Chinese women are rushing to have children after China ushered in the two-child era in January. The result? Quadragenarian mothers, and at least who is having her second child at the same time as her first.
“After the Lunar New Year, I went to the local family planning commission to have my intrauterine device removed to prepare for a second child,” said 48-year-old Zhu Hong (pseudonym) at a health seminar in Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province, according to a March 8 report on the popular Chinese news portal Sina.
The Hefei family planning commission said that of the more than 50 women who had their intrauterine device (IUD) removed since January 2016, most were between the ages 35 and 45, according to Sina. Family planning officials across China are notorious for sometimes forcing women to be fitted with an IUD after having their first child.
Zhu had decided to press on with her plan to try for another kid in the face of strong objection from her 24-year-old daughter. The daughter, who was married after graduating from college last year, worried that her mother will face pregnancy complications due to her age. Today, both mother and daughter are expecting a child.
While Zhu and her daughter got a lot of attention for being pregnant at the same at the health seminar, which was organized by the Hefei family planning authorities, Zhu was not the only middle-aged woman in attendance.
Wang Qin, 42, is 8-months pregnant with the sibling of her 7-year-old daughter. “I asked her why she wouldn’t go out to play, and she told me that she didn’t know whom she could play with. My heart ached after hearing this. So I decided to have another child to give her a companion.” Wang said.
The actions of these middle-aged women raised quite a few eyebrows on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service. One netizen with Hubei wrote: “I believe that giving birth at an old age is selfish behavior. The child will bring you happiness and keep you company in your old age. But how long can you accompany the child?”
“Do not have another baby when your first child reaches the age of 15! Otherwise, you will only be burdening your first child,” said a netizen with the moniker “Ting Yao Jing baby.”
During a Mar. 8 news briefing at the ongoing annual session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, Lin Bin, the chairwoman of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, said China had no timetable to completely relax its birth control policy, reported People’s Net, the online version of state-run media People’s Daily.
“China is resource-scarce and still has a large population, so there wouldn’t be any fundamental change to the status quo” said Li. “Birth control will continue to be China’s longstanding, basic policy.”