Fatherhood Dilemma

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rgcarr
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Fatherhood Dilemma

Post by rgcarr »

I am a 52 year old man and I’ve never been married but have been in a number of relationships, it’s just that none have as yet got to the stage where we were ready to make it to that. Needless to say, the pandemic and the lockdowns have put a stop to seeing women over the last year but I intend start looking again as soon as conditions allow. I have always wanted children of my own and in the past I have discussed that with those with whom I was in relationships. This desire (i.e. to have children) remains as strong as ever and I know that I have the energy and the youthful mindset to bring up children despite now being over 50. I know a number of men who have fathered children at my age and considerably older and really enjoyed it and done a good job of it.
Of course biological reality means that if I am to realise my lifelong dream, I would have to find a much younger partner. In fact I have already let go of a number of relationship opportunities with women closer to my own age because my desire for fatherhood proved to be too much for me to give up. Some friends in whom I’ve confided have advised me that I should now accept that my chances of fathering children are now probably gone and that I am foolish in turning down what might be good relationship opportunities. I have seriously considered that a number of times in recent years but every time I do so the desire to have children keeps getting the better of me. What should I do, should I just accept that I am now probably too old to start a family of my own and maybe settle with a partner close to my age (a number of whom would have been willing to be with me) or keep trying to fulfil my ambition, like other men I’ve known have done and look exclusively for a younger partner so that I can do that? If it’s the former, I think I would need some kind of counselling if I am to be able to form a relationship with anyone and forever relinquish my hopes of fatherhood and if it’s the latter should I set myself an age limit beyond which I should no longer keep trying?
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Re: Fatherhood Dilemma

Post by snail »

I think you have a number of options, all of which have upsides and downsides. To start with the more obvious one of finding a younger partner: the downside is, to be safe, she would have to be about 20 years younger than yourself. That's a big gap, and it will feel a big gap. She'll be the same age as your friends' children, and the dynamic between you won't really be that of equals. Plus you would have to find someone suitable, which may not be easy, since a 32-year-old woman would prefer to have kids with a man her own age, all things considered. Of course many men of that age aren't willing to have kids, and this is a constant problem for women in this age group, so that is a big thing in your favour. If you don't mind the potential downsides of this situation, then I think, because time is pressing, I would make finding someone a priority. I would be open about your motives and hopes, and try to attract a woman who values a man who really wants to be a father. I know from experience that finding men like this when you're in your 30s is not easy for women, and that is where you will score.

A related option, if you are well off financially, is to simply use a surrogate, and become a single father. I believe this is legal in the UK, provided that only expenses are paid. There's a fair bit of info online. This would be in some ways be easier and in other ways (parenting on your own) harder.

The other option is to find a woman in her 40s who wants to have children, say perhaps 10 years younger than you, and accept that fertility treatment may be needed. Obviously there are risks with this approach, but such a woman should be easier to find and more satisfying as a companion and co-parent. I think I would personally favour this approach - I have several female friends who started their families in their 40s without problems - but of course it does risk wasting your time.

It might be an idea to have your own health and fertility checked. Because men don't have a menopause there is sometimes this idea that their fertility remains the same, which is very far from true. If it turns out that you would need ICSI in order to conceive, then you would need fertility treatment with any partner whatever their age, and that might help you choose the best option.

With regard to your friends advising you to forget the idea, I don't think you should pay attention to this, provided that you are completely sure yourself that having a child is what you want (bearing in mind that, like any domestic dream that is finally realised, it will mostly be about messy, mundane and tiring tasks in the day-to-day). It's very easy for people to advise you not to do something out of the ordinary - the idea of someone doing something unusual makes them slightly uncomfortable, and after all, the loss isn't theirs. It's no skin off their nose. If they haven't experienced this issue, they aren't likely to understand it. If you know - really know - in your heart it's what you want and you can do it well, then I think that's all you should listen to.
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.

Najwa Zebian
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Re: Fatherhood Dilemma

Post by reckoner »

Great advice from Snail.

I had both my kids after turning 40 and got pregnant easily both times, so I can give you an idea of what a relationship might have to contend with in that scenario because compatibility is always important when choosing a partner but, if parenthood is your most important goal, then the various aspects become more important and wide-ranging.

A pregnant woman is classed as geriatric over age 35, though if all signs are good, the pregnancy will probably be left to follow its natural course all the way. Over 40, though, with you also being older, and more tests and interventions such as induction of labour will be offered or recommended to avoid the increased risks of complications and stillbirth. The older you get, the more tense the experience, even with a healthy baby. You may both be perfectly happy with everything that is recommended but being able to talk things through and support her with any decisions that need to be made will be important.

If you both have different views, priorities or concerns during the pregnancy, you will have to consider that your baby is being carried in her body. As well as maternity care, there might also be questions of lifestyle she'll have to consider like exercise or drinking coffee or alcohol. For example, she might think the occasional small glass of wine with dinner is ok, but you might prefer zero. It's her body so will you need or be able to negotiate things like that?

Compatibility of parenting strategies will also be important. Personally, I didn't want children at all until I'd found someone to have them with who had the same views and ideas about raising them as I did. What those individual strategies might be is, I think, less important than being on the same page about it. Rows between you about being too strict or too soft, or how a daughter is treated compared to a son - how you approach any kind of problem at all - will be far more incendiary than any rows you might have without children. And even if you find someone who seems to share your views on parenting, I can assure you that something will take you by surprise. You will find things out, about kids, yourself and each other, that you could never have guessed, perhaps unpleasant things. I'm nowhere near as patient as I thought I was, for example. If there is conflict between you on how to manage children, not only will it cause stress in your relationship, contradicting styles will confuse and destabilise your child, and they are also likely to play on it.

What about how many children you have? Having one is less work, but they'll need you for company much more than if they have siblings. Have more than one and you'll both be older and the stresses and risks of pregnancy and birth increase. It's exhausting, the drudgery increases exponentially and you'll both be even older. I think you'd need to know if you have the same ideas on this.

And when Snail talks about "messy, mundane and tiring tasks", there really is no underestimating the hard work, especially with more than one. It's manual labour.

Then the issues of compatibility between you just as partners comes back into it as the kids get to school age and you aren't dealing with them 24-7 anymore. Nothing kills romance more comprehensively than kids so still being able to enjoy each other's company is important.

This is not intended to put you off, believe it or not! Nor is it meant to question the realism of your desire to have kids. I'm sure you'd make an amazing father and chances are you'll be able to handle whatever your kids throw at you (literally as well as figuratively) because you'll love them unconditionally.

But your relationship with the mother won't have the same kind of guarantee. Relationships are hard work at the best of times and you're looking to jump in at the deep end. If you aren't able to work together to deal with complications and solve problems, you could be left feeling isolated, frustrated and anxious while managing the greatest responsibility you've ever had. If the relationship goes very wrong, you might even split up and have divided custody of the child(ren) you've longed for all this time.

Again, I don't mean to be negative but because you haven't found a partner yet, and having children seems more important than romance, I wanted to make you aware of things I imagine you haven't considered, or that your mature father friends may not have been completely open about. Because looking for someone with whom to have children is, I think, a compatibility test on steroids. If you have any doubts, it's better to have them now than at a point in the process when there's no going back.
Dave777
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Re: Fatherhood Dilemma

Post by Dave777 »

There are plenty of men become fathers in later life even well after 52, your fertility is probably going to be OK as long as you are reasonably fit, finding the right partner is going to be the main challenge. A childless partner 40 yrs old that wants children, many will have children with another man, maybe that will be OK, although it brings its own challenges. There is no reason that a younger partner might be attracted, plenty of younger women are attracted to older mature men, as long as you realize that your life is going to change greatly.

No more single free and easy lifestyle, you have to commit to family life to make it work, at 52 you should have accumulated cash and property, security for your soon to be family, women will be attracted by that, if you havn’t it’s just more difficult to find the right woman
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