Yes, you read that right. There are a lot of moving parts in this story, so you may have to hold on to your seat. Annegret Raunigk is a 65-year-old mother of 13 children who just gave birth to four more.
As reported in People, Raunigk felt those familiar pangs of baby fever (that every mom who has thought she was done having kids will inevitably feel) when her youngest daughter was 10 years old. As the youngest of 13, Raunigk’s daughter asked if she could have a baby brother or sister to keep her company. Raunigk happily obliged — by giving her four more. Three boys and a girl, Dries, Bence, Fjonn and Neeta, were born on May 19, 2015, by C-section at 26 weeks.
This is the kind of story that makes you gasp as you scroll past it on your Facebook feed, but Raunigk’s choice to add to her already large family in her golden years isn’t entirely unique. Doctors may consider pregnancy past the age of 35 to be “geriatric” (and what a lovely term that is), but there are plenty of women who have defined the odds by carrying babies well into advanced maternal age.
Here are some of the most fascinating:
- Oldest first-time mother: Rajo Devi Lohan, who lives in a remote village in India, holds the title of the world’s oldest mother. Lohan gave birth for the first time after undergoing a controversial IVF treatment at the age of 69, before almost dying from complications during childbirth. Now Lohan is having the last laugh — at the age of 74, she’s the happy mom of a rambunctious 5-year-old daughter named Naveen, whom she credits for helping her live longer.
- Oldest mother to get pregnant “naturally:” Way back in the 90s, before IVF was as common as it is now, Liz Buttle of Wales made headlines for giving birth to baby Joseph at the age of 60. Because Buttle was one of the first older mothers to give birth at the time, she received mass media attention, even being called a “miracle mum.” Buttle’s 15 minutes of fame were short-lived when the public found out she lied about her “natural” advanced pregnancy and had actually conceived through IVF.
- Oldest mother to give birth to twins: Frieda Birnbaum wins the grand prize for being the oldest twin mom in the United States, giving birth to Joshua and Jarrett at age 60 in 2007. Birnbaum had her first two children in her 20s and didn’t have a third child until she was 53, thanks to IVF treatment following multiple miscarriages. When Birnbaum wanted to get pregnant again in her 60s, she had to go all the way to South Africa for IVF after being refused in the United States.
- Oldest mother to give birth to triplets: Bhateri Devi of India waited to have children until much, much later in life — age 66, to be exact. Following IVF treatment in 2010, Devi was bestowed the honor of becoming the oldest woman in the world to give birth to triplets, two girls and a boy who spent time in intensive care after being born at dangerously low birth weights. Though Devi lost one of her daughters born prematurely, she and her husband were overjoyed to become first-time parents.
More: Single moms by choice
If you’re still on the fence about having a child, there’s always the ominous thought that the clock is ticking. At the very least, these older moms can help to put everything in perspective. It may not be as easy to get pregnant once you’ve passed that fertile window, but now having a baby at 40 doesn’t sound so bad.