Monday, December 24, 2012

LESSONS I'VE LEARNED - Being an Older Mom

When I first became pregnant with Miss Crazy, I was 35 years old and scared out of my mind. I would be considered high risk and I hadn't been a new mom in eight years!  First I hoped that I would survive the birth, and second I hoped I could love a new child at 35 the same way I had at 25.

The worse my health got through the pregnancy, the more afraid I became - not just about my health, but my ability to love this child. If something happened to me would I resent her? If something happened to her would my rare occasions of wishing I wasn't pregnant make my heart ache with the darkness of guilt?

Fortunately, we both made it through and we were both alive and well. Unfortunately, the obstacles to our bonding just kept coming. My recovery from the C-section was long and extremely painful, trying to nurse her was a nightmare and my hips/back hadn't tolerated the birth well at all. When she was 4 months old, my hips went completely out. I couldn't move from my bed and even ended up in the ER with severe upper back spasms. My oldest had to help me take care of her (The Shooter worked odd and varying hours). When Miss Crazy woke up for a middle of the night feeding, The Senior was sleeping in her room and fed her for me. When she needed held or nursed she was brought to me in bed. It suddenly felt as if my whole world was crashing in on me. I couldn't move, my baby wouldn't nurse unless I practically forced her to, and she seemed to love my 11 year old more than she loved me.

Once I healed and was able to take over mothering duties, I sat late one night in Miss Crazy's room feeding her a 2 a.m bottle. I felt useless and removed from everything. Then it happened. I looked down at this baby that I felt no bond with and her eyes popped open and at that very fragile moment, I knew that being an older mom was what I was meant to do. I cried, holding her for an hour. Our bond formed strong and hard that dark early morning.

For the first four months of her life, I often wondered how my mistake of becoming a mom over 35 would affect the child (notice I said 'the' child and not 'my' child). Plain and simple, I figured I was too old and set in my ways to love a new baby. But that cold January night, my thoughts and beliefs changed in an instant.  I realized that if I had gone though the same difficulties with my older kids (when I was 25 and 28), I would probably have gone over the edge. I would literally have lost my mind. Being an older mother had brought patience I hadn't had with The Senior and The Freshman. In turn, it further developed my ability to love, forgive and manage. And best of all it gave me the ability to be a better mother to all of my kids. I'm not saying that I was a horrible mother to the first two, I just wasn't functioning to the best of my ability.

The addition of Mr. Insane and Little Butt were joyous occasions with no doubts about my parenting. I was more confident in all of my abilities. My harried over reactions to a sick child became calm decision making in a crisis or not so much of a crisis. And my ability to enjoy my kids was heightened. I no longer worried so much about how I was raising them, but about how much we were enjoying each other.

Should everyone wait and become an older mom?  No, absolutely not. I wouldn't trade my time as a younger mom for the world. But if you do become an older mom, don't fear it. Enjoy it and use the wisdom you have gained through the years to not sweat the small stuff. And by all means if you show even minor signs of Postpartum Depression do not be afraid to ask for help!!!

Until next time...Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas <3


Lisa Nolan said...

Thank you for sharing this! (I had my son at 41, my one-and-only!) I think I was better prepared in that he has Down syndrome.

JJ Ellis said...

You are welcome! I am glad that people are getting something out of my posts! Being an older mom really is great isn't it!!! <3