New older mothers

10 Things Not to Say to a News Editor About Being an Older Mother

newspaperThe media-led furore around older mothers rumbles on. Tabloid headlines inferring that the rise in mothers over the age of 50 having babies was responsible for excessive pressure across the health service. The percentage increase was huge but in real terms the number of women (in the UK) giving birth into their fifth decade went up to the total of 154 – a tiny figure as a part of the general rise in the number of births to older parents (35 and upwards).

When figures like this are published, I get approached by the press about my own experience as an older mother. My response is and has consistently the same – that I am where I am, and that I’m extremely blessed to be the mother of a wonderful, exuberant and thriving two-year-old. And, that (in common with mothers everywhere) I’m doing the best I can for my daughter to ensure she has a happy childhood, and a safe and secure future.

Sometimes that’s OK. But often the journalist will prod, looking for an angle, “How do you deal with the negative view of older parents?” “Did you feel judged by the medical profession?” “Are people rude to you when you breastfeed in public?” “You must have had a terribly difficult pregnancy?” “Do you have low energy levels due to your age?” and so on and so forth. [Read More…]

This Is What Happiness Is…

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

– Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Someone posted the above quote by Kurt Vonnegut on Facebook recently and it truly spoke to me. I hadn’t encountered it before; although Kurt Vonnegut was one of my favorite authors in high school, I’ve read very little of him since. I loved him then because he made me laugh and think and view the world in a new, demented way, and this is likely at least partially why I am the way I am now: cynical but loving and tending to view the world in an odd, demented way.

Have you ever said to yourself, “I am happy now; this is what happiness is?” I’ve always thought it was a little odd that I do. I’ve long thought it was my writing tendency that so often made me feel as though I were standing apart from the scene in which I found myself, a somewhat impartial observer. Reading that quote made me realize that, even if that’s a strange thing to do, I’m not entirely alone. Kurt Vonnegut, at least, knew about that. [Read More…]

What Lies Within – Reflections on Being a Mother

Women hidingWho are you in the hidden corners of your heart? What are the secrets that no one knows about, tucked away in the dark?

Do you hope for more happiness or wish for less pain? Do you dream of perfect health, maybe you hold onto memories from your 20’s.

Is there something you haven’t been brave enough to step out and do but the glimmer of hope still flickers in your heart?

The reality is during any given day you are the caregiver, the doctor, the chef and the housecleaner. You may work outside of the home, after which you come back and pick up where you left off. Some of you spend your day in the home, being a teacher, acting as chauffeur, or a cheerleader, and the lady at the laundry mat. [Read More…]

Mother’s Day

I remember the first Mother’s Day card I received. It was ten years ago. I’d been a new mom for two months.  I was a more than timid about reading the card; nearly embarrassed about acknowledging my new-found status.

It was similar to an incident which occurred around the same time. While at a local Blockbuster, my baby called out to me in front of some acquaintances.  Unaware that I’d become a new mom, they nearly paled when they saw that I was the recipient. I couldn’t face them directly, but caught their disbelief out of the corner of my eye.  I was almost embarrassed for them.  I wondered whether I appeared “motherly enough;” whether they’d ever seen me that way. [Read More…]

Daycare Director

daycareI had the most disarmingly honest conversation with the director of Anna’s new preschool yesterday. Like all good preschools around here, there had been a long waiting list. I didn’t have a hope of getting in. But I lamented to a mom friend about my hopeless hunt for good childcare, and, God bless her, she leaned in and said “You know, I might be able to help.” There might be a spot, she said, at her daughter’s preschool, as she graduated to public school. Did I want her to put a word in? Oh yes, please. [Read More…]

Mistaken Identity and a Big Mistake

ellieI guess it had to happen one day …

17 months have passed since she was born. I was 47 then, I’m (just) 49 now. Many people have congratulated me on my beautiful, funny, chatting, waving, singing, dancing daughter. And then, finally, along with the sunshine came the question that the media would like to think that I (as an ‘older mother’) get asked all the time. “Are you her Grandmother?” Oddly it wasn’t just once but twice in the same day … and both times by other (older-looking) women.  [Read More…]

Perspective (It’s All About Perspective)

perspectiveIn my older age (NOT old age) I have noticed something. Call it an Oprah-Aha-moment. Or wisdom that comes with gray hair – of which I have none yet, thank you very much. Or clarity. Or Karma.

Whatever it is, it is important. It is what can turn an opinion on its head, an observation into a judgment or a friend away. It can make silver-linings shine through apparent darkness.

It’s perspective. And as we age we gain more of it I hope. At least that seems to be the case with me and why I am glad that I am parenting my kids a tad later than I had planned.

I think back over so many events that now seem vastly different because life has handed me – through other events – perspective. [Read More…]

Sticks and Stones

Dear Reader: Our very own UK-based Ellie Stoneley has been shortlisted for the prestigious Brilliance in Blogging award for her blog, Mush Brained Ramblings.

Here is her latest work:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones But names will never hurt me” 

This pearl of wisdom, attributed to a Mrs George Cuppples in something called Tappy’s Chicks back in 1872, is now part of nursery folklore.

sticks and stones

I’ve never been particularly bothered by names or labels, which is probably just as well. I always wanted to be known as Beth (inspired by sweet gentle Beth from Little Women), but that never stuck, instead I ended up with Ellie as a result of my brother singing his version of (N)ellie the elephant very gleefully when my mother plated my hair into tight braids behind my ears which then stuck out at right angles.

I married in my mid forties (maybe the ears had put people off before that) and a few months before the wedding, was referred to by someone as a ‘spinster’ that’s one of the few names I have objected to … not long after that I became a “Mrs.,” a label that seems somehow too grown up for me and I’ve never quite got the hang of. Then, by an utter miracle, just over four years later, I became a mother.  [Read More…]

Motherhood, with Gratitude

I finally saw the NURTURE: Stories of New Midlife Mothers* photo exhibit. I’ve seen many of the photos on the website, of course, and knew about the project before I started blogging here. I consider the creator of this whole Midlife Mothering project an old friend, though I suppose it has only been a few years. But, seeing the photos in real life, and reading the stories of the mothers and their children in black and white, was different.

We read so much online now, it seems rare to be standing before a real photo, much larger than my computer screen, and reading the stories in person, as others shuffled around me, sharing the exhibit space in downtown Toronto. [Read More…]

Being Ageless – Resilience!

resilient womanRecently, I’ve been focusing on inspiring people to Be Ageless. Many of you may imagine that’s about exercise, vitamins, and green-tinted healthy shakes — and it partially is — but one of the greatest keys to agelessness might surprise you: resilience. [Read More…]

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