45 and Pregnant - What Will People Think?
By Jan Andersen
If you are planning a midlife pregnancy,
or suddenly find yourself expecting over the age of 45, apart
from the obvious health issues, one of the main questions that
will inevitably arise in your mind is, "What will people think?"
Will they think you're completely
mad? Will they offer unqualified advice based on limited knowledge?
Will they make insensitive and unkind remarks or, in the future,
will strangers assume that you are the child's grandmother? Will
they lack understanding and try to instil their own values upon
you by saying things like, "Why on earth would you want another
baby at your age?" or "Rather you than me." One of the most annoying
remarks and one that has been made many times to women who already
have children is, "You should be happy with what you've got".
That's no different to passing judgement on their choices by saying
something like, "Why do you want another car / house / pet? You
should be happy with what you've got".
It doesn't really matter what
other people think. We all make personal choices and no one should
condemn you for decisions you make that affect your life and not
theirs. The desire to have a baby is no different at 45 to the
desire to have a baby at 25.
Try to ignore any negative comments
you may receive, or compose your own witty comeback. Some comments
are based on ignorance and others are based on people's own personal
choice not to want another child themselves. Some comments may
even been be based on jealousy, with these messengers of doom
secretly harbouring a desire to be blessed with another baby themselves.
Too much unnecessary anxiety has been fed into the minds of older
mothers via non-medical friends and acquaintances who feel compelled
to impart their limited knowledge and thoughtless opinions.
If someone should mistake you
for your child's grandmother, so what? It is almost impossible
to discern someone's age these days and I know of much younger
mothers who have been mistaken for their children's grandmother.
However, age and appearance do not have any bearing upon your
ability to be a great parent. I would rather look like my child's
grandmother, secure in the knowledge that my child is being raised
in a loving, stable environment, than look like my child's sister
and be ill-equipped to cope with the demands of being a young
In 1983, when my own grandmother
was 75, she looked after my baby son whilst I went out to work
full-time. She was the best childminder that I have ever had and
put far more effort into educating him, amusing him and running
around the park than many younger parents I have known.
From my perspective, I have been
a young mother and an older mother so I have a comparison through
personal experience. When I gave birth to my first three children
in my twenties, I admit to being far less emotionally, spiritually
and financially stable than I was when I gave birth to my fourth
child at the age of 40. In my twenties, I was still trying to
decide what I was going to be when I "grew up" and was struggling
with all manner of identity crises, not aided by the fact that
I was in an unhappy marriage with an unsupportive husband. When
my life was crowded with unresolved personal issues, I was unable
to devote myself totally to my children. When I gave birth to
my youngest daughter at the age of 40, I was very clear about
what I wanted in life, including another baby. I had, and still
have, a supportive partner who nurtured me through the pregnancy
and plays an active role as a father.
People, by their nature, are opinionated
and will always be ready to impart their unwarranted views, often
in the most tactless manner. If you are dumbfounded by any comments
your receive, the simplest response is, "That's my choice. It's
what I / we want. It doesn't adversely affect your life does it?"
Jan Andersen can be
found at Mothers Over 40 www.mothersover40.com.This
article provided by the Family Content Archives at: http://www.Family-Content.com