READERS: Question of the Day – How Old Is Too Old To Make A Baby?

David Letterman had his first child at 56 years old. The average life expectancy of a male is 76 years old. At what age should a man stop having babies?

DL

4 thoughts on “READERS: Question of the Day – How Old Is Too Old To Make A Baby?

  1. The Perfect Storm hit me in my mid 40’s. I was widowed for a year, and went through mid-life meltdown at the same time. It was the perfect brew for trouble. I was in three different relationships with women literally half my age. One of them wanted us to have children. Thankfully some fifteen years before I had had a vasectomy. In fact I made a post of it called, “The Snip Snip Wasn’t Fun Fun.” She wanted me to have it reversed. I am so glad I never did. Starting all over when my own kids were grown and gone is just what I would have needed.

  2. Hmmm. Good question. I read a blog a while back written by an adult child of an older father. I don’t remember either the blog or the gender of the author, but he/she? expressed resentment that her father’s choices resulted in her not having a father as an adult. He’d passed away while she was in her twenties, and she always knew he wouldn’t be around for long. She said he’d robbed her of having a dad and wondered whether he’d thought of that and suggested that men should think long term about whether it’s a good idea. I think it goes back to that Chris Rock monologue where he says “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something.”

    If David Letterman only lives the average life span of a man, he won’t see his child graduate from college. Wow. He’s wealthy so he might live longer, but on the other hand, he has a heart condition, so . . . who knows. I guess statistically regardless of wealth he has less of a chance to see his kid graduate or meet his own grandchildren than he would if he’d become a father under 40. For the wealthy, though, taking away the stress of worrying about paying for child care, assistance, schooling, healthcare, etc., and also already having become established in a career and already having made a big chunk of change that will last a lifetime, the only real issue is the one that the rich cannot control — when the grim reaper visits. But in the meantime, the older wealthy father might be able to enjoy, and the baby benefit from, having a Dad who is already successful and independently wealthy and has the time to play. His “people” will take care of the other pesky concerns. That’s why they look so happy in the picture. He seems to be at a point in life where he can enjoy a kid. On the other hand, when David Letterman was 35 he didn’t want kids and probably wouldn’t have had or made time for them. That wouldn’t have been good.

    For a regular Joe, however, making babies that far along in life will guarantee a significant amount of stress — financially, medically, socially, etc. How many times have we all heard regular guys talk about when they’ll be able to retire, or bemoaning the fact that they can’t afford to retire for x years. Having a baby within 10 years of retirement may not be solid financial planning. It’s hard to raise a young child on social security, or retire when you have a two year old. Even if the mother, who, by biology, will be much younger, is making bank, she will also have responsibility for caring for young children and an aging adult and possibly her own aging parents. Or maybe the older dad can “retire” to stay home and take care of kids? That’s not retirement, that’s another full time job at a time in life when the dude might just want to relax. Stress. Stress isn’t healthy. So the grim reaper might come early . . . or the divorce papers.

    I don’t think David Letterman or the other rich guys who do this have this kind of real life stress. They make it look easy.

    So I guess, I wouldn’t say that there’s a cut off, but it depends on the circumstances and resources. And the older Dad has to acknowledge going in that his kid may not have a Dad at college graduation, and if the kid marries in his/her late 20’s or older, there will likely be no dad to walk his daughter down the aisle, or do any of the other things that parents of adults do for or with their kids.

    1. You make some great points!

      Yeah, I think after 45 nobody should be procreating. Men or women. I think it’s doing a disservice to the child when the parents die early in life. Boys need their dads not only growing up, but especially when they become men themselves. So a dad shouldn’t miss out on giving their son marital advice, or advice on fatherhood.
      Yes, rich fathers have help but they still won’t be around too much longer than the average father.

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