Janet Jackson Pregnant at 49: Being an Older Mother is Tough but Not Impossible

Janet Jackson pregnant?
Janet Jackson is pictured in New York, March 31, 2010. The singer is rumored to be pregnant with her first child. Bryan Bedder/Getty

So rumors are rife about Janet Jackson having a baby about a fortnight before her 50th birthday. How very dare she!

But when is the ideal time to do so? Mine were born when I was 41 and 45, naturally conceived within a (woeful) marriage and oh, how I regret all that energy expended on a treadmill in my twenties and globe-trotting travelling in my thirties. (OK, not so much the latter.)

The truth is that behind every mum of a certain age, there is a history of heartbreak. Rarely is it intentional to have a baby just as we're hitting the menopause and, believe you me, the two combined is not as nature intended.

Does that mean we shouldn't do it, given the opportunity? Not necessarily, no.

Does it mean we will be more tired? Probably.

Does that make it illegal or immoral? Nope.

What if we've yearned for children all our adult lives? Does that make us wrong?

Perhaps we're more grateful than those who are thrust into parenthood at an early age. Perhaps we've plenty to offer the little tykes who turn up at an age that other people disapprove of.

Perhaps it's a massive mistake. Perhaps we should adopt one of the unwanted or unfortunate.

Perhaps not.

They say "Man plans and God laughs." So it seems for women.

If you're clever and work hard, before you know it, you'll be labelled a "career girl" and everyone will assume you don't want children, you've made a choice.

Perhaps not, again.

I, for one, turned down opportunities to have babies with reprobates when I was younger. As a child of a single mother with a decidedly ropey relationship with my father I didn't fancy going it alone, didn't think I could offer the best possible upbringing for my children, didn't think it was fair on them.

And the irony? Even at the ripe old age I am, decades later, I am doing it alone anyhow. Stressed out of my skull trying to make ends meet, bringing up two beautiful, bright boys, acutely aware it's not the best upbringing or fair on them.

They excel at school though. Why? Perhaps being an older parent has its advantages. Perhaps I appreciate the value of an education more than those half my age.

They are fit and healthy despite me being comparatively ancient when they came along. Why? They were the product of two perfectly good labors and births without complications or stitches, because I was old enough to trust my instincts, to see an osteopath and an acupuncturist all the way through my pregnancies so that my babies and I would be in the optimum possible place for when the time came and old enough to ignore the little whippersnapper nurses in the ward who thought they knew better, yet hadn't ever gone through it themselves.

With age comes confidence.

Not confidence in men, though. That's something else. I still have terrible taste in them.

Perhaps, now, Janet Jackson is in a confident place. She's enjoying her third marriage with a much younger husband. Perhaps it's the right thing for them.

Could she have offered a child a better life when she was younger? Perhaps she needed time to find herself, having grown up as part of one of the most famous families in the world.

Some of us take longer to get there than others, that's all.

I wish her the very best—she'll need it!

Anya Harris is is a blogger and founder of Older Single Mum, voted one of the 10 most influential blogs for single parents in the U.K.

Janet Jackson Pregnant at 49: Being an Older Mother is Tough but Not Impossible | Opinion