Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Being an Older Mother...
I did not have a choice in whether I was an older mother or a younger one – well, I suppose we all have choices but I didn’t meet JourneyMan until I was 34 and we were married just before I turned 36. We knew that we were going to have to do IVF before we got married so we started IVF when I was 36. I got pregnant with JBB when I was 38 so we suffered through 2 and a half years of cycles before we were successful. I am now 41 and pregnant with Boo2 and hopefully he will arrive healthy and happy a few months before I turn 42.
So what does being an older mother mean to me? Firstly, I think definitely think that the physical part of pregnancy, raising a newborn and a toddler is more demanding as I age. This pregnancy is definitely physically harder than the last and there is only a few years between the pregnancies but I am definitely finding it a lot harder. Then there is the recovery from the ceasar to deal with and a newborn whilst running around after a toddler, I think that will also be pretty demanding physically. The biggest worry for me physically is ‘can I keep up with the demands of these two children?’ and mostly I answer that by knowing that I will have to be in my peak physical condition and take care of myself in order to be there for them for the longest time possible. Once this pregnancy is done, the focus will definitely be on getting and staying fit again, eating as healthily as possible and allowing myself down time to recover (sometimes not an easy thing!).
In terms of my mental health, being an older mother is a great thing. I have lived a full life, I have travelled extensively, I have been successful at my job, I read and research like there is no tomorrow. I have had counselling through my life if I have hit snags, I am not afraid to ask for help if I need it – I am a super place mentally compared with myself 10 years ago (which I was a big mess but that doesn’t mean that all 31 year olds are!!). I think I have a good outlook on life, I am happy with how I prioritise and my family is absolutely number 1. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove in my career, I like my job but it is not my life. There is no resentment that kids have interrupted my career – they certainly haven’t. I used to look for meaning in what I did for a living, now I find meaning in the most everyday things: finding a new meal that JBB loves to eat, seeing JBB squealing with laughter as he plays with the dog, teaching him to sing a new song, reading a story to him and seeing him understand more and more each day, taking pleasure in a bath on my own with a good book, finding new author’s to read, seeing a good movie, laughing at JourneyMan’s ‘dad’ jokes, discussing life with JourneyMan or my Bestie – life is good and a new baby will enhance that even more.
Emotionally, I know who I am. I am happy to listen to advice from others (I have had some amazing help from people) but I am happy to trust that I know best for myself and for my family. I believe that I am a good mother (being pregnancy couch bound notwithstanding) and that I am giving JBB the best start in life that I can. Most of the time (cycle disappointments also notwithstanding), I think that I am a good wife, friend, daughter, sister, niece and coworker – I generally have good relationships with people and think that I am a good role model for my kids.
Financially, even though we have taken some serious hits doing IVF, I am reasonably stable in my ability to earn a good wage to contribute to our household budget and to give our kids a good environment, education and experiences in life.
So, my feelings, essence about being an older mother are generally good though I do feel that I need to do everything in my power to stay as physically healthy and happy as possible to be in my kid’s lives for as long as possible. I don’t necessarily feel that it is ‘better’ being an older mother to being a younger one, I think that there is good and bad with both and that it depends on the person.
I do hope that I will live long enough and that I am healthy enough to see and take care of my grandchildren!