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Absurdly Elderly Mother

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"Are they gonna live happily ever after, Mama?"
"Of course, my dear. Of course."

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.

Note that this does not apply to immortals, and thanks to medical advances in a future setting, women living longer may also be a Justified case of also extending the viable child-rearing age.

Can be Truth in Television in part because menopause takes time and occurs at different ages depending on the woman. Women over 60 will have a slimmer chance of being impregnated naturally, so artificial means such as in-vitro fertilization are highly recommended. 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. Guinness World Records, however, refuses to accept a number of well-known historical cases due to the 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, Surprise Pregnancy, and But I Can't Be Pregnant!. Contrast Absurdly Youthful Mother.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece: Big Mom is in her late sixties, but has given birth to numerous children in spite of this, with her youngest child Anana being eight years old.
  • Justified in Ooku. Due to the Gendercide plague killing off the vast majority of men in Japan, the shogunate has been transferred to the female line. Even though the country is globally at peace, the need to have heirs and many of said heirs dying before adulthood results in some shoguns getting pregnant at advanced ages.
  • In Vagabond, "Granny" Hon'iden always seemed old to be the mother of Matahachi, as even when the story begins she's a Miniature Senior Citizen and he's in his late teens/early twenties. Justified by The Reveal that she isn't actually his biological mother, and instead adopted him as a baby in a desperate attempt to keep her family name from dying out.

    Comic Books 
  • In Superman's story "Cries in the Night", Supes flies Jimmy Olsen home after an adventure and meets his mom. Mrs. Olsen's hair is white. Superman's face registers clear shock at seeing that his young friend's mom looks like a grandma, but he covers for himself by saying he wasn't told she was so youthful and lovely. That said, Jimmy's mother mentions that she was only eighteen when Jimmy was born.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Laverne & Shirley fanfiction Bookends, Laverne gives birth when she's 42, nearly 43. This really isn't that old but it's treated as a late pregnancy.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Mrs. Potts appears to be fairly elderly, yet her son Chip is an elementary-aged kid (and her eleven kids seem similarly aged).
  • In Spirited Away, Yubaba has a giant baby, despite appearing grandmother-aged.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • In Here Comes the Boom the plot is set in motion because music teacher Marty's wife gets pregnant despite being in her mid-40s, causing Scott to take up MMA to raise money and save his school's music program and guarantee his friend's job and financial future. It's even lampshaded when Marty gets a text from his wife and asks Scott if that's possible.

  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Dorna Swyft's youngest daughter Janei is born in 296 or 297. It's stated in The World of Ice & Fire that Kevan Lannister met his wife in 261 or earlier and by 266, they were already married. Even supposing that he developed feelings for her when she was a prepubescent child (which goes against everything that we know about Kevan Lannister) and she was twelve at her wedding, it makes her forty-two or forty-three at Janei's birth, and if one goes for the more realistic scenario and assumes she is around Kevan's age (he was born in 244), she is by that time in her late forties or early fifties.
  • The Belgariad: Sorcerers stop aging at an age that "feels" right to them, so Polgara remains youthful for 3000 years and is able to have twins at the end of the Malloreon sequel series.
  • Discworld:
    • Downplayed with Sybil Ramkin-Vimes, who 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.
    • The witch Nanny Ogg continued to have children well into her fifties; it is noted that this is not unusual for women in her rural homeland, for reasons that aren't explained.
  • Harry Potter: The titular character’s paternal grandparents were older, even by wizarding standards when his grandmother, Euphemia, gave birth to his dad, James. Considering that James’s dad, Fleamont, was an adult in the 1920s (his name appears in both Fantastic Beasts films) and James was born in 1960, she was probably at least sixty when he was born (assuming Fleamont and Euphemia were roughly the same age).
  • Justified in Honor Harrington due to life-extension therapy, "Prolong", being commonplace in the setting: it extends both life expectancy and fertility. 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.
  • Patternist: Anyanwu is 300 when the series begins and continues to have children for centuries afterwards. Justified since she's a powerful Biomancer with perfect control over her body, so it's easy for her to make herself fertile and healthy, even when she chooses to look elderly on the outside.
  • In the Danielle Steel novel Sunset in St. Tropez, the wife of one of the three vacationing couples is stunned to learn that she's pregnant at 47, after years of not conceiving even when she was younger.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • All My Children's Opal is stunned to learn that she's pregnant in her early 50s, after weeks of what she assumed were menopause symptoms. Her husband Palmer is a male example — after getting over his suspicions that she cheated on him (he thought he was sterile), he's still not too keen on becoming a father at his age (70-something).
  • Another World's Rachel conceives twins in her early 50s. When viewers scoffed at this, the writers pointed out that this echoed her mother Ada, who had her sister Nancy at the same age. note 
  • General Hospital's Tracy Quartermaine gave birth to her son Dillon at 45, prompting a guest at her son's christening to ask if she was the grandmother.


    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible (note that both cases were Mystical Pregnancies):
    • 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, to 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.

    Web Comics 
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The pregnancies of a couple of female characters from the Distant Prologue come across as having happened quite late in their lives:
    • Ingrid is on the lower end of the trope, as she looks to be in her very late teens or early twenties in Year 0, while her son Trond is 67 in Year 90. This puts her pregnancy in her early forties at the earliest.
    • Mia is a straighter case, as she was seven years old in Year 0 according to invokedWord of God, but her son Torbjörn is only 38 in Year 90, making her 59 upon having him.

    Western Animation 
  • In Mission Hill, Eunice "Weirdie" Eulmeyer's parents are old enough to be her great grandparents. Her father was a scientist in World War II who worked on the hydrogen bomb, and he actually dies of old age in the episode.
  • Scrooge McDuck is 150 years old at the beginning of DuckTales (2017), while his niece Della and nephew Donald (children of his youngest sister Hortense) are both 36. Hortense's age is never made clear, so either she and Quackmore waited a long time to have kids, or there's a several decade difference between her and Scrooge.

    Real Life 
  • Daljinder Kaur, 72, from India, gave birth to a son, Arman, on April 19, 2016, after nearly five decades of marriage and two unsuccessful IVF tries. However, since she hasn't any birth certificate, her age is approximative.
  • Janet Jackson gave birth to a son named Eissa al Manna at the age of 50.
  • Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara is the oldest verified mother, having given birth to twins at 66 on 2009, funding her IVF by selling her house after the death of her mother, with whom she lived. Even though she insisted she would be fine, since her mother had died at 101, she died three years later, in 2009, from cancer in the ovaries.
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) became the first sitting senator to give birth in April 2018 at the age of 50.
  • Actress Brigitte Nielsen gave birth to her fifth child at 54.
  • This webpage, which lists numerous examples of mid-life/late-life pregnancies. Even more shocking are how many of them occurred naturally (Janet Jackson, the above-mentioned Brigitte Nielsen, etc) without the use of fertility treatments.
  • The Common Law of property gives us a famous hypothetical example: the fertile octogenerian. For reasons that are far too complicated to address here (viz., the rule against perpetuities), it is of great importance that (at least historically) common-law jurisdictions contemplated that even an 80-year-old woman could still have children. This meant (and in some places still means) that you had to be very careful how you wrote up a conveyance to someone's children "upon reaching [x] age", even if that someone was, well, an 80-year-old woman.


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