Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things NOT To Do When You're 70

Here's a disturbing headline for you: Indian Woman Gives Birth at Age 70. And with each and every disturbing headline comes a ridiculous sub-title! (Yours to keep as your free gift!) The subtitle reads: When is too old to have a baby? Hmmm. I'd guess that there are probably lots of answers to this question. And if that's the case, I'm going to say that at least one of the answers is seventy!! Actually, I'd like to amend that answer just a bit. I'm going to go with "seventy....duh!" Are you kidding me?!

I am not. It would seem that, according to the folks across the pond at The Telegraph, a one Rajo Devi, "...who married 50 years ago, gave birth to a baby girl on November 28, and is now thought to be the world's oldest new mother." Well, I should hope so! I'd hate to think that there is someone older than seventy out there who is currently in the middle of a human gestation period. Seventy? What is wrong with you? All of the physical mechanics of such an ordeal aside, why would any woman at seventy years old want to not just raise a child, but let it grow inside of her for nine months before expelling it out her uterus? Why? (I realize that I have permanently set up camp in the section reserved for folks who have no idea why anyone would want to do the whole childbirth thing ever. But that doesn't mean I'm not capable of recognizing reasons other than my thinking the whole situation is untoward. I can be appalled and neutral.)

Were you wondering how a 70-year old woman gets pregnant? (Ew!!) Well, it wasn't the good old fashioned way, unless you consider fertility treatments to be "the good old fashioned way". According to a one Dr. Anurag Bishnoi (Translation: Dr. Something Unpronounceable), "Rajo Devi and (her husband) Bala Ram approached the centre for treatment and the embryo transfer was done on April 19." "Embryo transfer?" Was it on a bus? A subway? Why was it transferring? This is where things started to not make complete sense. In the seniscal sort, of course. Having a child at age 70 doesn't make any sense, but there are other things as well that I question (shocking, I know).

The article states that, "It was not clear whose egg and sperm were used in the successful treatment." Wait! Hold on there, cowboy! Back up that rickshaw for a moment. It wasn't her egg and it wasn't his sperm? Well, that would make sense, considering eggs, just like those you buy in the grocery store, do have an expiration date at some point way before 70. Sperm has an expiration date as well, but the shelf life of sperm is longer than that of the egg and also you cannot buy sperm in the grocery store, thank God. But that would mean that she was, quite literally, just a host. Which leads to the question "WTF?"

See, if it is someone else's sperm and someone else's egg, you're getting a kid that is totally different than the one you and your spouse would have produced. In that case, there is absolutely NO need for you to tote that kid around inside of you for nine months. None. The hostess had said, "We longed for a child all these years and now we are very happy to have one in the twilight years of our life." Twilight Zone, perhaps. Did they not know of other options that are available for having a child without physically giving birth to what amounts to someone else's child? I mean, sure, it's her oven, but it's totally someone else's bun.

Actually, these folks seem to be confused on the whole concept altogether. This is an avenue that they pursued before deciding that childbirth at 70 was the way to go: "Devi's husband, aged 72, had also wed his wife's sister after 10 years of his first marriage did not result in children. His second wife also failed to become pregnant." So.....what now? He...he married his sister-in-law? While he was still married to his barren wife? I'm failing to see how that is going to make the situation better. It certainly can't do much for one's morale when your husband, whom you are presumedly still married to, is off attempting to impregnate your sister who (I'm assuming) is a willing participant is what seems to be the Indian version of the Jerry Springer Show. All we need now is a fistfight and a couple of chairs thrown across a stage and we're there!

"The couple said they were facing social stigma for being childless for the last 55 years." Were facing? As in "going to face"? Or "had been facing" up until this time? Because it's worded as if the whole "social stigma" hadn't kicked in yet, but they could see it coming. I can't imagine that would be the case unless there's, perhaps, a 56 year cut off for childless couples before they are subjected to stigmas socially? I don't know. Personally, I'm kind of thinking the guy just wanted to sleep with his sister-in-law.

Look, seventy is pretty old to be trying to do many physical activities. And while I don't advocate just sitting around and getting old, most physical activities that you can do when you are 70 do not put another human's well-being smack dab in the middle of your uterus. Unless there has been a drastic change in how children grow up and are raised, I'm pretty sure that they still need someone to raise them! Those are the kind of things that I think of. They are not the kind of things that these people think of, as evidenced by Ram's statement that he ".....wasn't worrying over who would look after the child if they died. The upbringing of the child is not a problem. We have a joint family as is common in rural Haryana." Well, that would explain all of the fornicating with the sister-in-law.

But he's missing the point. Sure, the 'joint family' can raise the child, it takes a village, blah, blah, blah. The fact is that it is difficult for almost everyone when a parent dies and it is almost always more difficult for a child when a parent dies. Just because you're being raised by your village doesn't mean that you are not going to wish that your parent had not died. And that doesn't happen just when you're a kid; it happens when you're an adult as well. (Look, I had 37 years with my Dad and it wasn't nearly enough. If I had only had, say, 7 years with my Dad, I think I would have felt cheated.) And the average life expectancy of people living in India is around 62.8 years, a figure which both of these folks have already exceeded by 8-10 years, so don't expect them to be around when the kid turns 5.

This is just selfish. That's all it is. People that have children or father children when there is no way that they are going to live to the point where the child is well into adulthood are just selfish. What is even the point of bringing a child into the world when you're not going to be around to raise it yourself? (And I think that about people who are young enough to be bearing children. If you're not going to raise it and take care of it and support it, why in the world did you have it?)

But there's something odd going on here. And not just because the chick is 70 and dude is 72. The picture doesn't look right. What's the deal with where the kid's hand is supposed to be? It's not there! And the guy has this look on his face like he's getting away with something.

Actually, a bunch of folks in this photo look like they're getting away with something. And what is with the woman's hand down there by the baby. That's not a hand! I'm not buying it. I don't know what's up with all of this, but if it comes out later on that they faked the whole thing up, you read it here first.

You know, there are many differences between the people I know who have children and this selfish couple in India who are far too concerned with their own "social stigma". It's not like I didn't know that my buddy is a good mom. But it's when I get to see her in action as the mother of her grown children (18 & 20? I think. Close enough.) that my level of respect for her in general just skyrockets. The time that she takes to think about them and to talk to them, the amount of effort that she puts into maintaining excellent relationships with them, and just seeing how obvious it is that she loves them unconditionally with a love that comes from the very core of her soul. It's absolutely incredible. That child-bearing, multiple-wife keeping, senior citizen couple over there in India could really stand to have a little sit down chat with my friend. I guarantee that they'd learn something of immeasurable value.

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