So, have you breathed a sigh of relied since the end of the school year has finally come? Or are you one of the parents that dread the end of school because you will soon have to deal with what to do with the kids over summer break? Over the past two weeks I have been crazy busy with end of school activities and preparing for Thing 1’s ballet recital (non-stop rehearsals), which are both now over. Thank heavens for tender mercies. Next comes a few days of relaxing before the “Mom, I’m bored!” kicks in. Personally, I think a little boredom can be good for you because it encourages creativity. We’ll just see how creative we all become over the next few months.
Last night, while catching up on email that I neglected over that past few days, I came across a note from a reader looking for my perspective on having children later in life and the negativity from others that can often come with it. While I am not an advice column/blog, this is a topic that I can definitely relate to, seeing as I had my last child at the age of 41. While the reader wants to remain anonymous, she asked that I respond publicly because “I am sure that I am not the only person who has dealt with this.” No, you’re not. Here is an excerpt of her e-mail:
“Lisa, I am a 43-year-old mother of 3, expecting my 4th child this August. Both my husband (also 43) and I are over joyed, but it seems like we are the only ones. Family and friends are always reminding us how old we will be when these kids are teenagers implying that we are selfish and should stop. Doctors are constantly warning us of the dangers [birth defects] of having children later in life. Money isn’t always plentiful, but somehow we make it without asking for anyone’s help. My family thinks we are thoughtless. ”
“…I just don’t understand why so many people have so many opinions on our choice to have more children!”
First of all, let me say congratulations on the impending birth of your new son or daughter! As my husband always says “There’s nothing like new life.” When we told everyone that we were expecting our fifth and last child, I’d say that shock was the most common response we received. This was followed closely by the question “Why are you having another child at your age?” Then there was the comment “You guys need a new hobby.” Or, “Can’t you just watch t.v.?” Oh, wait! Let’s not forget “Have you ever heard of birth control?” People would say to my husband “Man, you’re going to have to work until you’re 80 – years – old!” While this may not be too far from the truth, it’s not exactly the thing to say to a man expecting another child. Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when a friend asked my husband what type medicinal assistance he was using to be able to…ahem…produce these children in his late forties (after all, she was our second in 18 months). To say that Big Poppa was offended would be an understatement. It was then that we stopped socializing.
I’m sorry that what should be such a happy time for you and your husband is turning out to be stressful. However, the thing to remember is most people who ask these questions genuinely mean well. They are just thoughtless. In all honesty, we did not intentionally get pregnant with our last child. She was a glorious and wonderful surprise which meant that we had to readjust our thinking, also. Could we have used more supportive commentary from others? Definitely, but all of the negativity made us draw closer to one another. We were like-minded and that was all that mattered.
Likewise with how we handled the physicians. Keep in mind that doctors are trying to cover their own behind, so to speak. Should anything go wrong during your pregnancy and birth of your child they want to be sure that they have told you every possible scenario at least twice so that you don’t blame them for the outcome. While we understood why the doctors were so insistent on getting this information across to us, we got tired of hearing it. As you know, us Moms of Advanced Age (or MAA, as I like to refer to it) have special doctors and ramped up schedules all designed to remind us just how old we really are. I’m only kidding a bit here. Somewhere at the end of my second trimester, Big Poppa made it clear to my high risk specialist that we indeed knew of all the risk associated with having children at our age and requested that he cease with this line of conversation. It took a couple of reminders, but he finally got the message.
The truth is that you can’t stop people from talking. However, you can put distance between you and the talkers. You need to build your support group with people who are providing positive feedback, while not getting caught up in the negativity yourself. Soon your new son or daughter will be here and this will all be a distant memory. Looking back, I recognize that most of what was being said was out of concern for our well-being. I believe that the same is probably true for you. So, try to relax and enjoy these next few months before your new little one arrives. Avoid the naysayers and give a lot of people the benefit of the doubt because soon they will be celebrating with you. I hope this helped and thank you for stopping by. 🙂