Sunday, March 26, 2006

Happy mum at 50!

MOST women in their 50s are winding down after half a lifetime of raising children.

But Victorian grandmother Maria Nixarian is busy changing nappies all over again.

Mrs Nixarian, 50, has three grown-up children and a grandson, but she says giving birth to Gregory made her family complete.

Though she had her first child 32 years ago, Mrs Nixarian says motherhood feels exactly as it did then.

For husband Stephen, 49, fatherhood is a new experience: Gregory is his first child.

"The doctor laid him on Maria's chest and there was a magical moment when he opened his eyes and looked at his mum for the first time," Mr Nixarian said of Gregory's birth on March 1.

"I'll never forget that," he told Woman's Day.

A month before their wedding in December 2004, the Victorian couple were devastated when she miscarried at 17 weeks.

"It was sad, but it also gave us hope it was possible for me to fall pregnant," Mrs Nixarian, who was 48 at the time, said.

The Doncaster couple made front page news in December when it was reported they had conceived naturally. But it was later revealed that the pregnancy was due to IVF fertility treatment.

Mrs Nixarian had also embarked on a radical health regime to help boost her pregnancy chances, drinking herbal concoctions for three months and having acupuncture and massage.

She is one of many mothers choosing to have babies in later life.

Australia's oldest known mother is believed to be Victoria's Angelina Calabro, who gave birth to her only child when she was 55.

Mrs Calabro had her naturally conceived daughter, Carmelina, in 1995 after years of trying to fall pregnant with husband Giuseppe.

Last month, 62-year-old American great-grandmother Janise Wulf gave birth to her 12th child, a son, after undergoing fertility treatment.

The world's oldest known mother is Adriana Iliescu, from Romania, who was 66 when she gave birth to her first child last year, following several attempts from donated eggs and sperm.

Celebrity mothers enjoying middle-aged motherhood include actors Geena Davis, 48, who gave birth to twins in 2004 and Holly Hunter, 47, who became a mother to twins in January.

Maria and Stephen's story will feature in tomorrow's Woman's Day.

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