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This whole ‘parensioner’ business

April 12, 2013

I’m sorry to swear, again, but every time I hear that word (which has been many in the last 48 hours) I want to stand and shout, “what bollocks” …

I am a parent … I am also an older mum. I was a geriatric primagravida and by the most marvellous miracle, I am now a mother … older than most (it’s true) with first (only) child of 15 months (born when I was 47 1/2), but a mother none the less… I am Hope’s mother and she is my daughter and I am so so blessed and fortunate to be able to say that.

I hope I’m a good mother, I strive to be and I think we get along pretty well the two of us. I get tired, but judging by everyone at playgroup so does everyone else, my joints ache from carrying her about, but again so do other people’s (often more than 20 years younger than me). I take Hope travelling, we have adventures, I sing songs with her in the park, I spend hours playing with her, delighting in her every new development, I still continue to breastfeed her and she is also thriving on baby led weaning and is eating really well (again I have other ‘mummy friends’ who have shied away from that because they are so scared their child will choke).

I think I am a much better parent now than I would have been in my twenties. Then I was always keen to be out and about, I hated missing out on events, parties and adventures and I am sure I’d have been far less prepared to take time for a chld. I don’t know, perhaps I’d have changed, but I don’t think so. Now I can go for weeks without going out for supper or a drink in the evening, I am so happy with Hope, watching her eat, assess, play, dance and just be … hours go by and I don’t regret a second of any of them. Last year when Springsteen toured I did go to a concert, Hope sat in the park outside with her father, while I listened to Bruce and to Hope’s godfather, but my heart wasn’t in it … I felt as if I was doing both things badly … not really enjoying the concert and not being with Hope either. For me to say that about being at a Springsteen concert is a big thing, huge … that was the only show on the tour I went to, the previous tour I went all over Europe and even to America to watch the joyous spectacle … the upcoming tour again I may manage one or two shows but we shall see … I smile when I listen to friends talking of queuing on pavements, issues with roll call, what song was played, who was in the front row … and think it feels so alien to my world .. and I’m happy with that. Hope is now my world (or a huge percentage of it) … I haven’t become dull (well not any duller than I already was), I see friends most days, I go all over the place, I travel, I have adventures, it’s just that Hope shares them with me… and she seems happy with that. She is a contented, laid back, cheerful, alert, watchful, playful, mischievous little girl …

I’m sure there will come a day when I’m less cool than other mothers, but to be fair that would have happened 20 years ago too … I’m sure my lack of fashion sense will mortify her one day but again I’ve never had it … I get confused with iTunes but I do have the latest smart phone and I think I’m pretty with it (to coin a phrase!!) as far as the world goes … I’m not into One Direction, but they never would have been my thing. Parents will always differ from their children and can always learn from them as well as teach them.

My mother had me when she was in her very late 30s … at that time it really was late to be having children … I had moments when I thought she was old, but I also thought other people’s parents were weirdly young or too hairy or had odd beards or wore strange clothes .. I was a child … ultimately she was my mother and I loved her (of course I rebelled and was a hideous teenager but that wasn’t to do with her age, just me having too many hormones and shocking taste in music … Yes Donny and Marie were my favourite then). I also promised (along with my brother) that we’d have lots of children so they had cousins … he’s fulfilled his side of the bargain, and coming up from behind I have my precious one so I’ve been a bit rubbish.

Aside from all of that I have taken steps to make sure Hope will be OK should anything untoward happen to me, she has 8 Godparents, she has several bank accounts, I save money for her and put everything she is given very diligently into her savings (with a reference of who gave it and why so she can see when she’s older if she ever wants to) … of course I can’t mitigate against every circumstance but I can try my hardest to ensure she’s not left in a difficult situation.

I do worry sometimes about Hope not having siblings her own age to grow up and hang out with around the house, but I will just have to continue to ensure she has friends round, that we play out, that she goes to groups, clubs and so on. I would dearly love to have oodles more children, we do still have frozen embryos from the IVF, but I think that it would (probably) be selfish to try as it might put me at risk and THAT wouldn’t be fair on Hope .. we are blessed and fortunate to have one perfect little person.

I ‘did’ two radio programmes yesterday … the first one was just me, the second I was a part of a panel … both seemed to home in on the idea that it was selfish to be an older parent … and it got me thinking. Am I selfish? Did I have Hope to fulfil something in myself rather than thinking about my ‘potential’ child’s future? I guess the answer to both those questions is yes … to a certain extent. I think anyone wanting a child could be labelled selfish, but I think (generally) that selfishness leaves you when you find out you’re pregnant, then all you want to do is ensure that the baby arrives, that it thrives and that it is happy … ‘you’ get pushed way into the background (or at least that’s how it happened for me). Thinking about a child’s future seemed too impossible a dream when embarking on IVF … I honestly never really believed it would work, and then when it did spent so much time terrified the pregnancy would fail (right up to Hope’s birth) as you’ll know from earlier episodes of our story … but as soon as I was able to start believing we might have a child then I started thinking about the future.

One of the radio interviews talked about the idea of having a child so they care for you when you’re older … that comes under the selfish label for me, of course you want to share your dotage with the child you gave birth to and not on your own in the style of ‘that’ recently deceased woman with a handbag … but you never know what will happen … so many friends live on the other side of the world to their parents (including my own brother), other families fall out, spouses drive a wedge between families… and so on, really anything might happen so if anyone was selfish (and silly enough) to have a child because they want to be looked after when they are older (in this day and age), then they are probably in for a shock.

So … having spent my pregnancy and Hope’s first year being covered with labels here we are at 15 months with another even more absurd nonsensical tag.

To be honest I can be labelled, I can be named, I can be rolled in peanut butter … sorry …  but ultimately it won’t change the fact that I am a mother .. and I happened to be a mother that gave birth at 47 1/2 and I fully intend to be as good a mother as I possibly can be for as long as God gives me be that months or decades.. also if you’re going to label me please make it more witty than parensioner.

Now then, I need to find that jar to put my false teeth into while I go and have my cup of Horlicks and read the Saga magazine … oh wait I love Horlicks and I have from time to time been known to read mother’s magazine (and enjoy a few articles in there).

The radio interviews themselves are available online for another few days .. links follow just below along with a few thoughts …

BBC radio 5 live .. national UK radio station – interviewed by Stephen Nolan (on the Victoria Derbyshire show) minutes before he interviewed Tony Blair which amused me no end … before you ‘go on air’ you have to listen to the last item that’s on before you, so the idea of him sitting eyebrows arched listening to me waffling on was highly amusing!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rqnp1 44 mins 16 seconds in … available to listen online until 17th April 2013

also on the programme was Liz Fraser (Yummy Mummy author) talking about growing number of people looking after young children and elderly parents … which did interest me .. I’m lucky that I have the support of my amazing mother, Hope’s Granby but she is in her 80s so increasingly that may become an issue for us all, in the meantime I think she’s ponder looking after daughter and grand-daughter.

BBC 3 counties radio … regional station covering Herts, Beds and Bucks – interviewed by Iain Lee

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016bycg 2 hours 37 minutes 7 seconds in … asking the question is it selfish to have a child when you are older … available to listen online until 17th April 2013

… where are my slippers?

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. lins22 permalink
    April 12, 2013 11:54 pm

    Obviously bugger all important for the Brits to talk about – you know like Syria, Korea, Africa, drought, famine, child abuse, etc etc. Never heard such a crap word and the concept behind it shows a distinct lack of understanding of the human race. Just get on with it, hun and ignore them unless it brings in money to stash in Hope’s accounts. In fact, add bankers to that first list and put it in the mattress. 😉

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