Last week Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara died. If you don't know her, she was the Spanish woman who went through in vitro fertilization at an L.A. fertility clinic a few years ago and, at age 66, became pregnant with twins. During or soon after her pregnancy it was discovered that Bousada de Lara had a tumor, and at age 69 she died. Her kids aren't yet three years old.
Obviously this is an incredibly sad thing. Sad for Bousada de Lara, who whatever you may think of her decision, clearly really really wanted her children. Sad for the children, who will now grow up without a mother. (Apparently they will be raised by their godfather, Bousada de Lara's nephew.)
My feelings on all of this are complicated. (In case you haven't figured this out, my feelings on most things are complicated.) I understand Bousada de Lara's deep desire to have children, but find her choice to bear children twenty years into menopause almost incomprehensible. As I've written, I fully understand her desire to be pregnant. This weekend I went to the hospital to visit friends who just had a baby, and holding that little bundle... wow. I get it. But that doesn't mean it's the right thing. (Doesn't mean it isn't either, I'm just not totally decided-- and I'm a lot younger than Bousada de Lara when she got pregnant. A lot younger.) But there are so many children in the world who need a parent... it's just hard to rationalize.
What's clear from all the hubbub surrounding Bousada de Lara's death is that people have very strong feelings about other people's reproductive choices. I've put together a representative sampling below:
Fooling Mother Nature leads to twin tragedy:
A mother of twins at 66, dead at 69: fair or foul:
Should you get pregnant if you’re 50 or older?
Oldest woman to give birth dies, leaving twins
Motherhood: Is It Ever Too Late?:
Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara’s death does not mean she was wrong:
What do you think? Or should we all just mind our own business? (I fall in the mind your own business category-- but it's very hard not to be judgmental in cases like this.)