Mel Gibson, who looked like the very smug cat that got the cream, appeared on the Jay Leno show on Monday night to confirm something the media had already presumed to be true. At the age of 53 he was to become a dad again, for the 8th time over. With his children already ranging in ages from 10 to 26, and his new 39 year old girlfriend already having a teenage son with her ex ‘Mr Bond’, you have to ask why?
Why do so many people choose to have more and more children so late in their lives? And why would they even want to. Aside from the obvious fact that this planet is getting just a little bit overcrowded in certain parts, why do people, who should be enjoying their ‘golden years’ want to keep starting all over again? Of course in Celebrity land, this event wouldn’t even register on the ‘normality meter’. Juilo Iglesias Sr. became a daddy at 89, Paul McCartney at 61, Larry King at 65 and 66 and Charlie Chaplin at 73.
But even these walking advertisements for Viagra would have some way to go to beat the record for the world’s oldest successful sperm. That belonged to an Australian mine worker called Les Colley, who was 92 years 10 months when he had a baby with his Fijian wife in 1992.
I have to ask again. Why?
Anyone who’s ever had a baby will know that they just about zap the last drop of energy right out of you. In the early days of parenthood, you often find yourself drifting aimlessly around the house, closely resembling an unwashed tramp and wondering to yourself where you put that cup of tea you made 3 hours ago. You stare out of the window and imagine what the rest of the world is doing, while spending many hours sobbing over the fate of lambs going to slaughter, or the unimaginable horror of diminishing ice burgs in the North Pole. You sit and rock thin air to sleep, ‘sshhhushing’ anyone that dares walks past.
Yes indeed, babies certainly leave you jabbering away like an imbecile and running around in circles like a blue arsed fly with a serious caffeine addiction.
They need constant round the clock attention. Milk on demand, nappies to deal with the result of the milk on demand, and an enormous wardrobe of tiny clothes to keep up with the milk on demand, that somehow escaped the baby before the nappy could catch it. Exhausting just writing about it. And because of this busy bottle to mouth to bum lifestyle, babies require at least one full time live-in staff to wait on their every wish and whim. Needless to say this role doesn’t come with a 9 to 5 shift, compulsory lunch break and weekends off to hide away under the duvet.
More often than not babies can stay awake for, what can seem like anyway, months on end, and therefore so do you – the full time live-in staff. And the worst part of this not sleeping lark? When they do finally switch off for 30 minutes, either at night or in the daytime, you often find yourself so overtired and wired up on Red Bull, that you then spend that precious little time doing something completely pointless, like wiping down the fridge and defrosting the freezer. Or worse still you hover over them at blanket level, and try to determine whether their chest is still rising.
It’s really quite surprising that babies aren’t used in the global crack down on terror. Sleep deprivation is the cruelest form of torture, and most men, even those with militia background training, would crack in a matter of hours.
So all of that said, I have to wonder again why people choose to have babies so late in life. Why do some women, who have obviously opted for long and successful careers ahead of having a family, then turn around as they hit retirement age and think, you know what, now I think I’m ready to be a mum. Freedom of choice and all that, but how can that be right? Babies aren’t something that you fit in and around your workload and lifestyle. Surely if you’d wanted one that much, you might have thought to do something about it when you were still young enough to pass of as the mum.
Take Elizabeth Adeny for example, at 66 she is set to become the oldest mum in the UK. This lady, who is by all accounts a ‘wealthy divorcee businesswoman’, has obviously decided that she now wants to have her slab of baby shaped cake and eat it.
Given her age and the fact that most British clinics refuse to treat women over the age of 50, she had to leave the UK and go to the Ukraine to receive IVF. I do believe there’s a clue hidden away in the fact that she had to do that. Should those who receive concessionary tickets with SAGA and a bus pass really have the right to be checking into the nearby maternity ward – against the wishes of Mother Natures herself?
It does make you wonder whether she’s stark raving mad or just plain selfish. Mad, because most women in their 20’s 30’s and 40’s are run ragged and completely wiped out when looking after a baby all day, let alone a toddler. Selfish, because she will be coming up for 80 as her child hits their teens.
Given that Ms Adeny is single and has no other children, this child will be left with no family to call their own, at a time when they will certainly need one the most.
So I’d settle for selfishness as the underlying problem here. But I guess wealth can buy you pretty much anything you want these days, from the live-in nanny who she already has on stand by, to a second chance at experiencing those childbearing years she was too busy to appreciate the first time around.
Ms Adeney reportedly told friends she wanted a child so she has someone to “leave my money to”. You don’t need to have a baby to do that. Leave your money to a children’s charity, or a cat’s home. Or to those poor diminishing ice burgs up in the North Pole