Welcome to “Prime Time Live.” I’m Dianne Sawyer. Last week, the news cried out to America like a wailing infant that a 63-year-old woman had successfully given birth to a child.
That event makes her the oldest woman ever to give birth, and tonight, in a “Prime Time Live,” exclusive, we’ve got the mother right here.
Let’s call her Lydia Crabtree (not her real name) and conduct our interview with the aid of image augmentation, so that her identity can remain concealed.
Dianne: Welcome, Ms. Crabtree.
LC: (From behind a screen). Thanks, Dianne; it’s a pleasure to be here. God, my knees hurt.
Dianne: At the age of 63, what was it like to give birth to a child?
LC: Don’t ask. My stretch marks got stretch marks; my back is killing me. And you get so fat, my God! I must have gained 50 or 60 pounds. I craved cheesecake all the time! Anyway, after getting so fat, now I’ve got this enormous Caesarean-section scar running across my belly. Ugh! No more bikinis for me. It’s a one-piece at the tennis club from now on. Stretch marks and scars. My God, who’d have thought it? Mind if I smoke?
Dianne: Uh, no; go ahead. What made you want to have a child? Was it that maternal yearning that women speak of?
LC: No, really it was the only thing I hadn’t “done” yet. I’ve been to the Kentucky Derby, the Cannes Film Festival, the running of the bulls in Pamplona (Spain) and Mardi Gras. I’ve had a full life, and I wanted to share my age and wisdom with a child, to pass on my life experience to another person who comes from me. In this way, I think, I can live on, in an odd sort of way. I can see myself continued, extended. And, hey, I’ve always liked kids. I used to be a teacher.
Dianne: So why not adopt?
LC: Well, I thought about that. But adopted kids can be such problems. For one thing, they’re not really “yours.” Secondly, a lot of them have problems, you know? They end up stealing your jewelry or rifling through your drawers. I didn’t want somebody else’s discarded kid; I wanted my own kid to love and raise.
Dianne: Well, speaking of raising, by the time the child is 7 years old, you’ll be 70. How do you expect to be able to care for a young child at that age? Will you have the energy?
LC: Uh, well, I’ve hired a nanny for all that. What does a kid need at the end of the day from its mother, anyway, but a smack in the mouth or a kiss on the forehead? For God’s sake, this parenthood thing, I mean, why make such a big deal out of it? Both my parents were lousy. My dad was a creep; my mom was a boozy lush. I turned out OK.
Dianne: But doesn’t it bother you that by the time the child starts really being active, you’ll be in your early 70s? I mean, you probably won’t live to see the child reach maturity unless you make it into your 90s, will you?
LC: Well, what the hell’s “maturity,” anyway?
Dianne: What kinds of things do you worry about for your child?
LC: Well, I worry about him becoming a communist, but I also worry a lot about the bomb and about nuclear war. It’s a dangerous world, but thank God we’ve got frozen food. It’s really much easier for a woman these days.
Dianne: Well, I know all of our viewers would like to get a look at the little fella. Can we see him?
LC: Sure. Hey, Billy! Come here a minute! (Note: At this point, a 20-year-old man walks in.) Billy, can you say “hello” to the nice folks at home?
Dianne: Wait a minute, is this some kind of fraud? This is easily a 20-year-old young man!
LC: Pipe down. The doctors said it’s a slight birth defect resulting from my age. But it’s nothing to worry about. (Note: Billy starts to cry).
LC: Now look what you’ve done! You’re great around babies — you ought to think about being a nurse, you know that?
Dianne: Well, I’m sorry, but. …
LC: Sorry, yeah, fine. But you made my baby cry. (Note: Mother starts to talk baby talk to Billy). That’s a good boy. Mommy’s liddo button. Coochee coo!
Billy: (Through tears). Mom, cut it out!
Bronson Hilliard’s piece originally ran in Friday’s edition of the Colorado Daily, the independent student newspaper at the University of Colorado.