Friday, July 23, 2010

A Mum at last! (Reposted)

As you can guess from the title of this blog, I am a forty something first time mum. Or as we say here in Ireland 'Mam' or 'Mammy'. I decided to write this blog to reach out to other older mums and to indulge my love of the printed word.

It can be a lonely business being a forty something first time mum. After all, as someone kindly pointed out to me, people of my age usually have older and even fully grown children. The fact that some people think this hit me at a mother and toddler group that I went to recently. The leader asked me if I was my two year old son's 'nana' (grandmother)! 

I was horrified and I am sure my face dropped even further than it obviously looked. I had thought that I actually looked pretty ok for my forty four years. I went into the toilets with my son and gazed in the mirror asking myself questions.  Did I have what I recently saw termed  as 'age orexia?  When I looked in the mirror I saw a reasonably young face looking back at me!! Was I deluding myself?  I had enjoyed the group up until that point but as my little boy didn't seem to want to join in either,(hows that for solidarity?) we
left. I had begun to see the group as a whole different generation to me. Most of the other parents were at least ten years younger than me and they only reminded me that I am indeed a bit of an oldie. 

You may wonder, if I am so worried about being an older mum, why I left it so late? The answer  is, there were many reasons, mostly to do with insecurities and wrong perspective on life. I did not want to be poor, trapped and miserable. After all, that's what had happened to a lot of older women around me, not to mention some of my peers who had children at a young age. And so, I spent my twenties and thirties in a partying haze, pushing kids to the bottom of my list. In fact, they really were not on my list at all!

Even when I married at age 34, I wasn't that interested in having children. Luckily, my other half did not pressurise me or seem to mind too much. In fact, he once said he thought I was too immature to have kids! The pot and the kettle come to mind in that regard! We both had good full time jobs and enjoyed going away, drinking and going out for meals. I didn't believe in the biological clock either or that it would ever tick for me. 

That's why, at around age 38 , when I suddenly started to take a big interest in my nieces and nephews, everyone was surprised.  Although I loved them, I really didn't connect with them that much. My brothers never asked me to babysit much and everyone said I preferred animals to kids. I guess, in hindsight, it would have seemed that way, but deep down I think I was just trying to avoid the whole issue. I had so many issues around childbirth and motherhood, it pains me to think of it now.

I couldn't bear to hear about pregnancies or see childbirth scenes on the television. I felt it was a humiliating and degrading experience for the woman and that as usual the man got off scot free.So, with this attitude, It really scared me when I started to ogle babies in their prams, and wonder what it would be like to have a child of my own! What was happening to me? Had I been wrong about the biological clock because it sure seemed to have started ticking for me, however late!

I really started to feel I wanted a child and my husband felt the same. We tried, but unfortunately nothing happened for a long time. Then I had my first miscarriage. I didn't even realise that was what it was at the time so ignorant of all things of that ilk was I. 

As time went on and I hit the age of forty, I decided to forget about the whole idea. By that stage I felt that it was probably my own fault that I could not conceive. I had spent the best part of 38 years saying I did not want children. Now it seemed as if my body was responding in kind. I felt as if I had willed it into not wanting them and it was just complying with my wishes. I remember someone saying to me at that time, that since I was forty, I might as well face the fact I would never have kids. I was sad but decided to get on with life and not think about it. Parenthood is not the path for everyone and it is not in everyone's life journey. I thought that was probably the case with me. I went part time in my day job and set up my own dogwalking and petsitting business and felt, for the most part content with my life.

Then, at the age of 41, it happened! I was pregnant! And whats more I was over three months gone before I even realised. I had lost track of my cycle because I had put it out of my mind. I was not sick and had no other symptoms. I felt terrific with boundless energy.It was only my husband said he hadn't heard me complaining about period pain for a while, that it even crossed my mind. I was soooooooooo happy when the test came up positive. I did two more just to be sure and the result was the same. Positive. Positive. Positive!

Some people were shocked and urged me to have all manner of tests done because of my age. I went for some private counselling just to be sure it was something we could handle. We then decided that we would forego the tests and just accept whatever and whoever was sent to us. I just knew then, that even if those tests had showed up any abnormalities we were ready for it. Thankfully, all was perfect and in November 2007 our beautiful son was born. It really was the best day of my life! Now I knew what people meant.

If I had known before what I found out that day and what I know now, I would have tried to have children a lot earlier. I realise now that even if it did cause me to be trapped, that having a child is a wonderful, beautiful blessing. In fact, parenthood has not trapped or frightened me in any way. So far, it is a bonus and an enhancement to my life and I think I can speak for my husband there too.

Since then, I have wanted another child really badly. I have a strong longing for that but I also wanted it for my little son. I would like him to have a sibling so that having older parents won't be a burden to him in later life. Sadly, I had a miscarriage last year age 43 and it was devastating. We are so so so thankful for the child we have and I am so grateful my body clock ticked loudly and woke me up before it really was too late!

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would become a forty something first time mum but here I am!!! Yippee!!


Sarah Butland said...
Bravo!!! What a compelling and heart warming piece. It's from the heart, to other mom's and mom's to be at any age. Things happen when it's best for them to happen. You weren't ready for your child before 41 and that's perfectly ok. I know that my husband and I were completely ready for whatever our baby threw at us (literally and figuratively) when we had him, before we did we were selfish and perfectly happy as a couple which was ok too. I imagine you and your husband were the same way. To parenting. And, by the way, don't have another for the sake of a sibling, another will happen if you're all ready for him/her.

SuileGlasa said...
Thanks for the post Sarah. We really would love another child and we are ready and waiting. It would be great for my son as well. However, I think at 44 it may be too late. But then again, look at Cherie Blair the ex British Prime Ministers wife. She was 45. There are many examples so who knows! Watch this space.. Or should I say, watch this blog!!

lizm8906 said...
It's never too late! Some women of 65 are having them - although know I couldn't - feel too old now sometimes and am also a 40 something Mum of young girls although did get in having them just before 40... Very interesting Blog... I look forward to seeing more posts. x

SuileGlasa said...
As you said yourself Liz, it's never too late! If it's meant to happen, it will.

berniegloster said...
Great and so honest and funny.Things happen for a reason I lost three babies before I had my son I thought I'd have no more and 8 years at nearly 39 without I had my daughter a total surprise.I still remember when my son visited me in hospital and asked me was I going to dye my hair still because he was afraid they may think I was her granny not her mum(out of the mouth of babes)Well at 52 I still dye my hair and I have two georgeous kids (my son of 22 would'nt like me calling him a kid)both a fantastic surprise

veronahanlon said...
Such a lovely featue - it's funny to think that as women (who want it all), we are probably thinking the same things!

Loraine said...
Hi Neighbour - glad to have read your blog - it's an absolutely amazing experience to be a Mom and I am so glad you went for it - I too experienced loss having had two miscarriages after my daughter and thought I would never have another - but some medical intervention and the wonderful drug "lovenox" (I have a blood disorder that causes me to develop clots while pregnant) - and my beautiful son was born a year and three months ago. Please take each day as it comes - God will send to you a blessing if it is right for your family - in the meantime, enjoy your son every minute (even if he gets into your makeup or draws on your walls!)... Love Lo X

Claire said...
Thanks Lo!

Lorna said...
Delighted to find your blog. I had my kids at age 33 and 35 and planned to have another 2 by the time I was 40. 3 miscarriages later (had no probs with first 2) and lots of infertility treatment and aged 41 this month, we are going to adopt. But I so empathise with your feelings re not being maternal, even when I was pregnant with my first, I was wondering how on earth I could breastfeed and bond with this thing that would cry, smell and not ever sleep. Ok, he never slept but he was a gorgeous baby and I ended up breast feeding him till he was 2 so I sort of turned into an earth mother - far cry from the woman who was going to thrust him into the creche at 8 weeks and head back to work! I hope you have another baby - best of luck. Personally I think the later women leave having their kids, the more they enjoy them

Danka said...
Congrats on your baby! Loved your story! I have few friends who don't want kids or are not ready for them and my heart cries out but unfortunately they would never understand "us" (moms) what it means to see smile of your baby!

Claire said...
You are so right Danka. I am so glad I found out before it was too late!

Claire said...
Lorna, I love your story. I think it's great to adopt also. The very best of luck with it.


  1. Hello Claire, it's funny how we can find ourselves on the outside edge of a group. There are some areas nearly all mothers can relate - and some areas where we feel quite alone. Although, as I'm sure you've learned, we never really are completely alone. Especially now that we have the world wide web to bring our stories together. This is a great (re)introduction to your story and I'll be looking forward to the next chapter. :)

  2. Thanks for the comment. I really don't know what I did before the WWW. I am having so much fun with it!


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