'Have I been selfish?': Parents and children share experiences of older parenting

Janet Jackson and her husband, Wissam al-Mana Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Singer Janet Jackson and her husband, Wissam al-Mana, are expecting their first child

Singer Janet Jackson has officially confirmed that she is pregnant with her first child, at the age of 50.

In many countries, it is becoming increasingly common for women to have children later in life. In England, the rate of babies born to women aged 45 and over has climbed by more than a third since 2009.

We asked older parents - and children of older parents - to get in touch with their experiences.

Ouvrielle Holmes's father was 69 and her mother 46 when she was born in Vancouver, Canada

Image copyright Ouvrielle Holmes

Ouvrielle, is 48. Her parents returned to the UK when she was two and she now lives in Devon.

She feels that she missed out on the chance to know her parents as an adult.

"When I was 13 or 14 the doctor told me that I couldn't upset my father because he might have a heart attack.

"I supported my mother looking after my elderly father all through my teens.

"My parents were exhausted. But the biggest thing was knowing how old he was and that he would likely die before I was grown up.

"I lived in fear of this and prayed every week he would live another week. And I could tell they lived in fear of it too.

"He died just before my A-Levels, when he was 86 and I was 18.

"I then spent the next 25 years, on and off, looking after my mother. And I had an elderly mother to look after while I had my own young children and was earning a living."

"I adored my parents, and my father was very hands on because he retired when I was two. But life was stressful for them and I never had an adult to adult relationship with them.

"I went straight from them looking after me to me looking after them."

Luisa Pagnotta from Florence, Italy gave birth to her second child at 53

Image copyright Luisa Pagnotta
Image caption Luisa Pagnotta with her daughters in California

Luisa is now 60 and moved to London from Geneva two years ago.

She had her first child at 40 and used a donor egg to have her youngest daughter.

She does not think older women should be deterred by their age if they want to have a child.

"It was hard for me to adjust at 40 to a life with a baby. I felt my freedom was gone forever.

"I still remember the first time we went for a walk together. That day I discovered her as a companion and a little wonderful person who loved me and who I loved too.

"When I decided to have another child, at 48, it was unfortunately too late for my own eggs. I made an attempt with IVF with no success.

"However, I am very tenacious and I did not want to give up.

"Unbeknownst to my partner, who was sceptical about a donor egg, I made an appointment in New York.

"A few months later, we went back together with our elder daughter and it worked at the first attempt.

"I was 53 when she was born. She is now seven - a beautiful, happy, caring child.

"Both my daughters are the joy of my life and now I couldn't imagine my life without them.

"Have I been selfish? I don't know.

"What I do know is that I will always be there for them irrespective of my age and that I feel and look at least 10 years younger, possibly because they keep me young!"

Magda from Middlesex, UK had her first child when she was 20 and her second at 44

Image copyright Magda

Magda will be 50 in February.

She was concerned about the potential complications that older women can face in pregnancy before she gave birth to her second child.

"I was very young when I first got pregnant. I winged it the first time round, though I was very mature for my age.

"I was incredibly fit when I was pregnant with my second child but I was really worried about problems because I was going to be an older parent.

"Things have changed so much in parenting between the time I had my first daughter and my second.

"You're learning over and over again.

"But I'm a lot more relaxed now."

Produced by Chris Bell, UGC & Social news team

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