C is for children.

Serpent and Apple


C is for Children

When I was in my twenties, I’d imagined having children was an inevitability. It never happened. I was never with the right person, and the relationships I had ran their course for one reason or another.  When I got over the age of  forty, the idea of having a child seemed a forlorn hope.  My friends had long since procreated.  What made things difficult was the fact that I’d always had a really good connection with children and had for a long time worked with them.   I got married for the first time aged fifty,  and it seemed logical to try to have a child and we would live to regret not trying .

I did not consider it inevitable that my wife would fall pregnant, you read or hear about so many couples who are unable to have children.  When I arrived back from work to be informed by wife she was pregnant,  it took time for the news to sink in, it seemed so unreal.  Then followed nine fraught months of worry.  Such worry I had never experienced before in my life.  I was not able to go to the first consultation and scan, due to work.  However the second I was able to witness for the first time, the little wonder we had created,  it was a ball that had a pulse, seemingly a strong one, it’s heart was throbbing powerfully. I dubbed this little ball “Little Pea” because it seemed so miniscule

Fears a Father, late to fatherhood might have…

To some extent  there is the danger I might  feel a bit self-conscious about being a father at 51 and fearful of  comments from other children like “Is that your Grandad”? The child might feel a bit ashamed of having such an ancient parent.  These days things  are different, there are male parents with mops of grey hair, or next to no hair, the age of the elderly parent is upon us and I am not alone thankfully.  Just looking around me as I take my son either to or from the crèche, tells me this.

I worry I am the most uncool father, but my son seems to like things that were around and part of my childhood, he is going through an obsession with Mary Poppins at the moment.  At the same time I have been introduced to the delights of Peppa Pig.

Things I have had to learn

I have discovered so much about young children, expect the unexpected, your child can wake up happy singing…then all of a sudden they come down with a fever, all your plans for the day have to be altered.  You have to be adaptable.

As a father/parent you spend a  lot of time in self-reflection. Maybe a father in his fifties is going to be different to one in their mid-twenties. After all we went  through during the pregnancy, and perhaps because we are “elderly” parents, perhaps we have a tendency to be over-protective.  In the early days any form of illness sent shock waves.  You have to judge, how sick your child is, whether to go the doctor.

My son is full of energy and mischief, but I can say I am fit enough to run after him and will certainly be ok, for a football kick around.

A father at 51, yes it is exhausting, but the rewards are more than there to be had. I know I have been more than blessed to have such a wonderful child, sometimes I can’t believe he is for real.

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.


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16 thoughts on “C is for children.

  1. i can relate in a way. my mom had my sister when she was in her 40s. so she and my dad was in his late 40s. they were the oldest parents the entire time my sister was going to school.

    this was a great piece.


  2. I think it’s admirable that you didn’t give up trying to have a child, and even at a slightly higher age than most, as long as you give your child a great upbringing i think its great!


  3. Very interesting read and very inspiring that you have shared your story. I’m still in my early 20s so I cant really relate at the moment, but I think its okay to be older. I know a ton of people who had kids really young and they always say how they wished they seen more of the world and done a lot more but they can’t as they have kids and bills to pay for etc.


  4. This is such a beautiful and inspiring post. I am 28 at the moment and not nearly ready or in a stage of my life to have kids but I’d like to think that there’s always that possibility some day and there’s no ‘age limit’ (well biologically maybe). I am really happy for you


  5. Congratulations for having a child! Don`t worry what other people might think. I also know someone who became a first time father at around 50 years old. It`s not that uncommon. My mother gave birth to me at around 41 and to my younger brother at around 43. When I was around 11 years old, there were times when we`re grocery shopping and people thought our mother was our grandmother.


    1. It does create some funny situations,my nieces have children that are older than my son…his second cousins are more his age. My father was getting on when I was born, but these days you see a lot more older parents, than when I was a child; Thanks for your comment.


  6. i’m 22 and i work with kids and i love love love it …but as a female i cant im so afraid of pregnancy so adopting is something that i want to do at some point in my life .


  7. Great story, I had my first when I was 19 and I always said that I didn’t want to have anymore kids after the age of 30. 3 kids later and I stuck to my word. Its just all preference really


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