Parenting and the Changing Landscape of Ageing and Reproduction
This paper reports findings from an initial stage of a study examining reproductive biographies at midlife (approximately after the age of 40). The data comprise semi-structured single interviews (each lasting about an hour) with 13 heterosexual couples and 2 individuals who became parents for the first time between the ages of 38-57 yrs, either naturally or via assisted reproduction. The interviews sought to elicit accounts of parenting experiences, discursive representations of lifespan and gender identities, and perceived advantages and disadvantages of parenting at midlife. From a Discourse Analytic perspective, the analysis focuses on age-identification strategies, processes of self-presentation as an older parent, and narratives of change and development into a parenting role at midlife. The findings relate to different dimensions of age(ing) and self identity. More specifically, the analysis yields details on strategies of membership categorisation and comparison with (former) self and others in the interviewees’ talk.