I was just at a family gathering when one of my cousins could see the tired look on my face as I was chasing my 2 year old around the room. She asked me how I was and I said, “Tired.” She responded by saying, “That’s why you have your kids in your 20’s and not your 40’s.” Ouch, I thought and I kept on running… grateful to get away. The truth is, I wasn’t ready for children at 20 or really even at 30 years of age. Only when I was in my late 30’s did I think about becoming a mom.
Around 38 my biological clock woke up and I felt ready to parent. I felt emotionally ready for the huge responsibility of marriage and even bigger one of raising a child. So, here I am a mother of a toddler at 46 and working on ways to stay as physically and emotionally young as I can, even though my mail has a mixture of parenting magazines and AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). I will say the AARP magazine is really well written and it even had my teen idol Michael J Fox on the cover last month, yikes wasn’t he just on the cover of Seventeen?
One of the things that has always brought me comfort throughout my life has been books (and apparently magazines too). So, when I found, The Zen of Midlife Mothering, which is a book of essays compiled and collected by Cyma Shapiro, I knew this fit the bill.
It was such a relief to read about other mothers who gave birth or adopted in their 40’s and 50’s. My favorite chapter was written by a rabbi called In Praise of Older Mothers (Even the title is awesome) by Rabbi Stephen Fuchs. He started his chapter off by sharing the 5th of the 7 blessings recited at Jewish weddings which says, “May the (Akarah) barren woman rejoice with happiness in the company of her children.” The blessing is referring to the many women who gave birth way beyond the normal childbearing years, with Sarah in the lead at 90 years of age delivering Isaac. 1
Rabbi Fuchs goes on to say that the fact that so many older mothers are mentioned in the Bible that it “must be seen as a compliment to women who give birth to children in middle age and beyond.” And states that the middle aged woman who gives birth (and I would add adopts) does so with great intentionality and that these children are “eagerly desired, lovingly nurtured and raised in a home where finances are more than adequate to see the child’s needs.” Well, maybe not a load of finances after all the fertility treatments and adoption costs-but hey, they get better food than ramen noodles for dinner every night. He ends by saying that not only did these mothers rejoice with happiness over their miracles, but these children played important roles in the history of Israelite people. 1
Here’s to us “older” women who are currently trying to conceive or adopt, are pregnant, or raising our future leaders and change makers!
1 Shapiro, Cyma, The Zen of Midlife Mothering, compiled and collected by Cyma Shapiro, Cyma Shapiro Publishing, 2013, 142-144.