)
    Aside from that I’ve also noted that younger menarche could be associated with the increased amount of hormones in many of the meats and dairy products we consume as well as the increase in obesity. Since body fat percentage is usually associated with earlier menarche, girls who have more fat tend to enter menarche sooner. Being a nurse you probably were aware of this.
    I believe a decade ago what I have heard the average age of menarche was around 14, don’t quote me on that though.


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    militarywifey says:

    @Jill to your last post: I could see finding compatible careers completely. I always wanted children and I didn’t want to wait too long to start my family so I decided to go into the career of education. I guess I could’ve delved into the world of Statistics, which is where my degree is, but I had to make the personal decision that although that career may pay more, I would rather do something that wouldn’t require me to sacrifice a significant portion of my family life.


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    militarywifey says:

    @9:50am my post: by decade I meant “Century”


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    Chris Arsenault says:

    Markets want to expand.
    Encourage abortions and sexual promiscuity during youth – make money from sexual toys, environments, solutions (like abortion) etc. Also need pornography, night clubs, music industry etc to help feed the flames leading to lustful encounters.
    Then solutions for sexually transmitted diseases can be sold to needy markets.
    Later, when and if survivors want children, there’s a whole slew of medical experience and technology (IVF, surrogacy etc) that can be brought to bear at a price to provided the desired object of affection (and social status): wanted children.
    Lawyers are involved in every bit of this sordid business.
    Colleges and universities make tons of money on this model – they have become veritable country clubs for tenured faculty.
    Contrast this with the free (non-profitable) wisdom of preparing yourself for marriage (both young men and women), abstaining until you’re married (18-24), then having a wonderful number of children to raise in a godly home, with parents who are young enough and energetic enough to enjoy life with their kids.
    From a market standpoint you’d think it would be better to have more customers rather than killing them off as in the sordid model – however, people who have children tend to be more practical and very efficient with their resources. The sordid model of business is pretty vacuous and highly profitable with low cost tangible (and often intangible goods) sold at many times cost to a consumer group trained to spend like water flowing.
    Evil effort is materialistic, highly profitable and completely pathetic.


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    Kelli says:

    I have to take issue with Dr. Jennifer Ashton’s statement that “we’re meant to reproduce in our early 20s.”
    I understand that physically, it is our most fertile time, but I think that’s an incredibly narrow view of motherhood, considering the fact that menopause doesn’t usually begin until after age 40.
    My kids were born at age 25, 27, and 35. And I’d probably have more if I could change some decisions of the past, and if I didn’t seriously doubt my body could go through all that again. Lots of factors come into play here.
    I disagree with IVF due to the death factor involved, but I completely understand the desire to have more children. I hope these women are blessed with very healthy pregnancies and babies.


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    Gerard Nadal says:

    Jill,
    Prior to the Industrial Revolution, when most people lived on farms, got plenty of sunlight exposure (vitamin D production in skin) and ate fresh foods, girls reached skeletal age, which triggers menarche, at 12/13 years.
    During the Industrial Revolution when there was a mass migration to cities, as mechanation displaced many farm workers, children were forced to work 16 hours/day 7 days/week in factories. They had almost no sunlight or fresh air, lived in squalor, ad ate substandard diets of substandard food. This delayed attainment of skeletal age and menarche until the late teens.
    With child labor laws returning children to normalcy, and with vastly improved nutrition, attainment of skeletal age and menarche have returned to the early teen years, and beyond to ~age 11.


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    Jacqueline says:

    Okay, and off she goes:
    I am 29 and have yet to marry or have children and would never create children outside of marriage. I keep the company of other women that married in their late 20’s and early 30’s and have what we call “stair-step” babies naturally spaced about 18 months apart by nature, not intent.
    At 29, I am incredibly grateful that I didn’t focus on finding a mate and marrying in my 20’s right after college as societally expected. This is because marriage=children. While I would love nothing more than 37 children, this would have rendered me inable to accomplish any of the items necessary for God’s will in my life. I would never pretentiously pursue a Ph.D. with it’s demands and time commitment at the expense of my child. But now, I can have both a child AND a doctorate. I have worked my way up into self-employment where I work when I want to and on my schedule and could have a career AND children without major conflicts. My stair-step baby friends have these lives as well, although many retire from working and do motherhood exclusively- but yet they still have the education, skills, and influence to step into roles when needed that they would not have otherwise had. This is enabled, in part, because they DID NOT have babies in their 20’s and were able instead to go to graduate school and such. And judging by the number of women that return to college/grad school around 45 after they’ve put their children through college (children whom they birthed in their 20s), trying not to broaden their horizons but FINALLY do what they have wanted to do for 20+ years but where unable to by their decision to marry and have a family first, I am more grateful that I was able to do all my schooling and career prior to motherhood. Men and women are not the same. Men can marry and have children AND pursue a education/career with little more than added love and support. Not so with women, as much as people would like it to be.
    Now, this is just the grace and blessing of God. Had I married my college sweetheart whom I dated for 3 years, I would have a gaggle of babies by now and be the joyful wife and mother, yet with a nagging on my spirit that there were other things that I was supposed to do- and I would live for 20+ years being torn between my priority of my children and the understanding that I am not doing all I was meant to do but unable to do so without sacrificing time with my children which they deserve. I was not meant to marry him, but had I met the right person, I would not have waited for the sake of career. I’m just grateful that God purposed it this way so I can have both a career and family, if not at the same time.
    All I’m saying is that the ability to both succeed in a worldly sense in a career and in the eternal sense as a mother are at odds and there is a more efficacious order to pursue these in if you require both. But because you recognize this and pursue your career first does not mean you are an affront to your femininity. It does not mean you take your fertility for granted, either.
    My not having children in my 20’s and instead having a career doesn’t imply that my priorities are somehow backwards and I should not be judged as such. Likewise, women that kill children to have children should also not be judged by their age but by their actions which are evil and immoral even if they did it at 23. Take a woman with NO CAREER that marries late, discovers her infertility and does IVF- the act is equally evil to a woman that had a career. Our success is irrelevant to the morality of reproductive technologies.
    I understand the point here, that woman take their fertility for granted and believe that they can kill children and pump their bodies full of hormones to prevent children and still make children artificially when the mood strikes. But I resent that this has anything to do with women being successful. I have never used birth control or had an abortion. And my childlessness at my age doesn’t imply that I have done such or have chosen career over family and will make up for doing so by killing my children through IVF.
    You CAN live a sexually moral lifestyle as a single woman and be a success- In fact, that’s the only way to TRULY be a success. Unlike women that say I could only do what I do since I can “control my fertility” with abortion and hormones, having prolifers that would judge my doing what I’m doing as buying the lie that I can just make children later is an equal mischaracterization.


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    Jennifer says:

    I pray that Celine and Kelly’s babies are healthy and I agree that babies are always a blessing, but IVF is fraught with moral issues that cannot be ignored. We’re playing God with human life, thinking we can create at will, implant a few “extra” so the chance of “success” is greater, and give no further thought to the lives we destroy because they were just “fertilized cells.”
    It’s wrong. The ends cannot justify the means.
    Not to mention, why doesn’t anyone question the wisdom of a 68 year-old man fathering a new baby? It is clearly in the best interest of our offspring that we reproduce when we are young and healthy ourselves.
    All this tinkering with human life and biology for our own purposes, for our own sakes, to satisfy our own wants has caused us to lose our common sense and good judgment. And certainly our sense of awe and reverence for life, which can only truly be created by God.


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    Jacqueline says:

    Chris,
    I shudder at marriages between 18-24. You aren’t even truly an adult at that age. How many people even know who they are then? While 22+ isn’t that scary, 18-21 is almost “child bride” to me.


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    militarywifey says:

    @Jacqueline:
    I got married at the age of 20. Do I now look back upon it and realize that maybe I rushed into marriage way too soon? Yes, actually. If I could do it over again I probably would have waited and gotten to know my spouse better.
    At the same time I have to own up to my responsibility. I married at a young age, that was the path I chose to take and there are pros and cons to it. At 20 I was an adult and, although I may not have had the maturity I did a few years later, I made a decision and I have to live up to it.
    My sister also became a mother at 20. She didn’t intend to, she was very foolish at the time she did become pregnant but she owned up to her responsibility and is now a wonderful mother of 2 with a great husband.
    Sometimes maturity comes with the situation rather than just the age. Sometimes getting into situations that you look back upon and say “hey I really wasn’t ready for this” make you look back and see how that situation matured you.


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    Kelli says:

    Chris,
    I shudder at marriages between 18-24. You aren’t even truly an adult at that age. How many people even know who they are then? While 22+ isn’t that scary, 18-21 is almost “child bride” to me.
    Posted by: Jacqueline at June 10, 2010 10:55 AM
    ************************
    Just as you’ve pointed out there’s no magical adult age for when someone is ready to have children, there’s also no magical age for when one is mature enough for marriage.
    I can assure you that at age 20, I was most definitely NOT a “child bride.” I was in college, working full time, and so was my fiance/husband. I was an adult, and my outlook on life was as an adult.
    In my opinion, “readiness for marriage” has more to do with how one is raised and in how one also views the lifelong commitment of marriage. We were ready. We are in this for life. Growing up in a single parent home with a very determined mother, I had a realistic view of what hard work meant and how painful divorce is. I didn’t step into marriage wearing rose-colored glasses as many young adults do (some FAR older than I was when I married, mind you). In our pre-marital counseling, we brought out all the past baggage. We knew what we were getting into, and we knew each other’s issues and our own.
    My age had nothing to do with my mental preparation for marriage.
    And 16 years (and 3 children) later, I’ve never had a single regret.


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    Pamela says:

    Well..I always WANTED to get married young (19-21). Ever since I was a young child I just knew that’s what I wanted to be..a wife and mother. Life doesn’t always work out like we want it to, though, and I didn’t get married until I was 40, and immediately started trying to have children. I had a miscarriage three months after we were married. 8 months later, I got pregnant with our daughter (naturally, no IVF or A.R.T. involved). I’ve had three more miscarriages since. We’re STILL trying to give our little girl a sibling (no, we can’t afford adoption). If ONLY I had been able to get married in my early twenties!Ah, well…I’ve been Blessed, anyway. :)


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    Jacqueline says:

    No, Kelli, there is no magical age and yes, 20-year-olds can be more adult than 40-year-olds. But don’t you think by setting that as a standard, it’s relatively young? One of my best friends married at 17 or so I think (right, Lauren) and she’s a wonderful mother of 3 now. But I sincerely doubt she would suggest that because she could enter a lifetime commitment and raise children at that age that it should be the standard. Chris suggested that 18-24 was the standard. I maintain that it is young. It’s not even true. The median age for a first marriage in the U.S. is 26. It’s 33 in Canada. So while you were 20 and not a child bride at that age, you recognize that you are an exception, not the rule. So why defend the rule?
    My point is that you can’t separate the age of marriage and the age of children. People try to do that. “Oh, we’re not ready for children yet, but we are ready for marriage” and despite all sorts of contraceptives, they end up pregnant all the same. It’s the same concept of college kids that marry at 20 and still expect Mom and Dad to put them through school- or need to live in the basement. I maintain that if one isn’t ready to accept all the responsibilities of marriage (leaving and cleaving, providing for one’s new family (self and spouse) and children that come with marital privileges), then nope, they aren’t ready to marry. This is why so many couples that meet and fall in love in college that I know STILL waited until graduation and when they found a job to get married, since they recognize that marriage creates a new family for which they, not Mom and Dad, are responsible for keeping.


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    Jacqueline says:

    MilitaryWifey-
    Let me explain- because I am one who would have regretted marrying young doesn’t not mean I expect that others would. I also expect that for girls like me that are glad they had a chance to get career out of the way first, there is a woman who wishes she had a family by 27. I simply resent that people are setting up early marriage and child-bearing as the standard. I don’t think it’s a good standard.
    More over, yes, having children can mature a person, but children aren’t meant to mature adults. I’m not saying you are suggesting that, but just because someone not ready for marriage and motherhood became ready out of necessity doesn’t validate the initial decision to make a lifetime commitment and a human being before one is ready.


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    militarywifey says:

    @Jacqueline: I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t think early marriage/parenthood should be the “standard” either. I think maturity largely depends on the individual and the situation.
    But many of us learn to mature in different ways. Some learn from our mistakes, others are wise to avoid things before they are ready for them.
    Then again I know individuals that are in their 30s and 40s and still far from what I would consider “mature”.
    Looking back on myself at 20, I rushed into marriage way too soon. I had no idea what the military life entailed. Yet even though I believe I should have waited a couple of years I realize that the decision I made is one that may have played a part in causing me to grow up much sooner. Just looking at it in a positive light. I think maybe what I look at as an “unwise” decision played a part in who I am today.
    Yet there are many who rush into marriage and parenthood and they still never grow up. I still believe it’s better to think things through before you leap into them.


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    Jacqueline says:

    In short, Kelli- I want to apologize if it seems like I was invalidating your choice to marry and have babies when you did. That was not my intention at all. I believe that God has a different plan for each of us and this was clearly yours. I’m very happy that you are fulfilled with your life! I am also happy for my friends like Lauren that are clearly joyful and living out God’s plan for their lives.
    But this was simply not the plan for my life, and it’s unfair to suggest that women that have careers first are derelicts of femininity and unnatural since they missed the 18-24 block. I was trying to explain, but clearly failed, that there are benefits of not marrying and having children between 18-24 for women who’s calling includes the university and marketplace. I firmly believe that it’s harder and often inadvisable to pursue a career or advanced degree with little ones around. For me, it’s not worth the trade off of precious, irreplaceable moments with my baby to be writing a paper. But God made it for me where I don’t have to make those trades. For every girlfriend I have that I see enjoying her children exclusively, I have a friend that is missing time with their infants in order to get a masters because they know they need it for their mission field. I’m glad I don’t have to do that. So while there are benefits to marrying and being a mother at a young age, there are benefits in older years as well.
    In short, I’m not passing judgment on what lifestyles are better. A calling is a calling. I just wish people wouldn’t make erroneous assumptions about women like me that are called to the university/marketplace and are equally, in God’s timing, called to be mothers. Worse, I wish judgments would stop on women that are called EXCLUSIVELY to one or the other, the home or the marketplace. You’ve got radical fems degrading the stay-at-home mother and you’ve got Christians claiming that the business woman is unnaturally denying God’s plan for her life. And then you have the working mom who gets all sorts of abuse as well!


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    Mother In Texas says:

    Maybe I’m just unusual, but I love traditional male/female roles. No, I’m not against women being in the workplace at all (I worked in the corporate world for awhile before getting married and having a child–I’ve got sisters who work outside the home). But honestly, being who I am, I’m much more satisfied with the wife/mother role than I was with the corporate worker role. (I guess when it comes down to it, it depends on who you are).
    I’m able to pursue my chosen career–author (not yet published, hope to be one day)–in the comfort of my own home, available to my kid and my husband. My husband is the prime-breadwinner which suits us both fine.
    I know women who work outside the home and they’re happy doing that. To me as long as women don’t try to be men or men try to be women and we all learn to find happiness in who and what we are, then pursuing a career and/or family is fine.
    I can’t agree with IVF because of the whole abortion thing involved in it, but I can hope and pray that the pregnancies go well and that the babies are healthy and happy little ones and that the parents are good parents.


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    Mother In Texas says:

    Jacqueline,
    I take issue with what you said, because I have a sister who pursued a law degree with a little one. While it’s harder, it wasn’t impossible.
    She’s a lawyer now with two little ones and her husband is a stay-at-home Dad. While she wishes she had more time at home, she is able to pursue her career and be Mama and her kids are smart, well behaved and sweet children and they love her dearly. She’s very involved in spite of having a career.
    I think it depends on the woman. Some women do better waiting to get married and have kids and some women are just fine doing it all.


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    Jacqueline says:

    That’s not what I said- It’s POSSIBLE, yes, but is it worth it? I was talking about myself and the conflict between duty and desire that women feel that I certainly would have had to endure. The time commitment for a JD is killer and it’s not something you can pursue and equally devote yourself to a little one. So,yeah, she did it, but she lost out of irreplacable moments with her baby and her baby lost out on those same moments with her mother. This may be worth it to your sister (probably not her child) but it wouldn’t have been an option for me. It assaults my values. So my word choice that you can’t do everything is based on my belief that you can’t do everything and do both completely.
    And I know this is going to anger you, but perhaps she has to be a lawyer if she has a husband that can be the male equivalent of a housewife. Some women choose to marry men that can’t or won’t provide and have no choice but to assume that role and some marry men that can’t or won’t provide because they want the support that men get in their careers so readily from a spouse. I know women that married men to dominate as a power trip. Or maybe perhaps she wants to be a breadwinner rather than a nurturer and she married someone who would let her do that- It’s not my business but nonetheless none of these situations apply to me, so my contention that I couldn’t be the mother I want to be and still ended up where I am is a correct one.


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    Kelli says:

    Hi Jacqueline,
    20 is young if you’re not mature enough to handle exactly what you said: “Oh, we’re not ready for children yet, but we are ready for marriage” and despite all sorts of contraceptives, they end up pregnant all the same. It’s the same concept of college kids that marry at 20 and still expect Mom and Dad to put them through school- or need to live in the basement. I maintain that if one isn’t ready to accept all the responsibilities of marriage (leaving and cleaving, providing for one’s new family (self and spouse) and children that come with marital privileges), then nope, they aren’t ready to marry.
    I’ve seen too many of these couples. We were not one of them.
    But this was simply not the plan for my life, and it’s unfair to suggest that women that have careers first are derelicts of femininity and unnatural since they missed the 18-24 block. I was trying to explain, but clearly failed, that there are benefits of not marrying and having children between 18-24 for women who’s calling includes the university and marketplace.
    I completely agree with this, and your earlier post. I have a close friend who is of a similar mindset. I have zero issue with your life choices. I only have issues with people who think “I’m going to sleep around and use birth control now, but gosh, I’m so not READY for marriage.” To me, that’s ridiculously backward and twisted.
    If you’re gonna stay single and pursue what God has for you without any sexually immoral baggage, I will be your biggest cheerleader. :)


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    Pamela says:

    I thought Michelle Duggar was 41….?


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    Rebecca M. Brooks says:

    Hey folks, my parents were 51(my father)& 43(my mother) when I was born in 1958. They were married on December 31,1949. They dated for 10 years. My sister & brother were born in Nov. 1950 & Jan. 1953. No IVF, no sex before marriage. Just how it happened. My mother had lots of bleeding issues with my brother & her pregnancy wasn’t confirmed until September before he was born. Her doctor at the time kept telling her that it looked like a miscarriage & that she may have been pregnant with twins & lost one, but that was never confirmed. They let God decide & that’s how they taught me. I didn’t always listen to them or to God. I was 18 when I married. Yes, I was young, & I didn’t know what I was getting into, nobody does. Was it hard, yes at times it was & I wondered if I had done right, but today I have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, & my husband is my best friend. I love him more now than I did then. We had a lot of growing up to do & we did it together. If I had it to do all over, I would still do it. I cannot imagine life without one of my children or grandchildren & I hope that when things are tough for them that our lives & story will help get them through it. My point is that there is no magic age or time or reason. What ever one decides is what one must live with until you answer to God. We should not participate in the creative process of human life only to kill what has been created & that seems to be what happens way to often. Abortion, embryonic stem cell research, & destruction of embryos conceived in dishes for IVF is wrong because it takes a human life. End of discussion.


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    CT says:

    I agree w/ what Jacqueline is saying. People do have different callings in life and all we can do it try to do God’s will at the time we are called. It sounds to me that you (Jacqueline) are not saying that you would have delayed marriage and children to have a career nor that it is impossible to pursue graduate degrees and a career with children, but just that had you been called to be a mother, you personally would not have wanted to trade those special moments with your child in order to pursue your education. I think all around we need to have respect for all women and all responsible choices. What we should all be united against (single, married, kids, no kids) is the typical and demeaning “feminist” attitude that women SHOULD delay marriage and children or that a woman who has chosen to pursue a career has the RIGHT to eliminate anything that gets in her way, including her children until such time as she decides she WANTS them, in which case she has the right to eliminate anything that stands in her way…including her embryonic children. That is the mindset that I find sickening, not someone like Jacqueline who recognizes that she might not have been called to marry young and recognizes the positives (yes there are positives) to being able to pursue an education/career calling without taking time away from your children.


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    Jacqueline says:

    CT-
    Thank you for saying what I was trying to saying better than I was able to say it. :)


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    Mother In Texas says:

    Jacqueline,
    You’re right. Your last paragraph did anger me. In fact, a lot. How dare you judge my sister and her husband without even knowing them. You don’t even know their circumstances. And, you’re right, it’s NOT your business.
    For the record:
    No, my sister isn’t some dominating type. My brother-in-law is not some lazy type, either. It’s a decision they made together. My sister is a very nuturing mother and has a beautiful relationship with her children. Her husband is a very good father and very supportive husband.
    I’m sure my sister wishes she didn’t have missed moments, but luckily for her, her children have a deep and loving relationship with her IN SPITE of that and she and her husband have a very nice marriage.
    You can stop with your opinons regarding my sister and her husband. It’s a decision they made together.
    You have decided to wait for marriage and children, and I have no issue with that decison, but not every woman is you.


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    Mother In Texas says:

    CT–
    Well I’m willing to admit maybe I misunderstood Jacqueline and that’s fine she wants to postpone marriage and children and feels that’s what she’s called to. Didn’t like what she was suggesting about my sister and her husband.


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    Jacqueline says:

    Mother in Texas,
    Yes, not every woman is me, but not every woman is your sister. And since you brought her up and her sitcom lifestyle as some sort of argument for why I am wrong about women’s ability to be a primary parent and get an advanced degree, I am free to draw any logical conclusions I want. You brought it up. And her strange situation does not a good argument make.
    Her husband is the primary caregiver, not her. Did he breastfeed, too? I sincerely and physiologically doubt it. Since she was only able to get a JD since she had a husband fulfilling the typical mother role (which I would never want to abdicate), and since she still leaves the boo-boo kissing and such to her husband for whatever reason, she is a perfect example of how, once again, women CAN’T do everything. Her choice to leave her children with their father instead of day-care doesn’t change the fact that a woman can’t do both. She’s not “doing it all.” In fact, in spite of how happy everyone is, it’s a anomalous case study in role-reversal. Had you said that she was this super woman that did her degree on the internet during naptime over the course of four years that now lawyers from home during school hours, that would “doing it all.” As it is, all she has is a career and children that her husband care for. That makes her no different from any man with a housewife, except for the gender switch.
    If you want to discredit my position that a woman needs to have a career before children if she is going to have a children-first career WITH children, you should pick a better anecdote with which to do it and one that you aren’t so close to that you get all pissy when people point out the obvious.


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    Mother In Texas says:

    Jacqueline,
    I wasn’t disagreeing with you, I was defending my sister and saying that women can decide to pursue a career and still be a good mom.
    It’s not a sit-com life and you can stop belittling me and her.
    I’m a stay-at-home wife, mother and writer. I’m not published yet, but I’m working at it. So yes, I’m doing it all. I know (and know of) published women authors who do it all, too. (Christie Craig, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Lenox, Lynn Kurland…shall I go on?)
    I don’t care if a woman has a career first or is a mother first, what I care about is whether or not she has a good reason for making the decisions she made and whether or not she is a good and loving mother. Which, my sister is.
    Your decision is your decision, but you know, some women DO have a careers AND are loving mothers. Missed moments happen (even as a stay-at-home mom–you go to the bathroom and something cool might happen–the kids go out on an outing with their father, a cool moment might happen).
    But stop belittling me and my sister. Sure, I might’ve brought her up, but that wasn’t an invitation for you to make fun of her or her husband.


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    Jill Stanek says:

    Hey Pamela,
    I just rechecked, and the age I had down for Michelle, 44, was actually Jim Bob’s age. I’m reading she was born September 13, 1966, which would make her 43.


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    Jacqueline says:

    Mother In Texas-
    I would argue that you are doing it all. So you could easily use yourself as an example, only that your field doesn’t require 10 years of schooling and dues-paying in an office. Mine did, so I could not end up where you are and do it all unless I did the school/office stuff first. In fact, most professional careers involve a significant school investment up-front before you can do it on your own terms and pays enough to do it minimally.
    And being in an office/classroom is much more than going to the bathroom or missing something that happened with grandma and grandpa. We are talking 9 hours a day gone at a minimum. When I worked in daycare, Mom and Dad dropped junior off at 7 am and picked him up at 6, put him to bed no later than 8. So they are see the baby undressing and dressing him and on weekends. That’s not the same as missing moments here and there as an aspect of life. So I stand behind the fact that you either have to choose to miss MUCH in order to get that career if you have children during the getting phase even if you are getting to get to the stay-at-home mother phase. If someone other than you has the primary duty of taking care of your child, no way can you be “doing it all” simply because you have children.
    And I NEVER, NEVER said that you can’t have a career and be a loving mother. I’m saying that I couldn’t be the mother I want to be if I had to have a traditional job during motherhood. Many of the women that I love and respect have careers and are good, loving mothers. But they are also resentful that economic necessity forces them to be away from their children. It is not a choice they make- it’s a tragedy. And certainly if they had someone in the family that could stay at home because they didn’t require two incomes, they would do it themselves.


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    shirley says:

    Pamela – I would not discount adoption. Adopting children who are in foster care (children who have already had parental rights completely revoked) is FREE in most states. There are required classes, but these add up much less hour per hour when compared to time invested in traditional childbearing (i.e. prenatal care, delivery/hospitalization). There are many innocent children who have no family – and many will age out of foster care never having had a permanent home only because there were no adults willing to take them – wwww.adoptuskids.org.


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    Kristen says:

    And judging by the number of women that return to college/grad school around 45 after they’ve put their children through college (children whom they birthed in their 20s), trying not to broaden their horizons but FINALLY do what they have wanted to do for 20+ years but where unable to by their decision to marry and have a family first, I am more grateful that I was able to do all my schooling and career prior to motherhood.
    Posted by: Jacqueline at June 10, 2010 10:50 AM
    I totally disagree with this statement. I married when I was 22 and had baby #1 at 23. Babies #2 thru #6 followed quickly and then baby #7 came just two months ago after a 5 year gap. I have always taken college classes through my marriage (although I had a degree) because I wanted to broaden my horizens, but motherhood is all I ever wanted to do. Now, at 38 I am looking at degree programs only because I want to help my kids with college tuition, certainly NOT because I get to FINALLY do what I’ve wanted for 20 years. (I really can’t do anything with my undergrad degree.) For you to assume that most women going back to school are doing it because they were trapped in motherhood for years is presumptuous.
    And trust me, I heard PLENTY of people say that women who got their degrees before motherhood were wasting their education if they wanted to stay home with their kids. A bit damned if you do, damned if you don’t in my opinion.


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    Mother In Texas says:

    Jacqueline,
    Like I said, you choose to have a career right now and not be married and a mom, that’s your decision. I have no problems with that.
    What I should’ve said is that I don’t completely disagree with you and I don’t completely agree with you. There’s things you said I agree with and things I don’t.
    For example: I agree that a stay-at-home mom’s experience and a work mom’s experience are generally different (with good reasons).
    But by the same token, every mother’s experience is different, regardless of whether or not she works, since from what I know, no two women are entirely alike in absolutely everything.
    Just for the sake of information (not to be argumentive) you’re wrong in thinking we authors don’t spend a lot of time going to school or putting in hours in work. Sometimes we attend workshops or Conferences that last more than one day. (For example: the RWA’s Annual Conference lasts about 3 days and is full of workshops, book signings and sometimes authors pitching to agents/editors).
    Also, it really depends on the author (and their contracts and type of writing they do) how much time they put in learning their craft, research (some novel writers have to do research, like for instance, Historical), editing and writing as to how much time they spend working.
    I don’t disagree that stay-at-home mothers are more likely to have a more intimate type of experience than working moms, but at the same time, not every working mom is exactly the same and it really depends on what they’re doing and everything else.


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    Byzcat says:

    Kim, marriage is a vocation, not a competition, and careers are overrated. I’ve had a career, a business, and now I know that the MOST IMPORTANT THING other than God is the family. Children are a wonderful blessing — much more than any material goods or social prestige. Women have been deceived into believing that a career is fulfilling. A career doesn’t write you love letters, doesn’t hug you goodnight, doesn’t light up when you walk through the door. This whole culture is twisted and corrupted. Until we can fix the culture we will still have the selfishness of the feminists who work tirelessly to destroy the family through their wrongheaded materialism and pride. The IVF technology is only a symptom of a darker problem — dehumanization of both men and women. The sexes complement each other — it is diabolical temptation to place them in competition. Mary is the great model — loving service to your spouse and family. This will get us to heaven. Feminist resentment will not.


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    ycw says:

    CT does seem to have said it best…
    I married at 20 and it should have been earlier.
    My DH worked out a plan, complete with a spreadsheet, of how we could get married and he could support me. It included tithing.
    His dad told him he couldn’t do it, and we waited a year. During that year we did things we shouldn’t have, and I regret that. I think we would have been healthier in our attitudes towards sex and each other had we married when we knew we were ready at 19. Yes, some people are mature enough at that age. Am I more mature now? Yes, we all mature throughout our lives.
    We then proceeded to use birth control (which I deeply regret) for a year, and then had (gasp) “unprotected” sex for four years with no living children, because God chose to close my womb for that time. I finished a degree I decided that I did not want and did some time at jobs we did not need. We both knew we wanted kids, and after that window of most fertile time was over, God began to grant them to us. My daughter is 2 and my son is 6 months old today. I am 27.
    So no, you don’t always have kids when you are most fertile. I was infertile between 22 and 25 and then not.
    No, there is nothing wrong with marrying young. No, there is nothing wrong with choosing not to. Most people are still able to have children in their 30s. It might not be as quick or easy. I don’t think anyone is saying that people who put off having children to their 30s or 40s shouldn’t make that decision. They are simply saying that women should not be told they can just have kids whenever they choose. In your early 30s you will probably be able to have several children. In your late 30s it might not happen. In your 40s it is more likely natural conception followed by live birth won’t happen. We just want women to have these facts–and remember that finding someone to have children with (formerly known as a husband) may not be easy either. If one decides one is ready for marriage at 32–still quite young enough to have kids–and doesn’t find him until 35, and waits a couple years as she gets to know him… well, then she’s 37 or 38, and she may well not be able to have children naturally. We are not saying that Jaqueline (or others like her) are doing the wrong thing, just pointing out that her choice to wait (which I absolutely support since she is not doing anything immoral) might have consequences. And we argue against doing immoral things to overcome those circumstances. Jaqueline, I have nothing against you or your choices. But you may not be able to find a husband immediately when you are ready, and you already expressed a desire to get to know him before marriage. I certainly hope that God grants you all of your desires, but there are no guarantees. And as you mentioned, men can easily get married and still pursue careers and education. So many of those who desire marriage and children have already married. Many of those looking to get married in their 30s may have pasts, including past marriages. God can do anything, and your future husband may be a virgin waiting just for you. I believe God will send you what He has planned for you, and that His plans are good.
    I do take offense that people aren’t ready for marriage at 20. Maybe it’s because they aren’t prepared for it? Maybe you don’t give them enough credit? I resent that message. I resent it for myself and my husband, especially since we got that message very personally and listened to it, I believe to our detriment. I resent it for my daughter. I resent it for my son.
    I also resent the message that “old” people shouldn’t be having kids. I certainly hope that I have more children in my 30s, as I am approaching them. And I hope that God grants me children in my 40s as well. People are usually fertile from late teens to mid-30s, so guess what? God thought it was okay for them to have kids at all those times. And if they are fertile in their 40s, God intended that. If a couple conceives at 49, God intended it. They aren’t too old at all. If a couple conceives at 14, God intended it. They will probably grow up pretty fast. They will need help. We should give it to them. Help directed toward their eventual independence. (I suspect, as others have mention, age of first menarche used to be later, like maybe 16?) If my daughter were ready to get married at 16, she would have my blessing. If she did and then was pregnant a month later, she would have my blessing. If she continued having children into her 40s, she would have my blessing (and I would have a whole lot of grandkids :) We need to stop questioning God’s will–both those who question a person’s early marriage, or early childbearing, and those who question late childbearing, and those who rebel against the inability to have children by creating them with a staggering death toll.
    God is sovereign. He has a reason for the way He created our bodies, and we need to be aware of our biology and accept it and not question His wisdom.


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    Cindy says:

    This whole discussion is wrought with modernism. And modernism has rotted society to its core. I’ve been doing genealogy for years, and I always tell people the same things. Women have been having babies from their early teen years well into their 40s for AT LEAST that long. Lately, I hear all the same crap–be mature before you get married, be able to support yourself before you get married, yada, yada, yada. It all encourages prolonged adolescence in my opinion and has created this mess of a world we have made. The modern contraception age has separated the sex act from pregnancy. PERIOD!!! Now people think sex and pregnancy are totally unrelated. The only reason women can have careers and devote all their time OUTSIDE their household is because of contraception..PERIOD. Modernism, feminism, and hedonism are all closely related. Until people become willing to address it, nothing will get better. Women’s bodies are made to have babies–it’s the EXCEPTION when a woman can’t have babies, it’s abnormal, unusual, sad, diseased. Sadly we now have a whole society who think just the opposite. I’m 43 and currently pregnant with my 7th child. I was recently referred to as “ridiculous” for being pregnant at my age with my 7th child. Our society is so screwed up that we have really come to believe that women only have babies in their 20s, only have 2 or 3, and only when they are able to pay for them. I assure you, it hasn’t always been this way. I would MUCH rather have my 20 year old son and his pregnant wife living in my basement while he finishes college than have my 20 year old son shacking up with some 20 year old pre-law student who is contracepting so she can finish her education and have a practice, possibly leaving him dead in his tracks if he breathes the words “love”, “marriage”, or “lots of babies.” Feminism is simply one smelly fruit from a huge ole rotten tree.


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    Jacqueline says:

    Cindy-
    I think it’s very dangerous for you to suggest that it’s an either/or. It’s not marriage OR fornication. It’s not living with mom and dad while married instead of supporting one’s own new family OR shacking up. It’s not having a career BECAUSE of contraception and abortion or not having a career at all. I wouldn’t suggest what you say to be true unless you want to propagate the lie that human beings have no self-control. I am convinced that so many adults try to vindicate their bad choices and lack of self-control by victimizing children in this regard. Case in point: “Abstinence education is a joke because teens are going to have sex anyway. So we shouldn’t tell them not to, but give them condoms.” Your suggestion that its all or nothing, sexual immorality or young domesticity, reeks of the same mindset to me. I don’t think we have to choose between BAD and WORSE (a child and his wife living at home so they could marry before they were able to support the new family they made when they married= BAD or cohabitation=WORSE. The expectation should be higher than that. Wouldn’t you prefer a child who remains pure, that waits until after college to marry, leaves his parents, cleaves to his wife and is the head of his household? Is that too low an expectation?
    I have never shacked up or fornicated. I have a career and have NEVER used contraception. I have never had an abortion. I didn’t need to live off my parents as a married woman at 20 in order to not have sex and I don’t need to use contraception in order to support myself and have a career as a single woman. To suggest that my NOT marrying young and having a career is hedonistic or unnatural is uncharitable at best- my lifestyle is not a choice between BAD or WORSE or even GOOD or BETTER.
    I know a couple that married at 19 and had two babies back to back. Of course, Grandma is the daycare and their parents recently put a down payment on a house next door and are paying the mortgage so this young father can supposedly go to the police academy and be able to support the family they created. I hope he succeeds. But I ask, how is this better than if the couple waited just long enough to have finished school so he could support any children they might make? I really fail to see why a lifetime of celibacy is a reasonable expectation for a priest, but being celibate through skill-training or college is considered a ridiculous suggestion for youth.
    I am not a prolonged adolescent- I own my own business, teach at a university and volunteer in the pro-life movement, routinely throwing baby showers for women that had sex outside of marriage, have no means of supporting themselves and are dependent on such charity in order to live. I certainly do not find these women to be more adult than I am because of foolish choices they have made which their children will pay the price for. And a couple that falls in love at 18 and marries and has 3 children before they can legally make a toast, who struggle and work 2 jobs each to get by, while there is nothing wrong with that, it is not a lifestyle I would want for my kids and grandkids when the alternative of waiting a pathetic few years to have a degree affords everyone a better life.
    I have friends my age, also virgins, that have careers and ministries that are also not prolonged adolescents. In fact, it’s because we don’t separate sex and babies that oppose contraception and are looking forward to when we will get married and babies become our career. But our children will certainly not suffer because we became educated and obtained a means of support before we married and had children.
    I would LOVE to have 7 children. I’m starting late so who knows if that will happen, but I think it’s great that you have given your children so many siblings, your grandchildren so many aunts and uncles and hopefully cousins. I see nothing wrong with a married couple having a child at 16 or 56. I simply don’t think that the 16 year olds had to marry that young in order to not have a child out of wedlock, especially when those kids are making it damn near impossible to learn a skill and support those children they will make if they are sexually moral and do not contracept.
    Since marriage=sex and sex=babies, transitively speaking one has to be able to support babies and a wife that will need to be fed and sheltered while she births and cares for those babies before one marries. And as a woman, I know that if I want to have an education and a career, I also have to do it before I marry. I didn’t choose career over motherhood, but I am DAMN glad things have simply worked out that way. I might not be glad if 10 years from now I’m still not married, but since there is nothing I can do about that anyway, I will enjoy what my singleness affords me and not feel like I am worldly for having it.


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    MEL says:

    What is all this talk about women over 40 being terribly infertile? Let’s go back before the Pill, rampant STDs,and the Sexual Revolution, outside the polluted cities and disease-ridden tenement slums of the 19th and early 20th centuries and look at what age women were having babies.
    It was no shock at all for a woman in her 40’s to be “with child”. Alot of families seemed to have a gap in the ages of the children, where it is obvious that the last couple of children born were what we would call “menopause babies”.
    Happy, healthy married women who have had healthy pregnancies in their 20s or 30s can find themselves more fertile than they expected in their 40s.
    I suspect this “middle age infertility” problem is more fallout from the sexual revolution that gave us the Pill, abortion, new strains of STDs, and the demise of marraige and the family.


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    Sylvia says:

    “The most perfect wife and mother ever described in the Bible, the Proverbs 31 woman, independently purchased real estate, planted her own vineyard, and made and sold goods.”
    Correction: The most perfect wife and mother ever described in the Bible was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her job: wife and mother.

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