Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Babies…bringing joy or problems?

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Babies are very much in the news at the moment here in the U.K. following the birth of a new little prince. Prince George, as he is to be called, caused quite stir when he was born. The photos of all the journalists lined up outside the maternity hospital waiting for news of his arrival were amazing. I would definitely have felt more than a little daunted if I’d been his proud parents!

Babies bring a lot of happiness into the world although sometimes their conception can raise eyebrows. I read an article in a magazine recently about a woman who was about to give birth to her first child… at the age of 60! I have to confess that my eyebrows shot up and then I read the rest of the story about how she had always wanted a family but had never been able to have children because she had been caring for her sick and elderly parents. It made me ask myself if I was right to judge her. Surely she had every right to fulfil her dearest wish.

Another story in the papers (yes, I do read an awful lot!) is about the model Caprice. She is in her early forties and after having suffered a miscarriage a couple of years ago, she was told that it was unlikely she would ever have a child of her own. Her consultant advised her and her partner to think about surrogacy and that’s what they did. The went to the U.S and found a surrogate to carry their baby for them. Everything went smoothly and the woman became pregnant with their child almost immediately and then – lo and behold – a few weeks later later Caprice discovered that she was expecting a baby as well. Her two sons will be born a month apart, a doubly happy ending.

Her inability to have a child, is the main reason why the heroine in my latest book, The Rebel Who Loved Her, turns her back on love. Becky feels that it would be wrong to rekindle her love affair with Ewan when she can never give him the child he longs for. Is she right to feel this way? Do you think that children are such an important part of a relationship, that a couple can’t be truly happy without them?

I know what I think and I would love to hear your views on the subject.

Jennifer.
P.S. I make no apologies for the photo of my grandchildren. It’s just so lovely I had to share it!

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23 thoughts on “Babies…bringing joy or problems?”

  1. Hi Jennifer
    Lovely photo. Your grandchildren are gorgeous.
    When I worked in an IVF unit I saw loads of couples who for one reason or another, desperately wanted a child. There were older women, gay couples, even single women who hadn’t found the right partner. As a team we often discussed whether there should be a cut off point in terms of age but we decided that each case should be considered individually. All women, and their partners if they had them, were encouraged to have counselling prior to IVF which we felt was important, not least because a pregnancy could not be guaranteed. We also had an ethics group to discuss individual cases and all staff were encouraged to share any reservations they might have about proceeding with IVF in any case.
    The problem with an older woman seeking IVF, isn’t just about conception. As they get older they are less likely to sustain a pregnancy – and indeed if they are able to use their own eggs, the resulting pregnancy may have a load of other issues.
    A family member close to me had his first child when he was in his seventies to his much younger wife. It caused a few raised eyebrows at the time (as well as a splash in the tabloids) but he and his wife are still together and their son is a young man who anyone would be proud to call their son. They have done a wonderful job bringing him up and that, I am sure has a great deal to do with the time and devotion his father could give him.
    Ultimately I have always believed that I can’t pass judgement on anyone when I haven’t walked in their shoes as the saying goes. I don’t know what it would be like to be unable to have children so I can only imagine the pain infertile couples feel. My daughter, though, feels that there are so many children looking for loving homes, that we should spend more effort making adoption easier. And she’s right. But that doesn’t mean adoption right for everyone.
    Finally I know many childless women, some who have chosen to be childless, some who just never met the right person, and they all seem happy and contented with a life without children – as they should be.
    So no easy answers to your questions. I do think if one half of a couple desperately wants a child and the other doesn’t, then it could become a major issue in their relationship later, especially if one half has always believed they could talk the other around.

    Interesting post.
    ps So we are going to have a King George the third!

    Anne x

    1. Hi Anne,
      What an insightful reply! Working in IVF must have been both rewarding and heartbreaking at times. My views echo yours – it’s up to the individuals concerned and it’s not up to me to pass judgement when I haven’t been in their position.
      Jennifer

  2. For us we wanted a family and after many many different treatments we decided on adoption and we have two gorgeous girls and are very happy. I think we probably would have stayed together, we have a very strong relationship but would we have always felt as if there was something missing? who knows, thank goodness we never had to find out.

    Congratulations to William and Kate on their lovely little boy, good luck to them,lets hope the press leave them alone.

    1. Hi Sharon,
      It must have been hard undergoing so many treatments but how wonderful that you ended up with the family you wanted. I do think a strong relationship can survive most things, and indeed it can bring a couple closer to have to face major problems like infertility. However, it must be hard and I feel great sympathy for those folk who cannot have a much-longed-for child.

      Jennifer

      1. yes 6 years of treatments was hard work and emotionally draining, followed by depression, what a surprise, lol. My girls are growing up now one at high school and one in the last 2 years of primary. Lots of challenges along the way but I wouldn’t have missed a moment. They are our pride and joy. I too feel sympathy for those who long for a child and find it difficult to conceive and whilst things have improved in fertility treatment there are more and more people who have fertility issues. I’m grateful for the fact that talking about fertility is at least no longer a no go area but I still wish that people would stop using the word “real” when talking about birth parents. I am a real parent and I feel that in this day and age people should realise that families are made in lots of different ways 🙂

        1. Sharon, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to cope with your disappointment. However, the fact that you have two wonderful children speaks volumes about your strength of mind. No wonder your girls are your pride and joy. They are so lucky to have you for their mum although I expect you feel that you are the lucky one!
          love to you all,
          Jennifer.

  3. You’re right, you should share those delightful little faces as much as possible! Adorable.

    With the need for so many kids to have homes, these days, I think two opened minded people could adopt a child and love the child as deeply as their own. In my opinion, once adopted the child belongs to the parents as much as a baby born to them.

    Halle Berry is another woman having a second baby late in life. She is 48, though she looks ten years younger. I thought I was pushing it having my kids in my mid thirties. I cannot imagine the lack of energy I would have felt having given birth in my mid forties. There’s a reason pregnancy is for the young! 🙂

    My question to the 60 year old woman having the baby – is it fair to the child to have a grandmother-aged woman as a mother? Who will run and play with the child? The woman may grow ill and become a burden to the child just like her parents were to her. The child may be an orphan in his/her teens. The baby may be born with serious health issues or mental challenges, and who will take care of the child once the mother passes away? So many questions.

    Some of these questions can be asked of all pregnant mothers, but in particular of someone pushing the odds well past the mark.

    1. Lynne, you are so right about the lack of energy you have as you get older. I know from looking after my grandkids that I have far less energy than I had when looking after their mother. I always end up having a nap on the sofa after they go home! I think I would need to think very hard about all the points you raised if I was contemplating having a child at my age.
      Jennifer.

  4. Those wee grandchildren are adorable 🙂
    What a very thought provoking blog. I don’t have any answers, I’m afraid- and I guess that’s why there are ethics committees and discussions like this- it’s an area where every single person’s circumstances are different. But I do know couples who have broken up over the issue of infertility, who couldn’t sustain a relationship under such pressure and who dropped (fertile) friends along the way because they couldn’t bear to see their peers pregnant. I guess in a world where there are fertility options and breakthroughs there will be people trying hard to beat nature – but this often comes at a cost. I know when we faced the possibility of infertility there was a definite change in focus in our relationship and lots of questions and frustration and anger- which inevitably added stress.
    On the flipside I also know very happy and content childless couples who have amazing full and free lives- I absolutely don’t think a child is so integral to happiness that a couple can never be whole without one.

    1. Louisa, I agree that a child isn’t a guarantee to a couple’s long-term happiness. If that were the case then there would be far fewer divorces. I have friends who chose not to have a family and they have a very strong marriage. However, it must be incredibly stressful for those who would love to have a family and it simply doesn’t happen. Thank heavens for all the advances in fertility treatment. They have brought happiness to so many people.

      Jennifer

  5. Jennifer, those grandchildren are adorable!
    My husband and I faced 7 years of infertility. We are busy investigating overseas adoption when I got pregnant. Luckily, we managed to have two children. I am pretty certain our marriage would have survived no kids. We were already doing respite fostering, so there are ways of having children in your life other than biological. Looking back though over the last 19 years since our first son was born, had we not involved children in our lives in any way, I think our lives would not have been so rich. Sure, on a rational level, kids are a drain of time and money but we have learned so much from raising ours and I think it has made us less selfish and more understanding human beings.
    WOW that got a bit heavy!
    And now back to regular programming…. 🙂

    1. Not heavy at all Fiona, just words spoken from the heart. I feel the same, having children enriched our lives even though my husband and I didn’t plan on having them when we got married! Obviously, fate had different plans for us :>
      Jennifer

  6. Jennifer,
    I love the grandkids pic. I have to show mine off also. I do think a couple can be happy without children. But there are a lot of ways to be a parent. Adoption is a wonderful one. Being a foster parent. There are even teenagers that need someone to just care.

    1. Susan, I’m sure we would all love too see your photos. You must post them so we can see the little ones.

      Adoption and fostering are both options aren’t they. I have friends with two adopted children and they couldn’t be happier – them and the kids!

      Jennifer

  7. Sue!!!!! They are adorable!!!!!!

    Its finny isn it, but despite the old Republican in me there’s nothing I love more than a royal baby, or a royal wedding for that matter. I don’t mind George as a name and I love that Wills and Kate didn’t keep everyone hanging on forever for a name 🙂

    Like a lot of things fertility is something we take for granted until we don’t have it. My brother and his wife had a decade of heartbreak and despair trying to have a baby before their gorgeous little girl was born in May. I think it’s definitely an issue where individual couples decide what’s right for them.

    The thing I object to is the octo-mum disgraceful debacle a few years back. I think those doctors were criminal in their endeavours and should be stripped of their licences!

    1. Amy, I’m not a royalist either but the pictures of Wills and Kate with George were lovely as are most photos of new parents and their offspring. Ditto what you said about not making the world wait to hear the baby’s name. I hate it when that happens. I mean everyone has a list of names even if they haven’t pared it down too the final choice!

      I think there has to be a cut-off point for providing fertility treatment. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!
      Jennifer

  8. Hi Jennifer – your grandchildren are gorgeous!!

    Great blog topic, too – I’m not much of a royalist either, but I wish William and Kate every happiness with their new baby George and it’s lovely to see them together with him. As to your question – I think that everyone’s different. Some couples are happy without children, and others endure such heartbreak when they cannot conceive. It’s wonderful that modern medicine, and options such as fostering and adoption, can offer greater choice and opportunity to everyone, although of course there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that choice!

    1. Hi Annie,
      Everyone has been so lovely about the pic I added of Max and Isobel. I think they are gorgeous and it’s great to know I’m not alone!
      I too wish Kate and William every happiness with their new baby. And hope that the media isn’t too intrusive. It’s nice to see the odd photo but I would hate them and the babe to be hounded.
      Ditto everything you said about modern medicine. At least people have more choices these days and that has too be a good thing so long as they are responsible choices.
      Jennifer

  9. Thank you for sharing that gorgeous pic of your grandchildren, Jennifer! They look so adorable and angelic, as though butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. I’m sure the adorable part is true, but I imagine they have their less than angelic moments! 😉

    Hey, that’s a really big tough question you’ve posed in your post and you’ve had fabulous answers here. I’m inclined to agree with Annie – everyone is different and aren’t we lucky to live in a time when there are so many options. While I think a happy family with children is a beautiful thing, I don’t believe couples can’t be happy without children.

    1. Sharon, Max and Isobel may look like little angels but they get up too all sorts of mischief, believe me!
      I agree with what you and Annie said. Couples can be happy without children especially if that’s the course they have decided to take.
      Jennifer

  10. Jennifer, your grandchildren are gorgeous!!

    I’ve loved reading everyone’s responses. When my husband and I got married, neither one of us wanted children (we’d both had fairly difficult childhoods and worried whether or not we’d make good parents). Six years later, we both reversed our decision and decided we did want them after all. We had a great support system of friends, by that time and were more confident in our abilities. It was the right decision at the right time for us. We’ve never regretted it.

    There are so many decisions to make about if, when, how many, what to do if there are difficulties etc. In the end, it’s such a personal decision, and I feel for those couples who struggle to conceive. Thankfully there are many options today, including adoption (and so many children needing homes).

    1. Tina, I didn’t want a family when I got married, not because I’d had a difficult childhood – far from it. However, five years down the line I changed my mind and I was so glad that I did. I was one of the lucky ones, though, and had no problems. It’s the poor folk who go through so much and possibly fail to conceive who I feel so sorry for. It must be heartbreaking. I’m so glad it all worked out for you in every way.

      Jennifer

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