Jack – 17 days new (pic via Sweet Lullabies Photography)
There is something I read this morning that really got under my skin. An article entitled ‘Sonia Kruger won’t know what’ll hit her’ in reference to Sonia becoming a mother at the age of 49.
That headline comes from a woman who became a first time mum at 50 and goes on to say “At our age we get used to being selfish — and I say that in the nicest way. I was very used to doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and you are relatively financially independent and able to do that. Then all of a sudden your world is literally tipped on its head and, instead of coming first, you come last” and “all of a sudden you have this tiny creature you know nothing about, and they depend on you for everything. At my age, it is pretty demanding.”
Yes, you know what? You’re right, about all of it. Trust me, I had all of those fears going in! And it’s demanding for mothers at ANY age. But most people considering having children, especially someone like Sonia, who has tried to conceive for quite awhile and has unsuccessfully been through IVF before, is well aware of this. Thank you for also pointing out that if you have a child at 50 you’ll be 70 when your child is 20. Again, I’m sure Sonia has done the sums on that one.
This kind of pointless article is exactly what I meant when I wrote in my first blog post that I think there is a lot of negativity surrounding parenting. I wish more people had shared their positive experiences. I hear and read so many more stories of sleepless nights rather than first laughs. Raising a child can be tough going, especially if you’re dealing with colic, reflux, painful breastfeeding and next to no sleep. But it’s not always like that, things do get better, and you wouldn’t change it for the world because you are so in love with this little person.
In reference to Sonia, why aren’t I reading an interview with someone who became a mother later in life describing the experience and her child as an incredible joy and the greatest blessing she’s ever known?
Why is it so hard to focus on the positives?
I was in a situation recently where I was talking to another mum whose baby was roughly the same age as mine. She asked me if I was getting any sleep yet. I could tell by her tone of voice that her baby was still waking frequently. I think I replied with “well, most of the time he’s pretty good” but it wasn’t easy to answer. Surprisingly, I felt awkward answering her question honestly, like I was boasting to this tired mother by letting her know that my son does sleep. It actually would have been easier in that situation to joke about how I’m sure he’ll sleep when he’s 15!
If someone struggling to breastfeed (or someone who was unable to) asks me how I’m going with it, I feel incredibly guilty for answering with the truth, that Jack took to it well and we found it relatively easy. I always have to throw in there that I did have mastitis 3 times and was prescribed antibiotics each time so they understood it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Again, because I don’t want to upset a vulnerable mum and be seen as boasting.
The same goes for sleep. He sleeps now, but he didn’t just fall into great sleep patterns, in fact he kept waking more and more often as he got older, and when my eyes were permanently falling out of my head, I sleep trained him at 6.5 months.
It comes with the territory, but when I was pregnant people liked to tell me that they put on 30kgs during their pregnancy and never lost most of it again, to sleep in every day because you won’t sleep once baby is here (as if somehow you can bottle all that ‘extra’ sleep you’ve got pre baby, and utilise it when you need it after baby comes – ha, I wish!) and “wait for the labour – you’ll feel like you’re dying”. Well, maybe, but it was also the most incredible experience of my life. The pain fades, I couldn’t even describe a contraction now, the love you feel for your child is endless. I’d make that trade any day!
So, if someone announces their pregnancy at whatever age, whether they have been trying for 10 years or 1 cycle, naturally or through IVF – congratulate them and delight in their happiness. If they ask for the truth about feeding, sleeping, labour etc, be honest, but throw in all the positives and know that everyone’s experience is different.
I could talk all day about my son’s sweet face, his infectious laugh, his open mouthed kisses, they way he nuzzles in to me when he’s tired or just that he’ll happily sit at my feet playing when I’m ironing, just to be near me.
A client of the accounting firm I used to work at emailed me when she found out I was expecting and wrote “a child is the greatest gift you will ever receive”. I still have a copy of that email.
Congratulations Sonia! Going back to that headline, you won’t know what hit you – insurmountable joy! You’ll make a beautiful mother x