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LETTERS IN VIEW : Moving Moms Back

November 09, 1990

Re "Older Mothers"(Oct. 30): Since when is 42 old? Certainly not for the hundreds of thousands of men who start families in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, and have done so for generations. No one has questioned the ability of the new over-40 professional father to serve as a successful financial and emotional provider. Why then the concern about the over-35 professional mother, who is in many ways better equipped to nurture and support youngsters than a less mature and established woman in her teens or 20s?

Maybe because the issues raised in the article go beyond simple biological concerns. Even as scientists are working to extend the time of fertility and reproductive ability for women, allowing them the same social options as their male peers, the attitude is being promoted by a few "experts" that women should return to childbearing and rearing in their 20s. Unfortunately, by turning the "productive 20s" back into the "reproductive 20s," women would be once again eased into second-class status at the starting gate in the work and economic world--perhaps the hidden agenda of "older mothers" social critics.

Spurious arguments such as "What will it mean to have a parent as old as your friend's grandparents" (rarely heard in reference to fathers, by the way) fall by the wayside if a child's playmates have parents of all ages, age 20 to 60.

Scientific research is providing us with a chance for a longer, healthier life, and is making possible a world where men and women can offer our newest citizens the greatest gift of life in a mature, responsible, and loving context. Advocating or promoting a return to traditional sex roles and limitations for women's child rearing under the guise of "ageism" would negate the hard-won progress we have made in creating a world of equal opportunity for men and women--and for our young boys and girls.

YOLANDA S. REID

Los Angeles

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