Archive for the ‘Older Mums’ Category

Yesterday I took my lovely girls to the hair salon so they could look even more beautiful for the first day of school tomorrow. My eldest is 12 and going into 7th grade and my youngest is 10 and going into 5th. Our lovely hairdressers Marcie, who works at Salon Dante in SLC is great with my girls (which is why we drive so far to see her) and really listens to what they want and tactfully steers them to safer waters if they want something too outrageous.

I am very proud that my girls have their own sense of style and I’ve always tried to encourage their self expression. We’ve always had an extensive dressing up box, for example. I have never, despite being an older mum, expected my kids to ‘act like they are 40’ as the person who started this discussion on Pregnancy and Parenting suggested older mums do; and which inspired my blog post On Being An Older Mum. So, I thought I’d let you see a few photos of our trip to the hair salon.

Gone are the days that I can get away with a dry trim – it’s the full wash and style now. They love being pampered! My eldest, Molly, chose a style from a book and Marcie did a great job of replicating it. My youngest, Alice is at the stage where she likes to be a bit crazy – hence the mismatched shoes. They were a great deal so I bought two pairs – she loves to wear the different colors at the same time. In my opinion the end results are gorgeous but then I’m heavily biased.

How do you encourage your kids creativity? Do you let them pick their own style, within reason? Or do you, like some of my friends, pick your kids clothes for them and feel they have to look matched and ‘put together?

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There’s no denying it, I’m an older mum.  I had my daughters at 37 and 40 and I’m now 50 with a 12 and 10 year old. However,  have never really seen it as an issue or problem. Sure, as I talked about in the post ‘Older Mum? Or Just Plain Old?’I got a certain amount of attitude about my age during pregnancy but I know I was fit and healthy and fairly very young at heart. I knew there are people who think being an older mum is not a good thing but have never paid too much attention to it.

However, now I am blogging, I have set up google alerts about the topics I wish to blog about and yesterday I came upon this discussion on Pregnancy and Parenting which asks the question ‘what do you think about first time mothers who are in their 40s?’. Whilst it’s a fairly balanced discussion I was quite stunned by some of the criticisms of older mums.

  • Older mums are selfish because they are not thinking of the child, their own health or the higher risk of birth defects.
  • Older Mums don’t have enough energy for young children
  • Kids of older mums are too ‘mature’ because their mums don’t/can’t get down on the floor and play
  • Older mums are selfish because they have a greater chance of not being there for their kids as adults or – even worse – the kids might have to take care of the aging parent
  • Older mums are selfish because they put their career first and then give in to this ‘sudden need’ to have a child.

Wow! Some people really feel this way about older mums! I would say that they clearly don’t know many.

Women that become mums when they are older seldom plan it that way. Some, like me, just don’t meet and settle down with the right partner until they are older. Some try to get pregnant but do not have a successful pregnancy until they are older. And, yes, some chose to wait until they are older and more secure financially and I’m sure there are the few that just feel that biological clock ticking and go for it. I would say each and every one of them DOES think about what they are doing – very carefully – as they have lost much of the impulsiveness of youth.

On the subject of energy. I have days where I have little energy and days where I’m full of energy. I remember feeling that way when I was younger too. I would say that 50 sounds really OLD until you get there. I personally do not feel OLD – I work out, I play with my kids, we have fun. I certainly got down on the floor and played with my kids when they were younger. I’m sure there are some older mums that don’t but I’ve also know younger mums who just sit around watching their kids play.

As for the subject of not being around for your kids as adults. Well I say pooey to you! None of us know when illness and death may strike. In general people live longer healthier lives these days so there’s a good chance I’ll be around for 30/40 more years for my kids. On the other hand my Dad died from brain cancer at the age of 61 having been very fit and healthy up until that point. You just never know what’s in the stars for you.

I guess the point of my post is not really to put the case for older mums. I say whatever works best for each person is okay by me. But to those that see us as wrong for being older mums PLEASE don’t tar us all with the same brush and see that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mums of all ages.

Have you ever felt affected by some people’s view of you? Or have you faced the stigma of a different stereotype at all? Do you think it’s okay to be an older mum or are some mums just pushing it too far nowadays?

As a follow up to yesterdays blog post Antenatal Ultrasound and Testing and the Older Mum about the fact that I refused the triple test and most other prenatal during my first pregnancy I thought I’d talk about my second pregnancy and how I, rather unwisely I now feel, took a different approach.

I somehow overlooked all my very valid reasons for not having the triple test and then ended up also having an amniocentesis.

Would love to have your comments and experiences with this. Do you think there is too much antenatal testing? Do you go for the lot just to absolutely sure that there is nothing wrong with your baby?

I talked in this blog post about the fact that I refused most antenatal (or prenatal) testing when pregnant with my first child at the age of 37. What I really meant was that I refused the blood tests to show the possibility of abnormality. Most new mums these days go for all tests but older mums are particularly encouraged to do so because of supposed higher risks.

So, why did I refuse? At the time, where I lived, the earliest abnormality testing was the ‘triple test‘ which was recommended for women at my hugely advanced age – grrrr. This is a blood test that is taken between 16 and 18 weeks for best results. It’s designed to show the possibility of Down’s Syndrome and Spina Bifida.

Why on earth would anyone refuse this I hear you asking. Okay – here are my reasons

  • The test results are skewed by age (that is they factor in your age). Therefore in all likelihood anyone over the age of 35 is going to get a ‘bad’ result
  • A bad result leads to a push to have amniocentesis and I was very against invasive tests
  • The results would have arrived a very short time before the major abnormality scan or ultrasound
  • The ultrasound would show up any very major abnormality
  • I would have carried on with a pregnancy that showed slight chance of abnormality so why worry myself for the rest of the pregnancy with what might be wrong.

I know that there are other options for testing nowadays and I am all for personal choice but I urge anyone who wishes to avoid invasive tests to stand firm and refuse the triple test as it only gives an indication and, therefore, almost always leads to an amniocentesis in women over the age of 35 just because of their age.

What was your experience of ante/pre natal testing? Did you refuse any tests or go for the lot? Either way why did you make that choice?

I wrote in this earlier blog post how I overcame a whole load of fears and learnt to ski at the age of 49. Well, ever since then I have decide that there are certain things I am going to make myself do before I am too old to do them – my bucket list I guess. The main one on the list was to try something that the very thought of has always terrified me – to ride the zipline at Park City Mountain Resort. I had seen these things on TV and, since I’ve always had a fear of heights, thought that this would be a big no no. However, having overcome that fear to a degree whilst learning to ski I began to think maybe, just maybe I could do this.

I did, however, have a feeling that I might chicken out so I told my husband and girls that I was going to do it and to make doubly sure I arranged my August AuPair meeting at the resort so that some of my girls would do it too. Funnily enough, turns out most of them wouldn’t do it as they are just like I was at their age – over fearful but there were other things to enjoy at the resort so it made for a fun meeting.

Anyway – having husband, two daughters and my AuPairs there meant that there was now no way I could chicken out so I bought my ticket and Natalie from Austria and I decided to do it together (thanks Natalie – I love you!). By the time we reached the line at the top I was beginning to get nervous and as our turn came I was wondering if I could back out there but I just though ‘stop it!’ – you HAVE to go through with this. I was shaking as the guy strapped me into the harness and then he flipped the lever to let us go.

Well all I can say is WOW!!!!! It was an amazing rush from that first second. I loved every moment of it and Natalie and I are now planning on doing a longer, faster zipline at Utah Olympic Park. As an older Mum I am so proud of myself for doing this. My husband and daughters loved seeing me get such a rush from it and I feel I proved to my AuPair group that I’m not an old fuddy duddy at fifty :). I think the pics show how much I enjoyed it 😀

I finally feel at the age of fifty that I can do ANYTHING I choose to do. Tell me your stories of overcoming or facing up to fears. Or what’s on your bucket list? Do you have anything you feel inspired to just get on and do after reading this?

This post was originally posted as a guest blog post on @newbreedmama’s (her twitter name) blog. The post means quite a lot to me so I decided to repost it here.

We recently went on a family road trip to California and visited The Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco. This took me back to memories of me when I was around 11 which is smack bang in between the ages my two girls are now (12 and 10) – I grew up in England by the way.

At that age I had an Easy Rider poster on our playroom wall and used to borrow my teenage neighbours record player and records for a weekly disco that I ran for my school friends. I used to charge a small entry fee and with that I bought biscuits (cookies) and lemonade to for all my friends. Early signs of entrepreneurship?

I also remember that The Isle of Wight Festival was on and my teen neighbours went. I couldn’t understand why my mum and dad wouldn’t let me go with them! And I remember that my mum would try and recreate all the 60’s fashions for me as she made most of our clothes and she even bought me a pair of boots like the ones in the picture.
These memories made me look at my girls and how hard it is to let them grow up and be themselves. It’s so hard to let go and I had far more freedom at that age than my kids do now. My eldest got really upset the other day over some little thing and sobbed that she wished that she were 18 and that we didn’t tell her what to do all the time (I seem to remember that we had told her off for not doing some small chore). I remember feeling way more grown up than I was allowed to be.

I do also remember those hormonal ups and downs but it’s so difficult to know exactly how to deal with them as a parent of two girls. I do my best and communicate and hug way more than my mum and dad ever did but I still feel I’m not quite getting it right. Add to that equation two very different personalities in my girls and I’m learning that each one is going to need very different things from me as a mum.

We have started to allow them some freedom. My 12 year old went for a sleepover with a 13 year old friend the other day and was exploring our small town and riding around on the free bus in the town and she loved it. I was, of course, worried sick. We also drop them at the movies on their own and leave them at home alone for short amounts of time while we go to yard sales or on a date night.

I’m learning that this time is way more difficult than when they were younger even though we have the freedom to go out without them at times. I’m also learning to understand where my mum and dad were coming from all those years ago.

How do you cope with either the actual or the thought of the process of letting go with your kids? What are you learning from seeing your kids grow up? Does watching them grow up bring back memories of you at that age?

I always wanted children but didn’t meet my husband until I was 34 and we decided to ‘try’ to get pregnant when I was 37. I came off the pill and expected it to take some time. Four weeks later I felt like crap. So very tired and sore boobs and bingo – a blue line – on BOTH home tests. This was two weeks before our wedding.

I was still living in England at the time and midwives deal with most pregnancies and births there so off I trot to meet Rosie the midwife. She takes my details, tells me that I have to have the pregnancy ‘confirmed’ by the doctor – hmmm two tests, sore boobs and unbelievable tiredness not enough? She handed me a card, told me off for not taking folic acid supplements and that’s where it started. It had the words elderly primigravida written on it in capital letters or in other words old first time mum.

Throughout the pregnancy my advanced age was constantly mentioned. I wanted a home birth but it was – oh no, not for a first birth and ‘at your age’. Always been a bit of a hippie me – as was confirmed when I took the hippie test on this blog. I didn’t want pre natal testing but the midwife was horrified because of the risks ‘at your age’ (I still refused anything other than scans – and that was because I wanted to see my baby).

Thing is, I didn’t feel old. I’m fit and healthy and always felt younger than I am and I just believed that my baby would be healthy and everything would be fine – so way to go guys – try your best to try and make me feel old.

To all you older mums out there did you have a similar experience? If you’re not a mum have you experienced anything that made you feel older than you felt before? Do you think attitudes have changed since 1997 when I got pregnant – there’s an awful lot of older mums these days?