I recently heard that a girl I knew, in the place I grew up has become a grandmother. I am forty-four. She is a few years younger than me. Her mother is also much younger than mine. Her father is young too and still around.
I partied and careered my way through my twenties and most of my thirties. I shunned the idea of motherhood. I felt that it was a poverty trap, a personality trap, and every kind of trap you could think of. I had watched my mother struggle. I had watched some of my peers struggle. I didn’t want that to happen in my life.
I didn’t believe I was maternal. I didn’t believe in the biological clock. But I was in for a huge shock. At the age of thirty-eight it happened! It ticked loudly and constantly and I couldn’t ignore it.
Although I was twenty-nine when I met my husband and thirty-four when we married, having children was never on my mind. I assumed that if it ever did cross my mind, there would be no problem having them. I was wrong.
When I hit forty and no children had come along, my husband and I decided that maybe parenthood just wasn’t destined for us. I decided to concentrate on other things and put it out of my mind. Then, out of the blue, at the age of forty-one I became pregnant. We had our little son when I was three months off my forty-second birthday.
Because I waited such a long time to become a mother, my father never got to meet him. He passed on when I was thirty-five and it was to be seven more years before my son was born. My mother is still around and they love each other a lot but she cannot do the same things a younger grandmother could do. His other grandparents are also in their seventies.
That new baby, grandchild of the girl I knew, will have young parents, grandparents and even great grandparents. There will be three generations there to depend on. They can help with looking after the children while the parents have a break.
I never considered any of this in the past. It requires a lot of energy, strength and endeavour to raise children even if there is only one. It can be challenging, pleasant and satisfying all at the same time. Having a child or children in your forties makes it even more so.
I am so lucky to have been able to have my son in my forties and I am lucky that at least my mother is still around to get to know him. I wish I had done things a little differently sometimes and become a mother a little sooner, but I am mostly happy with the way things are.