At the age of 52, Natalie Massenet (pictured with her partner Erik Torstensson) has just had her first son, with the ‘generous’ help of a surrogate
You’re a woman contemplating late middle age, the kids are well past the needy stage, capable of feeding themselves and even beginning to find you annoying.
You’ve got a nice fat bank balance, a lovely home and a closet full of designer clothes. What on earth could be missing in this perfect life?
The answer-increasingly – is a baby. Not a child discarded by other uncaring people. Not a child fleeing a war zone or poverty. Not child who’s lost their mum and dad.
Rich fifty-something mums want a mini-me, a baby they can claim as their own.
It’s a mystery to me why any woman past a certain age would want to go to all the bother of having a child.
Why not get a pet? Something that doesn’t dribble, answer back or refuse to take your calls.
A pet will be devoted, and (I guarantee) will always be around at mealtimes, more than you can say for most teenagers.
It might seem illogical, but I completely understand why gay couples want kids once they have married – for so many it is a fulfillment of a long-cherished dream, an option that wasn’t legally possible a decade ago.
Harder to understand – at least for me, a successful career woman (four husbands no kids, two step sons along the way) – are the alpha females who’ve spent most of their working lives fighting their way to the top, slogging their guts out, putting in 18 hour days as routine- who get to their mid forties and start getting broody.
Often, these women even had a husband and kids the first time around. Are these late-life tots the latest must-have trophy, like a swanky boat or a nail bar in your own home? Instead of a safari, or a lap pool, why not rear a child and pay for servants to do the graft?
The latest high profile older mum is Natalie Massenet, who started the luxury website Net a Porter back in 2000 – building it up into a global empire, eventually selling a £50 million stake in the business for a fortune.
Today, she’s said to be worth a cool £950 million, with a gorgeous partner, 38 year-old photographer Erik Torstensson.
Ms Massenet made the announcement on her Instagram page and said ‘Erik and I are so proud’ to welcome their first son
Honoured by the Queen for her contribution to the fashion business, Dame Natalie has two daughters by her first marriage of 17 and 11 – yet, at the age of 52, she’s just had her first son, with the ‘generous’ help of a surrogate.
On Instagram she describes the little boy (named Jet Everest) as ‘a much longed-for addition to our family’.
Another high profile British career woman, Dame Julia Peyton-Jones, who ran the Serpentine Gallery in London for 25 years and was the most powerful woman on the British art scene – stepped down from her job to have a baby daughter at 65.
Janet Jackson – who is not short of cash and a wealthy husband – had a baby son at 50, and film star Halle Berry became a mother at 47.
Next January, a surrogate will give birth to a son for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – the couple are said to have paid 68,850 dollars to an agency and 45,000 dollars to the woman carrying their child.
Kim, is unable to carry another child for medical reasons- and both her mother and her older sister already offered to be surrogates.
Janet Jackson (pictured) – who is not short of cash and a wealthy husband – had a baby son at the age of 50
Perhaps Kim Kardashian’s desire for a third child at 36 is understandable – but once a woman has had the menopause, I’m not so sure.
Huge advances in fertility treatment mean there will always be a doctor somewhere willing to help a desperate woman have a child – either by regenerating their womb, implanting donor eggs, or it’s so much easier these days to find a surrogate.
Broodiness seems to increase, not diminish with age.
In the UK, the number of women giving birth over 40 now outstrips the number of women under 20, and the number of mums over 45 has risen by a third in a year.
According to one pundit, 50 ‘is the new 40’. The stigma attached to being an older mum has all but vanished – but it should be noted that most of these older mothers are financially secure – how else could they afford IVF or surrogate fees?
Also, it seems inconsistent to moan about a woman choosing to bring up a baby in her fifties, when older dads never get pilloried.
Rod Stewart fathered his 8th child at the age of 66.
Women are having babies late in life, because they can afford to – but I would argue it is a controversial decision.
In the UK alone, over 70,000 children are in care, of which roughly 3500 are under a year old.
That breaks my heart- children who should be growing up in a secure and loving environment, being looked after by charities and local authorities.
No matter how kind and supportive the staff will be, that’s no substitute for a home. It has to be easier to adopt. The photographer Rankin has said that our obsession with selfies represents a ‘huge wave of narcissism’- and perhaps giving birth at 50 also reflects our inward looking society. It’s all about us.
I’ve never wanted to produce a baby to validate myself, and I wonder how many of these older mums just can’t face getting wrinkly and senile all by themselves?