Created By: alnair20aug93 on April 6, 2018 Last Edited By: alnair20aug93 on yesterday

Absurdly Elderly Mother

When a woman older than 50 gives birth to a child.

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How Did We Miss This One? No Launching Please
Women past their mid-40s and early 50s go into the stage of menopause, where the menstrual cycle stops completely, barring any production of egg cells, so they can't have children at that point.

Not for these women. The thought of having children at an age beyond 50 is very unlikely. They're old enough to be grandmothers, but unknown to them, their biological clocks are still ticking. That revelation can cause several reactions; It's a wonder especially for an old woman who longed for a child, and it's a shock for another old woman who had children to have another one at that age.

Can be Truth in Television in part because menopause takes time and occurs at different ages depending on the woman. Note that women over 60 will have a slimmer chance to be impregnated naturally, so artificial means such as in-vitro fertilization. This can also be possible if the mother uses eggs from a donor, although the child will not biologically be hers. And being pregnant and giving birth at such an old age in both cases, can cause health risks. Both Writers Cannot Do Math and Artistic License Biology can also be a cause of this.

The Other Wiki has a list of mothers who gave birth over the age of 50. Guiness World Records, however, refuses to accept a number of well-known historical cases due to suspicion that they might have been cases of Family Relationship Switcheroo to cover up a younger family member's out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Related to the Law of Inverse Fertility and Surprise Pregnancy. Contrast Absurdly Youthful Mother.

Examples:

Film
  • In Father of the Bride: Part II, George is worried enough that his daughter is having a baby, but after mishaps like selling the house, now he's getting more stressed that his wife Nina, who thought that she was entering menopause, is also pregnant.

Literature
  • In The Belgariad and Malloreon:
    • Sorcerers stop aging at an age that "feels" right to them, so the eternally youthful Polgara the Sorceress is able to have twins at the end of the series, when she's well over 3000 years old.
    • Discussed at the end of the Malloreon when the Happily Married Garion and Ce'Nedra realize the implications of being, respectively, a sorcerer and a Dryad with the life expectancy of an oak tree. They're wryly told to get used to child-rearing.
  • Discworld:
    • Nanny Ogg continued to have children into her fifties, and it is noted that this is not unusual in the very rural part of the Disc she lives in, nor for witches in general.
    • Sybil Ramkin-Vimes is in her very late forties at least before she has her first child. Reality Ensues when she has serious complications during the childbirth, though both she and the baby fully recover.
  • Justified in Honor Harrington due to life-extension therapy, "Prolong", being commonplace in the setting: it extends both life expectancy and fertility.
    • When Honor is believed to have been executed as a war criminal by Haven State Sec in Echoes of Honor, her 97-year old mother agrees with her father to have another child as a solution to a Succession Crisis in Honor's Steadholder title on Grayson (one of her cousins got her Manticoran titles). They end up with twins.
    • Honor herself is 68 when she has her first child with Hamish Alexander.
  • In The Left Hand of Darkness, Genly hears at one point that the king of Karhide is pregnant. He finds it funny. For the androgynous Gethenians it is also funny, but not because he is pregnant; rather, because he is well above forty. For them, mid-twenties is the age when they usually stop trying to conceive, and forty tends to be the menopause.
  • Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Beverly Crusher is 57 when she delivers her and Jean-Luc Picard's first child in Paths of Disharmony. Justified due to the Enterprise crew's youth having been extended by exposure to technobabble in Star Trek: Insurrection.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: In Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Cordelia plans to have a baby while in her 70's by using a Uterine Replicator. As a Betan her life expectancy is around 150.

Live Action Television
  • An episode of Chicago Med has a couple in their fifties come into the hospital with the wife suffering from a mystery ailment. At one point, she gets up to go to the bathroom and releases a lot of fluid as soon as she gets out of bed. Dr. Choi realizes that the "urine" is actually amniotic fluid and immediately gets her to the maternity ward.
  • Due to writers not being great at basic math; in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Keiko's mother apparently gave birth to her while in her sixties as her mother is said to be celebrating her 100th birthday during the episode "Dax" and Keiko is in her late thirties or early forties.
  • In the The X-Files season eleven finale episode, planned to be the series Grand Finale, "My Struggle IV" Scully is pregnant at age fifty.

Religion And Mythology
  • The Bible:
    • Sarah had a child at the age of 90. Prior to that, Sarah forces her slave Hagar to sleep with her equally elderly husband Abraham, and Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. After Sarah sends Hagar and her child away, out of jealousy, God tells her that she's going to have a child, which Sarah laughs it off due to being too old. She gives birth to Isaac, whose name means "she laughs".
    • In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel tells the priest Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth is going to have a child. Even though the couple had prayed for a child for many years, Zechariah finds this unbelievable, since they are both old, to which Gabriel renders him mute until the child, whom they named John, is born.

Real Life
  • Janet Jackson gave birth to a son named Eissa al Manna at the age of 50.
  • Gender-inverted through the US President John Tyler, who had 7 more children from his second wife, four of which were born at the last decade of his life. His son Lyon had two surviving children from his second wife.

Alt/redirect titles:
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • April 6, 2018
    CrypticMirror
    Due to writers not being great at basic math; in Star Trek Deep Space Nine Keiko's mother apparently gave birth to her while in her sixties as her mother is said to be celebrating her 100th birthday during the episode "Dax" and Keiko is in her late thirties or early forties.

    In the The X Files season eleven finale episode, planned to be the series Grand Finale, "My Struggle IV" Scully is pregnant at age fifty.

    ''Discworld" character Nanny Ogg continued to have children into her fifties, and it is noted that this is not unusual in the very rural part of the Disc she lives in, nor for witches in general. Also Sybil Ramkin-Vimes is in her very late forties at least before she has her first child.
  • April 6, 2018
    Chabal2
    Franken Fran: One chapter has Fran come up with a way for children to be deliberately delivered prematurely in a maggot-like form before being incubated in a cocoon for several months. As she's presenting the technique, the audience all get nauseous and leave except for one, an aged woman who ends up stealing the project for herself. At the end of the chapter, it turns out the process was fundamentally flawed (people are a lot more careless with a cocoon in an aquarium than a pregnant woman), but she doesn't care about them: her only desire was to become a mother despite her age. When the baby emerges from the cocoon, it seems to have melded with the cocoon's DNA to produce an insectoid hybrid.

  • April 6, 2018
    JoeG
    • Vorkosigan Saga: In Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Cordelia plans to have a baby while in her 70's by using a Uterine Replicator. As a Betan her life expectancy is around 150.
  • April 6, 2018
    4tell0life4
    It helps that, in the bible, the life expectation (and likely the age where a woman can bear a baby) is higher than nowadays (i.e they age slower). Especially for Abraham's era.
  • April 7, 2018
    Nazetrime
    Both Writers Cannot Do Math and Artistic License Biology can be a cause of this. The page for Surprise Pregnancy also mentions that the trope can be Truth In Television in part because menopause takes time and occurs at different ages depending on the woman.
  • April 7, 2018
    AnitaShower
    Professional Wrestling
    • One of WWE's most notorious angles involved a seventy year old Mae Young giving birth to a human hand in 2000. She gave birth in the New Year's Eve special episode of RAW in 2012 to a New Year Baby (portrayed by Hornswoggle). The hand baby's father was Mark Henry, but the New Year Baby wasn't addressed.
  • April 7, 2018
    MathsAngelicVersion
    Absurdly Elderly Mother is a better name than Mom Looks Like A Granny. The trope is about women who give birth late — not mothers who merely look old.
  • April 7, 2018
    Omeganian
    In The Left Hand Of Darkness, Genly hears at one point that the king of Karhide is pregnant. He finds it funny. For the androgynous Gethenians it is also funny, but not because he is pregnant; rather, because he is well above forty. For them, mid-twenties is the age when they usually stop trying to conceive, and forty tends to be the menopause.
  • April 7, 2018
    WhirlRX
    Inverted in an episode of Golden Girls. Blanche believes that she is pregnant when she is actually going through menopause. Instead of being relieve, she end up getting depress because she think she lose her sex appeal.
  • April 8, 2018
    BKelly95
    Live Action Television
    • An episode of Chicago Med has a couple in their fifties come into the hospital with the wife suffering from a mystery ailment. At one point, she gets up to go to the bathroom and releases a lot of fluid as soon as she gets out of bed. Dr. Choi realizes that the "urine" is actually amniotic fluid and immediately gets her to the maternity ward.
  • April 10, 2018
    StarSword
    Literature:
    • Justified in Honor Harrington due to life-extension therapy, "Prolong", being commonplace in the setting: it extends both life expectancy and fertility.
      • When Honor is believed to have been executed as a war criminal by Haven State Sec in Echoes of Honor, her 97-year old mother agrees with her father to have another child as a solution to a Succession Crisis in Honor's Steadholder title on Grayson (one of her cousins got her Manticoran titles). They end up with twins.
      • Honor herself is 68 when she has her first child with Hamish Alexander.
  • April 10, 2018
    intastiel
    Regarding the Discworld example with Lady Ramkin, Reality Ensues when she has serious complications during the childbirth, though both she and the baby fully recover.
    • In The Belgariad and Malloreon:
      • Sorcerers stop aging at an age that "feels" right to them, so the eternally youthful Polgara the Sorceress is able to have twins at the end of the series, when she's well over 3000 years old.
      • Discussed at the end of the Malloreon when the Happily Married Garion and Ce'Nedra realize the implications of being, respectively, a sorcerer and a Dryad with the life expectancy of an oak tree. They're wryly told to get used to child-rearing.
  • April 11, 2018
    pointycatears
    Real life example: Also possible if the mother uses eggs from a donor, although the child will not biologically be hers, and being pregnant and giving birth at such an old age can cause health risks
  • April 16, 2018
    Palindromee
    I feel like “absurdly” is a bit of hyperbole. Suggesting “improbably” instead.
  • yesterday
    StarSword
    Literature:
  • yesterday
    NateTheGreat
    Plus, y'know, medical technology in the 24th century is better than ours and people in general live longer. Keiko O'Brien's mother was in her sixties when she had Keiko, etc. Plus Insurrection made it clear that all of the rejuvenation will wear off when they leave, it takes years and years for effects to stabilize.
  • yesterday
    intastiel
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9f29dk0kzo27i4oira4vn8hd