It finally happened. The day I had been dreading. I was expecting it when my kids were in grade school, not while getting their pre-kindergarten check up.
Flashback to my makeup days working for Lancôme….Jacksonville.
The client was sitting in my chair while I was doing her makeup. Highlighting, contouring, shaping, and doing all the necessary things to give the illusion of youthfulness. She was about 55 years-old. In our conversation, she told me that she had a toddler.
My first reaction was, wow, she’s old- that poor kid. How will she keep up with him? What will his friends think when he’s older?
This concerned me. At the same time, I wondered, what makes people want to have children later in life? Do they think it through? Do they think about how they will manage as age takes a toll on them?
The truth is that I didn’t really think that far ahead. In my mind, when I turned 40, it was now or never. I had never thought of having children before that. I viewed them as an inconvenience. I also never envisioned getting married. That seemed even more of an inconvenience, lol. When I met my husband and we dated, we didn’t even discuss kids. Then we got married. We went a long with our lives and our three animals and didn’t think much about it.
I thought being a mother was something that you knew you wanted. I believed that it was an innate feeling that one had, and I didn’t have it. I did not feel that “mother instinct”. But when I turned 40 I noticed that my friends and I had different lives. They were having children and I wasn’t.
Should I have children, I thought? Would this enhance our lives? So, I tried at 40 year-old and it happened. After I had a miscarriage, I wanted it even more. I was devastated. I wondered about the family that could have been and being a mother suddenly took on a new meaning, whereas before it was like, “let’s just try and see what happens.” Now that I had seen the ultrasound, it suddenly got real, and when I lost the baby at 10 weeks, going through that kind of loss was like nothing I had ever experienced. So, I was apprehensive in trying again because I wasn’t sure how long one should wait before trying again. I didn’t want to dismiss the loss I had just had. I could never forget what could have been.
When I had my first son, I was in love. I couldn’t fathom such love. Then we had the second boy when I was 43. After such a difficult pregnancy and dealing with bad post-partum, I knew I was done. Yet, just the other day, someone asked if I was ready for another. At 46 years-old, I personally feel like it wouldn’t be a good idea. I feel blessed with two. I was told I might never have children, so why push it? I don’t think my body could handle another pregnancy and I can’t handle another bout of post-partum depression. My family needs me. We are done.
So, now even though I got the question sooner than later about my age, these days women are having kids more in their 30’s and 40’s than ever. I applaud them for that. But at what point is it dangerous? At what point is it selfish?
In my case, my husband and I are only children and we really wanted our first son to have a sibling. Looking back, it is the best decision we ever made. Watching siblings interact is a beautiful process.
So, when I was asked if I was the Grandmother of my sons, I hadn’t prepared an answer. I do have friends my age that are grandparents. It is the reality. So, I just said, “No, but I could be.” This is the truth. I could have had children thirty years ago. In fact, a couple of my friends got pregnant between the ages of 16-18. But my life took a different turn and I had my kids late.
And gratitude is a funny thing. Life had a lot of lessons for me and I needed to go through growing pains for quite a while until I was ready for kids. Through those lessons came pain, and through that pain came gratitude. When I see young mothers, I am not envious. I am grateful for my past. I wish them well, but I lived many lives before having kids. Because of those lives, I can be a present mother. I have the wisdom to know the difference.
Funny, but my mother and father are still alive and very well, and my 92-year-old Grandmother is still alive. On my father’s side, his parents have passed. This is life. We aren’t in charge of our destiny. Life is fragile. I believe that this was the plan.
As for the woman who made everyone’s head turn in the doctor’s office when she asked me if they were my grand kids, I was shocked when she said that she had triplet boys at 44 years-old.
The next question is, do people who decide to have children at 50 years-old force “the plan?”