July 13, 2012

Nona Willis Aronowitz’s July 8 Outlook commentary, “What to expect when you wait to have kids,” was the first time I had heard from the children of “old” parents. Small consolation to Ms. Aronowitz, but before my husband and I became very old parents we considered all the reasons not to have a child at our age. What persuaded me to go ahead? Living in Kabul for a year. Seeing families that had raised children during 30 years of war made concerns over a child of relative privilege having an old parent seem rather meaningless.

I adore my son and want the best for him. Yet his future may include an early burden of parental care. We have planned as much as possible to reduce the financial burden on him. And my son has a wonderful relationship with his 92-year-old grandmother, with cousins, aunts and uncles. Yet he will face, mostly on his own, the burdens that Ms. Aronowitz noted. We can only hope that, by that point, he has found the kind of partner whom his dad and I found late in life: someone to share the good times and bad and the pain of watching loved ones decline.

Thanks to Ms. Aronowitz for making such a clear statement of her experience with this aging-childbearing trend. Hopefully, it will help those considering this path reflect on all the pros and cons.

Shirley Marshall, Alexandria