Gransnet forums


Having older parents

(21 Posts)
Eleanorre Mon 10-Jun-13 22:04:17

Did anyone else have an '' old'' parent. My father was a widower when he married my mother 20 years younger than he was. Thy lost a son to stillbirth then eventually I was born when my dad was 54. Looking at men that age now they do not seem like old men but my father was not in the best of health and I do not think he really wanted a ''new'' family as he had two grown up sons. He was short tempered with me and I admit to not having a single happy memory of him. I was 12 when he died and cannot say I missed him at all . I vowed never to marry anyone a lot older than me and I did not .
All I wanted for my children was a ''normal'' childhood and I hope they got it.
My worst memory of him is being sent out to look at a cat that had been killed on the road to see if it was mine . I was 9 !

Tegan Mon 10-Jun-13 22:13:58

My dad was 50; I think it affected me in that he seemed so old I always thought he was going to die and for that reason have always been afraid to care for someone too much in case I lose them. The strange thing is that he actually lived to a ripe old age and outlived my mum. But it certainly shaped me as a person. However, unlike your father Eleanorre my dad was a dear, sweet, gentle man; I was the much longed for child [he had been married before in a childless marriage but always wanted children]. As you say, 50 isn't old for a father these days is it. How things change.

Stansgran Tue 11-Jun-13 14:54:06

My father was widowed in the flu epidemic. He had one child who was brought up by his mother . When he remarried there was bad feeling and his mother made all sorts of excuses not to relinquish the child. Post war my mother then had two children in quick succession. She was convinced she was menopausal . I don't think they ever recovered although looking back I think they were proud of us and did their best. It's only now that I have come to realise what they were like as people. My father died in my teens when I was very antagonistic towards him(in my head only as I was a polite child) and I realise I like the pictures he chose and the books he offered me and like him I never finish anything.

loona Wed 12-Jun-13 01:07:17

Not so old as some but I had my last child at 40 and am now 64. My first was when I was 20 and the next at 37 & then another at 40. Am 64 now. We have talked about this age thing and they have said it's something they have never considered a problem. My eldest live far away and phones regularly and visits when she can and the middle one sees me every week at the very least but often more and my "baby" lives at home. I am not as healthy or fit as I used to be but my kids still say I am fun to be around. Oh I feel so lucky.

KatyK Wed 12-Jun-13 10:54:47

My mum was 44 when she had her last child, the last of 7. She had a hard life and always looked terribly old. My friends at school used to say 'I saw you with your nan'. I am now ashamed to say I was mortified.

harrigran Wed 12-Jun-13 17:26:27

My mother was 47 when she had my younger sister. My elder sister was almost 16 and people often made the mistake of thinking she was the mother of the younger sibling. The birth left my mother with health problems and probably ultimately weakened her heart. A woman of that age would not be left to give birth at home now.

ninathenana Wed 12-Jun-13 19:17:16

DH was 43 and I was 37 when our youngest was born. I don't think it affected any of our relationships.

It dose mean that we are older grandparents though which can be exhausting smile

Tegan Wed 12-Jun-13 19:24:55

When I was doing the driving round in the early hours of the morning bit when my lot were teenagers I couldn't understand why the parents of one of my daughters friends refused to do late night/early morning pickups. But they'd had their son quite late and were in their sixties. I understand now. I don't think age matters these days when a lot of people start families so much later and we all seem to have a much younger outlook, but when I was a child 50 really was old [or more like nearly sixty which is the age my dad was when I was more aware of things].

Sook Wed 12-Jun-13 20:22:34

My mother was 41, dad was 45, both of my parents died before I was 30. There is a 15 and 18 year old gap between me and my siblings.

I was teased at school because my parents looked old enough to be my grandparents and I think my mother in particular was embarrassed at being an older mother.

I always felt that my mother made more fuss of her grandchildren than me, her youngest daughter ( I became an aunt at the age of 5). I didn't have a close relationship with my mother, but I loved my dad who always seemed to have time for me.

Also if parents are getting on in years when they have a baby, then usually the immediate family will also be much older, my cousins were all much older than me and we had nothing in common.

Times change and 41 and 45 is no great age to have a child in this day and age. I had mine at 26 and 28 and had no desire to have any more after 32.

petallus Wed 12-Jun-13 21:22:44

A friend who is 66 has two young children aged 1 and 3, his first.

Bags Thu 13-Jun-13 06:00:14

sook, your mother is the first person I've heard of who had an eighteen year gap between two of her children. The first person, that is, apart from me. The gap between eldest DD and youngest is nearly twenty years. eighteen between DDs 2 and 3. Youngest DD's view of the matter is still morphing. While she was at primary school, she was quite proud to have "the oldest mum" (told everyone!) and, what's more, a mum who was older than some of her friends' grans. Then, at secondary school during her first year, she made friends with someone whose mum is "even older". Last time I took her to the orthodontist, which involves her walking beside me in Glasgow, she said: "Can you be my gran, please?" wink

Bags Thu 13-Jun-13 06:02:43

PS There's eight+ years between DD3 and GS1, but at twelve she lives on a different planet from him at three and a big half.

absent Thu 13-Jun-13 07:19:23

My parents were 39 when I was born, their second child having lost a son between my sister and me. The war was to blame really as they married in 1937 and just about the time they were thinking about babies, along came Adolf. My sister was born in July 1945. I was 28 when I got married (for the first time) and 32 when absentdaughter was born. She, on the other hand, has wasted no time - at the age of 30 she has five children, aged 11, nine, six, five (on Saturday) and one.

I do have a friend - who is probably the most beautiful woman in the world and, damn it, smart as well - who has three children with seven years between each. The offspring are doing well and the last time I saw her, she looked about 25.

I have four grandchildren sleeping over tonight (the other is at his dad's, absentdaughter's first husband) - to free up mum and dad to carry on sorting out the move to their new house. Why would anyone choose to have babies in their fifties, never mind the test tube/surrogates in their 60s and 70s?

Bez Thu 13-Jun-13 08:21:46

Bags my mother was the eldest of seven and was almost twenty when her youngest brother was born. I think she did a lot of the bringing up of him and they had a really special bond. There must have been a similar age gap between the eldest and youngest of my Dad's family too. My mother was 33 when I was born but she had a couple of miscarriages and was 38 when my sister arrived. It seemed to me that many of my friends had parents of a similar age and the 5 or 6 year age gap between siblings was also common because of the war although my Dad had remained at home because of being in a reserved occupation.

Bags Thu 13-Jun-13 08:28:44

I think twenty years between an oldest child and a youngest in a large family is (or was) quite common. But an eighteen year gap between adjacent siblings is quite rare. I have yet to come across another example of it, though I'm sure there are some.

My gap woudn't have been so large without miscarriages. I'd given up thinking I could stay pregnant (getting pregnant wasn't a problem!). I didn't start young (mid-twenties); I just finished late!

Maggiemaybe Thu 13-Jun-13 09:21:22

My mother was 21 when my sister was born and 35 when she had me. That seems no age at all now, but in those days I was always conscious of her being much older than my friends' mothers, and I was sometimes teased. I don't remember anyone mentioning my dad's age, and he was 40 when I was born - older fathers used to pass without comment.

And my poor sister had to contend with a few comments too. One dotty relative of my husband's announced when she met my sister that she was far too old to be my sister and "must be" my mother. Charming! My sister and I had to share not only a bedroom but a double bed for some time, which caused untold problems (me surrounded by my dolls, her sitting up trying to revise for exams beneath her Adam Faith posters), but we are very close now and have been since I hit my teens. And I was very spoilt by boyfriends trying to ingratiate themselves with her in her teens!

mollie Thu 13-Jun-13 09:29:51

My OH was 20 years younger than his eldest sibling and 15 than his closest... He arrived unexpectedly when his parents were in their 40s and believed their family long completed. I think there were good points and bad about the situation such as growing up with nieces and nephews very close in age made up for being in effect an only child. Sadly, it seems his parents were pretty old in their attitude and he says his brother and sister-in-law were more like his mum and dad.

Our only GC is in a similar situation but for different reasons: a second marriage, step children aged 19 and 17 and a mum who is older than dad produce the same result but a whole different outlook.

laidback Fri 14-Jun-13 00:06:35

My mum was 18 when she married, my dad was 10 yrs older. She had 3 children fairly quickly then I arrived in her late 30's. There is a fifteen year age gap between me and my siblings. I was only a toddler when they went off to uni and explore the world. To be honest I'm not close to my other siblings.I probably have friends I know better.

The bonus, I was very close to my Mum, my dad died when I was 8. I suppose it must feel like an only child. I never thought of my mum as old coz we had such a great time together.I miss her loads now and think about her often.

seasider Fri 14-Jun-13 01:31:42

My youngest son was born a week after his sister's 21st birthday. He was a lovely and unexpected surprise at 45. I found parenting ideas so different after such a long gap!. We did worry that he might suffer from having older parents but his older siblings make sure he is bang up to date. He oldest nephew ( he has three so far) is only 2 years younger so he has always had other children to play with. Unlike younger parents we were not struggling to buy a house etc and we are so much more laid back than with our older children. We think he keeps us young smile

seasider Fri 14-Jun-13 22:55:31

felt my age tonight when DS was encouraging me to listen to his favourite rapper! grin

janerowena Sun 16-Jun-13 18:24:27

I was 29 when I had my first and 39 when I had my youngest and can't say i felt much different, I certainly had enough energy and when my grandchildren come to stay, they come for a week and I don't find that too tiring either. I'm not brilliant in the mornings because i am stiff with arthritis, but am a night person so even being a taxi for my son is not too bad as long as it's not too often and he turns up when he says he will. The arthritis has aged me recently, I can see that in photos. I could easily pass for 40 until five years ago, now I think I look more my age, but I do know several women who had their children when they were in their 40s and my son thinks nothing of it. Age generally doesn't seem to worry him, he will talk to anyone. I did wonder if he would mind as he became a teenager, because I was, to my shame, very age-conscious and very proud of having a very young pretty mother. My father was much older than her, and he did find us very wearing and was always threatening to send us to boarding school. He used to retreat to his study and we had to be very quiet on family outings, so didn't enjoy them much. When he wasn't around my mother let us run riot - her way of rebelling against him, I think.

It's probably why I married someone much younger than me this time round. More stamina. grin