Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Is everyone over 35 or 40 to 'old' to have children? Why isn't it alright for age just to be a number?

I want to have more children.  Point blank.  There is the blunt statement that usually gets me in trouble.  I have a feeling anyone my age would be given similar grief.  But there are so many women having children after 40.  So what is the big deal?  Why are women given so much grief for being 35-40+ and having children?  What about the celebrates that choose to have children while 'older'?  I have a fried that has eight children and is in her fifties with her youngest child being 2 and her oldest in his twenties.  Another friend of mine had her first child at 35 and is thinking about having her second.  She would be close to 40 by that time.  A very close friend of mine had her first child at 37 and would love to have another child.  Her daughter is 13 and she is 50.  Why do we have a problem with this?  My best friend had her last child at 42 and would have had more except she went through menopause.  These women are all around me, and what I find is they are good mothers and even if they had problems carrying their pregnancies it wasn't anything to do with their age.  For most of them there were no complications and their age was a benefit not a detriment both to their parenting and to carrying a child.  With me it is no different.  My four year old gets ten times better parenting and attention than my first two children did just simply because I understand children so much better now.  She's the youngest of five, and I'd really like her to have a younger sibling.

People around me get to know me, and before they hear my age, they comment how strong I am and how active.  I love this, because this is how I feel; healthy, vibrant, and still youthful.

Then they see my 24 year old daughter and my grandson, and they furrow their brow.  "You're not old enough to be a grandmother!"  I laugh.  "Well, I started a little younger than some."  And they nod a little.  Usually before this I've told them that I'm thinking of having more children, that I really love my kids, and I feel like my husband and I are good parents.  This generally goes over well until this point when they figure out I am 45.  Then they shake their head and say something like "Have you thought about how old you will be when the child is twenty?"  My response is usually "4 or 5 years older than when Tory turns twenty."

To these people, I hardly contain the question  "And your point is?"  I'm am getting fed up with people expecting a forty something year old woman to just stop living because she is approaching 'old'.  Let me clarify a few things.

1. I am not old.  Old is a state of mind.  And any woman is not old unless that is her state of mind!

2. My body is stronger than it was at twenty and no one complained about me having a child then.

3. I have a wonderful husband and family who if I should decide to have another child will be there and it is our decision not society's decision.

4. I know at least three women friends that have had children after 40.

5. I am not weak nor out of shape.  Yes, I am heavier than I would like to be, but I am healthy and eating more healthfully than anyone I know.  I can run and play with my four year old, and run up the steps of my home.  I've been walking each day, and it doesn't wear me out.  People who actually are around me don't question my strength.

6. I know how to parent better now than I did at twenty or thirty.  I handle problems better because I have experience with them.  And I know I am capable because I've handled every childhood problem between autism and mumps and many other things people wouldn't think of.  If I handled those issues do you think for a moment I couldn't handle anything else thrown at me?  And you know what?  My patience level is much better now than it was twenty years ago!

7. Besides all the above.  I believe in God, and sometimes his plans are bigger than ours.  I had gone through menopause for over three years and as I worked to make my body healthy came out of it and began menstruating again last year.  It made me pray a strange little prayer-- "God is there some reason this has changed?"  I felt like the answer was something like--  "Well is there something that you regret, that you gave up on, but I didn't?"  I smiled because I knew how much it hurt when I believed I would never carry another child.  I remember going to my priest when I realized I was going through menopause.  It hurt because I had wanted more children.  It hadn't been something I had talked about much because at that time my body was having so much trouble, but now six years beyond that day, my body is healthy, and I have this second chance.

I am just tired of people thinking I am too old, too weak, too out of shape, or even too burdened to think of having another child. I've tried to understand from their perspective.

 Maybe they think a full life span is 70 years. That would only give me twenty-five years or so in their mind.  But my parents and my husband's parents are already older than that, and I don't plan to give up life before 90, very honest.  In my thirties, I'd said 120 years, but after a few health problems that I had to recover from, God and I agreed to 90 or greater instead of a 120.  Yes, I sound silly, but I have a goal greater than what people who see me could guess.  I have made an agreement with God on breaking curses that have been on my family from previous generations, and I want to be around here to see the fourth generation.  If you don't understand the reference-- go to Scripture.  Anyway, so 90 says I still have more than 40 years.  --Enough time that I should see the third generation even with my youngest children.

Or maybe for the people that knew me in my twenties and thirties-- It is the fact I was very sick then, but then haven't they seen that I not only healed, but am also healthier and at a lower weight than I was then?  In fact right now I am as healthy as I have ever been.  So then what's the problem there???

Then there is the question--- "Well don't you want to retire?"  I don't see parenting as a job, but a joy.  It really isn't something I want to give up like I would a position I had been at for thirty years. Parenting is a lifestyle.  I haven't just parented my own children, but friends of my children that were having trouble in their lives and helped raise my niece until she was five.  Besides when my husband retires that just gives us more time to spend raising our kids.  I homeschool, so it would be a beautiful time to see the capitals in all the states, or travel to Europe and see where European history happened.  So what is the issue?

Yes it is hard work.  Anything worth doing is.  Yes things could go wrong, but it could at any age.  Why does our society think women are 'old' once they pass thirty-something?  I know I am not old and I won't be for a long time.  I am not afraid of growing older.  Actually I look forward to it, but growing in age does not mean giving up life and becoming 'old'.  That is something I never want to do!  I thought about just telling people I am in my thirties just to get them to shut up, but then if they see my family they would realize it was a lie, and I don't like to lie anyway.  So proudly I say (very loudly) I AM 45!  And if I get my way I plan on having more children!  I hope any woman that is thinking the same things will Roar just as loudly.  Maybe this is another way to change this society.

This is Cat out-- Roaring again.