57-Year-Old New Mom Credits Physical Fitness for Her New Joy


Our biological time clocks are capable of lying. So says Barbara Higgins, who is celebrating the birth of a baby boy. 

At 57. 

Higgins, a 57-year-old teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, is giving the world a teachable moment about the power of love, coupled with the benefits of being in great physical shape to be able to give birth at her age. 

After the decision to move ahead with invitro fertilization offered by a clinic willing to work with someone older, Higgins continued to train and lift weights, all the way until she went into labor. She is also an avid runner. Her physical well-being was a positive factor in the decision to move forward with the pregnancy.    

“I do a lot of weight training and all that crazy Cross Fit stuff that you hear about,” Higgins said. 

And of course, her path to a successful birth involved lots of ultrasounds and monitoring, given her age, but her age was not a reason not to move forward with her plans. 

At Growing Bolder, we call that prehabilitation. It’s those positive lifestyle modifications that prepare your body for whatever physical challenges you may face in the future. For some, it helps them with battles against diseases or illnesses. In Higgins’ case, it left her open to a wonderful new opportunity.  

The decision to have a baby at her age is etched in tragedy. In 2016, Barbara and her husband Jack lost their 13-year-old daughter Molly, who died from a brain tumor. Barbara said she began to have dreams of having another baby while processing Molly’s death. 

“Molly was 13 (and she) had an undiagnosed brain tumor and died very suddenly,” Higgins told “Today.” “That throws your life into a tailspin of feelings and experiences that you weren’t expecting.” 

It was Barbara’s idea at first. Jack, who is 65, went along without a hitch. 

And so, Jack Kearsley Banzhoff, 5 pounds, 6 ounces, was born on March 20. 

Jack and Barbara understand there may be eye-rolls from disapproving parties, given the fact that on paper, they are more suitable to be grandparents than parents. 

But that’s fine by them. 

“For a person who wants to say to me, ‘aren’t you reckless for making this decision?’ Well, no, because I never made a reckless decision,” she told the Concord Monitor. 

Baby Jack is at home now, with mom, dad and the couple’s other daughter, Gracie. Barbara has her when she was in her ‘30s. Now, almost 30 years later, she celebrates another addition to the family. 

“Why should Jack not get to be alive because I’m old?” Barbara told Today.

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