When I am out and about with my two biological kids (I also have two stepsons), I’m sure it’s very confusing for people. They see a lady in her 40s (or maybe they think I’m still in my 30s?) with a young woman and a 2-year-old boy. Maybe they think we’re sisters (my daughter’s least-favorite scenario) and I’m the little boy’s aunt. Or, worst-case-scenario for me, his grandma. Yikes.
Sometimes it does come up in conversation when we’re at the grocery store or the mall or wherever. And sometimes we get surprised looks when I reveal that they are both my kids. Yes, my kids are 18 years apart. “I could only raise one at a time,” is my default response. A lot of times people will just say, “You’re brave.” Which I guess is the least insulting thing to say since, yes, I am.
I have the unique perspective of having kids at both a young age (23) and, let’s call it a more “mature” age (41). Sadly, during both pregnancies I was the recipient of hurtful comments/questions. I don’t know what it is about babies that makes some people think they can just say whatever they want.
When I was younger, people wanted to know if she was planned, when we were getting married, and how I was going to finish college. Eighteen years, a college degree, and a divorce later, while in a loving, healthy relationship, the questions were not much different. “Was he planned?” “When are you getting married?” When I was 23, the questions were embarrassing. But the 2nd time around, they just made me angry.
10 Things You Should Never Say to an Older Momma
“Was he/she planned?” Think it all you want, but do NOT ask it. If mom wants you to know, she will tell you. When people asked me, I just told them Sully was the most well-planned child on the planet. When my OB/GYN gave me the “Sooner Rather Than Later” speech, Rudy and I were living 1,000 miles apart. We had to coordinate plane and vacation schedules to create our little peanut. But that wasn’t really anyone’s business.
“What did your doctor say?” Please don’t ask this. You don’t know what struggles mom has had to go through to get here. I had an extremely supportive doctor who told me to go for it and I had no problems getting pregnant. There are many out there who are not as lucky.
“When are you getting married?” People. It’s 2017. We don’t HAVE to be married to have children. I know many amazing mothers who weren’t married when they had children. Maybe they did get married later, maybe they didn’t. There are many women who are stuck in loveless marriages because they felt obligated once they became pregnant. Just stop.
“Wow! That’s surprising!” A young lady I used to work with said this to me when I told her about my pregnancy. She had a young daughter and had just gotten married. There was no congratulatory tone in her voice at all and I could tell the surprise was based solely on the fact that she thought only women her age should be having babies. I didn’t talk to her much after that.
“You’ll be X-years-old when he/she graduates high school!” Mom has already calculated this in her head and does not need the reminder. She has also calculated her age when he starts kindergarten, gets his driver’s license, and turns 21.
“Aren’t you tired?” Of course we are! But guess what? I was also tired when I had my daughter at 23. Moms in general are just tired.
“Are you crazy?” Yup. We are. Crazy in love with our babies! Just like the younger moms.
“How are you going to keep up?” Don’t put us out to pasture just yet! If anything Sully keeps me moving.
“I hope it works out.” Would you say this to a younger mom? This implies mom’s body might not be up to the challenge (i.e., old).
“No comment.” Yes, someone actually said this to me. And it was the most painful because it came from a family member.
Things You SHOULD Say to an Older Momma
“Congratulations!” Simple as that. This is the one and only appropriate response to, “I’m pregnant!” regardless of mom’s age.
When one of my daughter’s friends; 21-years-old, un-married, still working on her college degree, recently had a baby, I sent her a gift card, some of my favorite baby blankets, and a huge CONGRATULATIONS.
Stop the judgment and start the love! There’s a baby on the way!