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Wednesday, July 09, 2008


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When I was pregnant with one of my other pregnancies, I often felt very self conscious that I wasn't like the other older mothers I saw around ... homeowning, financially secure, settled career etc. But on the other side of motherhood, I realise that these things while nice, they're not necessarily what makes you a good parent.

It's so hard letting go of desire for a second child though, sigh.

ps, how lovely to see a photo of you and your boy.

Oh yes, it's definitely particular to you - I certainly had NO neuroses, problems or life-issues to sort out.

Also didn't tick stable career or finances when we started trying, despite age. But being an older mother (although I wasn't actually 40 when I *had* the twins, so maybe I don't fit the demographic!)definitely has more advantages than drawbacks.

The only thing is - do you worry about being an older mother of a young grown-up, or let alone when he gets around to having his own kids (if he does)?

I am not an older mother particularly - I was 30 when Liam was born, which is right on the average these days I believe - but my parents and Chris's parents were old for their time (mine were 32 when I was born, Chris's mother was 37 and father was 30 I think) - so they are older grandparents compared to most of Liam's friends'. And it makes me sad to think that the most of them probably won't live to see their grandkids grow up (based on their age and current health - Chris's Dad has heart disease, mine has prostate cancer, and Chris's Mum is already 76). Especially the ones that are not yet born - the one I still hope to conceive and the one my sister has due in October (after four years of trying). And that in turn makes me aware that my kids are unlikely to have kids any younger than I did, and more than likely they'll be older, which means I will be an older grandparent too - though perhaps that will be more common in my generation.

Anyway, that's the one downside I see to being an older parent, aside from the difficulty one is likely to have conceiving.

I know grandparent's probably aren't a big presence in Olle's life (I don't know if your partner's parents are around), but still - does it bother you to think that by the time Olle is considering children you will likely be at least seventy (not to put too fine a point on it...)?

It's funny but I read that article and saw that photo in the Sunday Life and thought of you. In my head I think I actually read it as though the article was about you, although I obviously knew it wasn't.

I sometimes feel that having kids later in life (although not that late, I'm pretty average now) made me more capable as a parent and less resentful. My little sister has teenage kids now and I watched with more than a little dismay early on in their lives because I felt she hadn't really *done* enough to be really happy when she had them.

But my insight is that I was one of those women who had achieved all the financial / relationship / career stability when I had kids and they changed it all. I stopped wanting any of the things I wanted before and started wanting a whole new life. Which is a good thing, but they really hit me for six because my life just didn't turn out how I expected and being thrown off course in my late thirties was very unsettling.

Still, maybe it was just a mid-life crisis and would have happened anyway.

Kirsten, the grandparent thing does cross my mind. But I guess my main reaction is that there are no guarantees in life - even as a young mother, you can't be certain that you'll be around or that your own parents will be around to be grandparents. My own mother died when she was 63, for example (and it does make me sad to think she never met her grandchildren.) Olle spent a lot of time with my father, who died when O was five, but O can now barely remember him. He has also spent a lot of time with his other grandparents, who are still both alive but don't live in Australia.
But looking at it purely from my point of view, of course I do hope that I get to meet grandchildren one day and if I'm 70 or even 75 when they're born, that seems young to me now! But again, I've never approached life in terms of planning like that - I don't assume O will become a father at all. The future seems very open-ended to me.
A couple of the grandparents of kids in O's class are literally only a year or two older than me. It seems more relevant to compare myself to my peer group and ask what life experiences have we had in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s - and I'm glad I wasn't looking after kids in my 20s and early 30s and I'm very glad to be living with a school-aged child in my 50s.

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