Country superstar Carrie Underwood has inspired a pretty heated debate online over comments she made last week about her age and having more children.
The singer and her husband Mike Fisher are already parents to son Isaiah, 3, but when asked by Redbook magazine about expanding her family, Underwood replied, “I’m 35, so we may have missed our chance to have a big family.”
She added, “We always talk about adoption and about doing it when our child or children are a little older.”
While Underwood was speaking strictly about her own family, some took to social media to let her know they believe that 35 certainly isn’t too old to have a large family.
Others on social media came to her aid, saying only Underwood knows her personal situation and scolding critics for assuming she doesn’t have a valid reason for saying what she said.
One Twitter user wrote to Underwood to offer what appeared to be a reassurance. “@carrieunderwood You need to know your window for having children is not closed,” the user wrote. “The only thing stopping you is your decision to or not to. You can still have healthy children. 35 is not old, 35 is not too late, 35 is fine.”
“I had my 3 children at 32-36 and YES 40,” a woman wrote on Facebook. “It has been the greatest blessing I could ever have asked for. It is not bad to have children over 35. It’s awesome. Older. Wiser, more patient. I love it. Maybe Carrie should try it.”
Another woman, who identified herself as single, replied that those comments were “discouraging” and “not cool.”
But a slew of others online supported the singer’s comments, calling out critics — including men who thought it wise to comment on a woman’s ability to give birth at a certain age.
“She never said she definitively couldn’t,” one supporter wrote. “She said: I’m 35, so we may have missed our chance to have a big family. Since fertility DOES decrease as women age, this is just TRUE. She MAY have missed that chance. @carrieunderwood you do what’s best for your family. Best wishes.”
Another noted that “She was not writing a fertility column offering advice-she was addressing her situation-she knows what’s best for her-leave her alone.”
Since fertility DOES decrease as women age, this is just TRUE. She MAY have missed that chance. @carrieunderwood you do what’s best for your family. Best wishes.
An ABC News request for comment from Underwood’s rep was not immediately returned.
No matter which side of the argument you’re on, the topic of age and fertility is becoming more publicly prevalent, especially with birth rates for women over 40 rising.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, talked about the stigma for women having children over 35, which is sometimes labeled a “geriatric” pregnancy.
“Medically, that’s [the term] we use,” she said last week on “GMA,” adding that “there are some increased risks when women give birth over that age and they run the gamut: pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm labor or growth.”
To be fair though, Ashton said these risks may not be “super high,” but they do go up over that age of 35.
“And we have to be clear, there are some 40-year-olds who are healthier than they were when they were 30 — so vitality and health today are making it possible and more common to have a totally healthy pregnancy,” Ashton said.
“Even when you are geriatric, medically, and we need to change that term.”