A woman from Andhra Pradesh has given birth to twin baby girls at the age of 74. According to a news report, Erramatti Mangayamma and her husband E Raja Rao, who is 80, have become first time parents well into the eighth decade of their lives. Mangayamma, who underwent menopause some 25 years ago, conceived through in-vitro fertilisation, using a donor egg and a sperm from her husband. Mangayamma’s determination to become a mother at such an advanced age is amazing. It takes a lot of courage to embark on a journey, which is relentlessly exhausting.

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • Erramatti Mangayamma gave birth to twin girls at the age of 74.
  • She and her 80-year-old husband have become parents for the first time.
  • Should we be questioning the decision of this couple to embrace motherhood, just based on the age factor?
  • One cannot fully understand Mangayamma’s strong desire to embrace motherhood, unless one has led the life that she did, as a childless woman in India.

Mangayamma, who underwent menopause some 25 years ago, conceived through in-vitro fertilisation, using a donor egg and a sperm from her husband.

Many may argue if it is fair to the children, to have such old parents. After all childbirth is just a start to a lifelong journey. What follows after it are years of childcare, which take a toll on parents both mentally and physically. Every new development, every age presents a parent with a new challenge. Will the seventy something parents be able to do justice to their children? Will they be able to rear their girls with the same energy and enthusiasm, as say a twenty, thirty or forty something parent would? Besides, at such an advanced age, parents may have to deal with their own health struggles sooner or later, and they certainly need to have a long term plan in place to ensure that their daughters have a secure upbringing, no matter what circumstances arrive.

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But then again, aren’t these challenges something each parent has to face, irrespective of their age? Physical fitness can be an issue with even young parents who don’t pay attention to their health. It is to be noted that Mangayamma had no health complications such as diabetes and hypertension even at 74. Elderly people with a disciplined lifestyle are much fitter than most of us cannot even boast to be, even in our fourth or fifth decade. Also, if the couple decided to take such a life altering decision at this stage in their life, they must have thought it through.

Physical fitness can be an issue with even young parents who don’t pay attention to their health. It is to be noted that Mangayamma had no health complications such as diabetes and hypertension even at 74.

If a couple is willing to brave judgemental social gaze, age and their own health to embrace parenthood, one can only imagine how badly they must want to be parents. Should we judge them for not being able to go of their desires? Should we question how well they have thought this through? Won’t that be as unfair as judging a couple for not wanting to have a child? The social conditioning tells men and women in India that parenting is the ultimate goal of their lives. That is why we get married, in the first place, to start a family. Imagine having to live your entire life under social scrutiny of not having children, and you’ll understand why this couple took such a step.

Thus, to each his own. We are in no right to question or criticise the couple for their decision as we do not know the life they have lived. If we are so concerned about the well-being of their children, then why not contribute. Children are a society’s responsibility too. Those close to the family can step in to help the couple and help with child care. The girls are already in the world, so instead of wondering whether they should have been here in the first place, let us think about what can be done to ensure that they have a happy and healthy future.

Image Credit: New Indian Express

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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