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Why moms with sons have shorter lifespans than mom with only daughters

A recent study published in the Scientific American offered up some interesting findings that any mothers out there who have sons should pay some attention to.

Excerpts from the study are the following:

“Women who bear sons can have slightly shorter lives than those who bear daughters, researchers have found. Their study showed that a woman’s risk of death increased by 7% per year for each son born..”

They found that if a woman in these communities was 37 years old at the time of having her last child, her life expectancy would vary depending on the sex of her children. She would live for another 33.1 years if she had no sons, another 32.7 years if she had three and another 32.4 years if she had six.”

“The study, which appears in Biology Letters, builds on previous research published by the same team in the journal Science more than ten years ago, which found that for every son she had, a woman’s life would be shortened by an average of 34 weeks. By contrast, daughters actually lengthened their mother’s lifespan very slightly (though not statistically significantly). In both studies, the life-shortening effects were experienced only by mothers, not fathers.”

Although the study fell short in showing any scientific evidence that would pinpoint to either a biological or cultural cause to this effect (of a shortened lifespan for mothers with sons), it was an interesting premise for me because I have 5 sons. Granted that my two older sons were brought up by their grandparents and their dad, and I am now raising three sons with ages ranging from an 8 year old and 4-year old twins, the anxieties and stress of worrying over one’s sons transcends any distance. And having had my second set of children in my late 30′s was definitely more challenging  physically/biologically. Keeping up with energetic, rambunctious, “Energizer-bunny clone” boys is far more exhausting now than when I had my first set of kids in my early 20′s.

Having to process the idea that according to this study, if I am lucky enough not to get hit by a bus while crossing the streets of Manhattan, or if I am plucky enough to survive an all-out zombie invasion in the future, I should live to the ripe old age of 69, is not easy! If I didn’t have any kids I would say I’m okay with that premise. But like any parent I would want to live way past my 69th birthday and possibly live up to my 80′s or 90′s so I can still be around to see all my children have productive, meaningful lives. I’ll keep in mind the adage, “there’s always an exception to the rule”. For my children’s and future grandchildren’s sake I hope to fall into the exception and not the rule.

Just sayin’.

 

 

 

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