Saif Ali Khan all set to become daddy again: Experts share tips on embracing fatherhood at 50

When Saif and his beauteous actress wife Kareena Kapoor Khan released an official statement that read: “We are very pleased to announce that we are expecting an addition to our family!!”, social media was lit! Everyone went into a tizzy about Bollywood’s nawab and his begum giving li’l Tim (their adorable and hugely popular son Taimur) a sibling. Loved poured forth from all quarters… Soon enough, everyone wanted to know how 50-year-old Saif does it?! He had his oldest child, popular actress Sara Ali Khan, with his former actress wife Amrita Singh, 25 years ago. Six years later, his son Ibrahim was born. A good 15 years after Ibrahim, Taimur made his debut. And now, Saif is getting set for Baby No. 4’s arrival!

Fatherhood at 50. For most people, it sounds overwhelming. But what are the joys and challenges that lie ahead for older dads? The dos and don’ts of fatherhood? What to expect? How to adjust/ readjust?

Says psychiatrist Dr Kersi Chavda, “Lots of aspects have to be considered: whether you already are a dad and now going to become one after a number of years, or whether it’s your first time. Whether one/ both spouses have been married before and have children from the first marriage.

“Then remember that a 50+ dad will appear much older in comparison to other fathers. Simultaneously, there will be a slowing down in the physical energy of the parent... which might cause problems in terms of keeping up with the energy of the child. However, the older the father, the more patient he is usually. When one is older, one is more financially stable... which certainly is of benefit to the family. It allows for more help/ resources to be available... so the parent can spend more time with the child. So, there are both good and not-so-good reasons related to being a late onset dad,” he adds.

Experiencing the joys of 50+ fatherhood is actor Prakash Raj, stalwart of South Indian cinema and acclaimed Bollywood villain. He became a dad for the fourth time at 50! Married to Tamil film actress Lalitha Kumari, they had three children. Then they divorced and he married Bollywood choreographer Pony Verma. After their son Vedanth was born, Prakash had shared, “It’s a great feeling. Both me and Pony are very happy. Our baby has brought a lot of joy, purpose and meaning to our lives.”

Not yet 50, but another film star who’s over the moon with late-ish fatherhood is Arjun Rampal. He had son Arik with partner Gabriella Demetriades at 47. And what’s more, he seems to have made a real go of fatherhood – bonding effortlessly with all his three children. His daughters Mahikaa and Myra with former wife Mehr Jesia dote on Arik, and these siblings sure make a cosy threesome!

Arjun Rampal with son Arik
Arjun Rampal with son Arik

“The age for the concept of late-ish fatherhood needs to be relooked at and revised,” avers India’s best known Fashion Director Marc Robinson. He had his third child, daughter Sienna, at 44 with then model-actress wife Waluscha De Sousa. Says he, “I felt no different when Sienna was born compared to when my first daughter Chanel was born. One needs to live with a positive, healthy and happy mindset. Keep the faith and pray. Eat right and in moderation. An occasional glass of red wine or bubbly lifts the spirits! Regular exercise – alone or a team sport – is a must. As is sleeping for a good eight hours. Meeting up with friends for a few good laughs is also key. Learn from the past, but don’t hold on to it. Be nice to people.”

Agreeing with Marc, global holistic health guru Mickey Mehta sums up this trend with, “The pros of being a father at 50 definitely outweigh the cons. Most people are settled well by then and can give a lot of time to fatherhood. Plus the wisdom that comes with being 50+ adds to the pleasure of bringing up a child. If you are healthy and fit, fatherhood at 50 is too much fun!!”

Seema Hingorrany, Clinical Psychologist & Author, shares up & downs of fatherhood @ 50…

Challenges:

  • Becoming a parent at 50 can be daunting as men at this age are usually going through a midlife crisis. They want to do all those things which they didn’t earlier. A baby could curb their freedom, and fatherhood might have a negative curve on their marital life.

  • At 50, most of these men’s friends’ kids are older teens/ young adults. Toddler talk with their friends now might seem difficult.

  • With a newborn baby, the physical intimacy between spouses changes drastically; this can affect men mentally.

Joys

  • For men who have never been fathers, it’s a wonderful experience because at some subconscious level they always wanted a child. If dealt with well, it can be a beautiful journey…

  • Having a baby at any age can cement the bond between spouses.

Dos

  • Have a positive mindset when the baby is conceived. Visualise having a wonderful bond with your baby daily!

  • Once born, keep engaging with your baby to create an awesome equation.

Don’ts

  • Never compare your fatherhood experience with anyone else’s. Each experience is unique and wonderful in its own way.

  • Don’t negate yourself by saying, “I’m too old.” Relax; your child will learn from your life’s enriching experiences.

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