Adriana Iliescu, 72, looks more like her five-year-old daughter Eliza’s slightly doddery great grandfather than her mother, notwithstanding how charming they seem together strolling hand in hand to school. Even Elizabeth, who became the world’s oldest mother in January 2005, acknowledges she looks every one of her years, if not more, with her heavily wrinkled face and dyed black hair.
Adriana, a writer and part-time university instructor in Romanian literature, who lives with Eliza in a two-bedroom flat in Bucharest, says, ‘I try not to look in the mirror because I don’t enjoy it.’ The mirror is cruel to women, but when it comes to my energy, I feel like a young lady.’ I have the appearance of a 27-year-old woman, and when I am fatigued, I have the appearance of a 37-year-old woman. I’m in better shape than women half my age.
‘When people call me grandmother, they think they’re being amusing, but I didn’t have Eliza to make me appear younger.’
‘I’m not aware of my age.’
Could this be why Adriana is now defying all her detractors by talking about the idea of having another child, in what must certainly be a triumph of attitude over age?
She confesses that having a kid for the first time at her age was difficult, and she was concerned when Eliza attended pre-school at the age of three.
‘I was tense because I wanted her to succeed.’ ‘I’ve put a lot of effort into the last two years,’ she explains. Eliza, on the other hand, makes friends and plays with them, giving me a break.’Adriana’s undivided attention to her daughter has resulted in Eliza being able to read and write at an early age and being academically ahead for her age.
Adriana is unconcerned with other people’s opinions since she has friends and is happy, which is all that counts to her.She is a highly private woman who avoids school gate gossip and deflects enquiries from other mothers who are curious about how she copes or what will happen to her kid if she dies.
Just hours before Eliza’s christening, enraged nuns at a Bucharest convent told her it was the ‘act of the devil.’Adriana, on the other hand, has no regrets and considers having Eliza to be the best thing she has ever done. And, despite one’s reservations, Eliza’s love for her mother is palpable.
Rajo Devi Lohan, who claimed to be 70 years old, gave birth to a daughter in India in November 2008. However, she disclosed in June of this year that she was dying as a result of complications from the birth. Bhateri Devi, also from India, became the world’s oldest mother of triplets in the same month.
Adriana considers this a victory for women who have been unable to conceive during their prime reproductive years.Adriana was born into a rich, educated middle-class family. She married at the age of 20 and became pregnant the following year.
‘Being a mother at my age is not easy,’ she admits. ‘I would encourage my daughter to have a child before she reaches the age of 30.’ However, if she does not, I feel that a woman should strive to have a child at any age.‘It’s the most lovely thing to believe that even after you’ve passed away, a part of you lives on.’ You don’t have death if you have a child.’