Becoming a mother at 51

When Estonian TV journalist Hille Karm (51) heard that she and her 65-year-old partner would have twins, she thought it was a miracle. But, these days, having children at a later age is the new normal.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Becoming a mother at 51 - NewsMavens
Twins. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Karm and her partner Ilmar Taska were expecting doctors to ask them whether or not they were planning to keep the babies. But no one questioned their decision to go through with the pregnancy -- a reassuring signal for Karm, who was made to feel like she was not too old after all.

"We had heard that some doctors disapprove of older women giving birth," Taska said. The twins, a boy and a girl, were delivered with a C-section, and Taska is happy that he was able to witness a birth for the first time in his life. "To experience something like that when you're 65! I recommend it."

In 1973, when his first son was born, he wasn't allowed to see him for weeks. Now the hospital is full of fathers.

"Actually I would like to encourage women to have children at this age. Their fears are holding them back!" Karm says.

Details from the story:

  • In 2016, the average age of women at childbirth was 30.6 years in the EU, according to Eurostat.
  • Women giving birth in their 50s is still extraordinary, one of Estonia's most well-known and loved midwifes, Ferenc Szirko, says. Within the past 15 years, only eight women who gave birth were over 50 in Estonia.
  • The problems older mothers-to-be can experience are the same as young pregnant women, they just occur more often. 
  • The average age to give birth is on the rise: 15 years ago, it was 27.5. Two years ago it rose to 30.5 in Estonia. 
  • The number of mothers below 20 has dropped four times in 15 years.
  • The number of pregnant women in their 40s has increased by 2.5 times.
  • Hille Karm and Ilmar Taska have lived together for six years and didn't plan to have children. They both have children from previous relationships. Taska is already a grandfather.
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