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 mother.
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?"
can be found at Mothers Over 40 httP://www.mothersover40.com.This
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