Heading home from work tonight, I overheard a conversation between a mother and her daughter, who I assume was doing work in a maternity unit somewhere in Glasgow.
The daughter was saying how cruel it was for the unborn children. How dare these women in their late 30’s only consider having babies because they wanted to live their lives first. I sat there, bump blissfully covered (not intentionally) and tried not to let it get to me.
It got to me.
The mother agreed, that these women who think it is acceptable to wait until they are in their late 30’s- early 40’s to have their children have absolutely no concern for the child’s welfare. Her basis for argument was due to a woman she knew waiting until she was 40 and then had twins. To her disgust – when those twins are 20, the mother will be 60.
So. Fucking. What?
Does this make her any less of a mother? Absolutely not. Does this mean she will be a better mother as she is older? Nope but it also doesn’t mean she will be a good one either. Will she love these babies any less than what she would have done when she was 20? Who can say?
I found myself biting my tongue, desperate to ask them if they ever considered WHY she waited? Maybe she didn’t wait, maybe this was the only time she managed to fall pregnant. Maybe she has been in abusive relationships before and didn’t want to commit to someone like that for the rest of her life. Maybe she didn’t want to have children and changed her mind later in life?
Or maybe, just maybe it was none of their business. Except there is no maybe about it.
I know when I was in my 20’s I was in no financial or mental position to have a child. Hell, I didn’t WANT kids when I was in my 20’s.
And here is am, in the final years of my 30’s finally ready to have a baby. I made this choice. I wanted a baby after years of not even giving it a slight consideration. And yes, I am an older mum, but I know I will be the best mum I ever could be now, not 10 years ago.
I wanted to tell them it is a woman’s choice so very badly, but I didn’t. I shuffled off the train and walked home, still seething that i lacked the courage to speak out.
But, does it actually matter? Well clearly it does to me, here I am rambling on about it! But it is just one of the many stigmas women face when deciding what they want for their body and their lives. I doubt it would have made a difference and to be honest, thinking back on it now, I don’t care if it would have changed their minds or made me feel better by venting (that’s why I am moaning away on here, sorry pals!).
It honestly just makes me feel so sad that this expectation is pushed onto women that you only have the choice of children when you are in your 20’s. I understand that as soon as you hit 35 the risk factors begin to mount up (believe me, I know!) but you don’t go into this without understanding what a colossal life changing choice you are making.
I fully expect to be the oldest mummy at the baby and toddler group. And you know what? I will just get on with it, because it is what my baby needs and I am confident I will make friends as will my daughter.
I am going to be an older mum, and I am going to be a fecking cool one at that.