Should I Have a Child with My Boyfriend over 30 years Older Than Me?

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 30s. I’m unmarried but six weeks pregnant. I’ve been wondering if I should keep the baby, and I’ve been discussing this with my boyfriend — who is 30 years older than me. I’ve told my parents that I’m seeing someone but haven’t mentioned his age.

He said he’d be happy about having the child, but he’s worried what others would think, since he is older than my parents; whether our child would be bullied because of the father’s age; how much he can work, given he is self-employed; whether he might become a burden if he starts to need elderly care; and if he would be physically capable in the future in helping me raise the child.

Based on these circumstances, a person close to him told me that I shouldn’t have the baby. At first, I thought I would give birth and raise the baby alone, but the more we’ve been talking about this, the more I’m unsure what is the right thing to do. I’ve been unable to reach a conclusion.

— K, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Ms. K:

You asked whether you should have your baby or give it up. However, from your letter, it sounds like you are trying to find a reason to give it up.

It would be good to clarify what you two really want to do, without taking his age and other factors into account.

This needs to be considered from both an emotional and objective aspect.

If you want the child, it is crucial to know who you can ask for support in case your boyfriend becomes unable to help with child-rearing and household chores because of his age and how you will pay for these services when he starts to need them.

If you can make such financial arrangements, I think you can give birth with peace of mind. Why don’t you consider if this is possible? If the two of you have the energy to make such preparations, it’s possible to give you the green light.

What concerns me, however, is that your boyfriend is afraid of what people would think because of his age and worrying that the child may be bullied. He is somewhat unreliable. I think you should decide after seeing whether he is willing to stand against his age and people’s opinions in order to protect you and the child.

— Junko Umihara, psychiatrist