My GP Could Not Believe I Wanted a Baby at 46, but I Wouldn't Be without Edith for the World; as the Creator of Bridget Jones Falls Pregnant at Nearly 50 .

Daily Mail (London), May 25, 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

My GP Could Not Believe I Wanted a Baby at 46, but I Wouldn't Be without Edith for the World; as the Creator of Bridget Jones Falls Pregnant at Nearly 50 .


Byline: MARTINE OBORNE

BRIDGET JONES, currently heavily pregnant in her latest diary incarnation, would no doubt be proud: at the age of 48, her creator Helen Fielding is pregnant with her second child.

So what is it like to have a baby at a time when most women are looking forward to a quiet life?

Novelist MARTINE OBORNE, 48, lives in London with her husband Peter, a journalist, and five children, Catherine, 19, George, 17, William, 15, Matilda, eight, and Edith, one. Here, she describes her experience of giving birth in her late 40s . . .

LIKE Helen Fielding, I was significantly the wrong side of 45 when I had my last baby. I remember breaking the news to people and watching them struggle to do the mental arithmetic. Exactly how many years was it since my 40th birthday party?

'Poor you,' said some friends. 'What a nightmare going back to sleepless nights and nappies when you could be going back to work or taking amazing holidays - enjoying yourself.' I have to admit it was a shock when I first saw that thin blue line in the pregnancy test display. How would my ageing body cope with the stress of pregnancy and looking after a young child? How long would it be before I got to make that journey through the Sinai Desert I had been planning?

In the early months, I often felt like complaining, but I soon realised how many of my fortysomething friends were really quite envious of me. Not only did they assume I have the most amazing sex life, but many admitted to wanting another baby. They had thought they were too old, but the news of my miraculous conception was a source of renewed hope.

I once overheard someone say to a friend: 'Well, don't give up hope - do you know how old Martine was?' This, of course, made me feel ancient, but not as old as my 13-year-old son made me feel when I told him the news and he ran off to get his Guinness Book Of Records - convinced I was the oldest pregnant woman of all time.

My GP's reaction was hardly more reassuring. He automatically assumed I would want an abortion and refused at first to refer me to a hospital for antenatal care - until I'd had a chance to reconsider. He did not understand why, with four children already, I would 'choose' to have a baby at my age, even though it had been something of an accident and not really planned.

And so I set off for my first antenatal appointment in trepidation. I kept thinking about the doctor who had called me an 'elderly primigravida' when I was expecting my first child at the age of 29 - so what would be said now?

I'm not sure that I envisaged a crash team surrounding me on arrival and insisting I spent the rest of the pregnancy lying in bed, but I did expect at least some veneration.

The Afro-Caribbean midwife laughed, however, when I told her my age. 'My sister was 52 when she had her last one,' she said.

Medically, I was told, it should be a normal, straightforward pregnancy.

I was booked in for the usual tests and all went well. Until I told my doctor that I did not want an amniocentesis, which is designed to test for Down's syndrome in the foetus, the risk of which increases with age after the mid-30s. Suddenly my age became a real issue.

'But Mrs Oborne - a woman of your intelligence, surely you realise that at your age. . .' Exactly, I thought. There is a onein-100 chance of miscarrying a healthy baby as the result of an amnio - and that was a chance I did not want to take.

'But, at your age,' the doctor continued, 'the chances of chromosomal abnormalities . . .' I would just have to take that risk, I replied.

Could he not see that the risks of abnormalities may be higher for a woman over 45, but it is actually harder for a woman over 45 to do anything that would risk losing her baby? And if she had the test and found the baby had a disability, would she terminate the pregnancy - knowing she had little chance of conceiving again?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

My GP Could Not Believe I Wanted a Baby at 46, but I Wouldn't Be without Edith for the World; as the Creator of Bridget Jones Falls Pregnant at Nearly 50 .
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?