In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, February 25, 2005

Check the Label

by Beth K. Vogt

Having a baby at 41 earned me some new titles:

Advanced Maternal Age (AMA)
Late-in-Life Mom
Older Mom
Mature Mom

Recently, I heard a doozy of a label for moms over 35: Elderly Mothers.

Excuse me? My 86-year-old mother-in-law doesn't want to be called elderly!

Elderly means advanced in years. Other ways to say it would be aged, older, or senior. I'll admit I'm an older mom--older than I was when my first three children were born during my 20s. There's a bit more gray in my hair and a few more lines around my eyes, but when I look in the mirror, I don't see an elderly woman.

The term elderly just seems a bit harsh to me. The word evokes the idea of someone feeble, frail, and fading into the sunset. With a 21-year-old son, two teenage daughters, and a four-year-old, I have no time to be fading into the sunset. And, if a pregnant woman in her 40s is elderly, then what do you call the 56-year-old woman who gave birth to twins in November 2004? Ancient?

The trend of late-in-life moms is not a passing fad. Moms in their mid-30s to mid-40s are reshaping the face of motherhood. For better or for worse, we will create the perception of what late-in-life mothering looks like. My guess is we don't want--or deserve--the label of elderly.


At 3:36 PM, Blogger ROBIN said...

I am 39 years old with 2 children, 19 & 8. My boys are 11 years apart and I would not change it for anything in this world. I thought that I did a good job with the first one (who is about to be married to a wonderful christian girl). This time around with my youngest, I am so much more appreciative of each little thing that happens. I am more patient and enjoy each minute. I know that each year passes so much quicker than the year before and I want to savor each and every moment with my children that I can. If you want to call me a older mom this time, go ahead, because I know that it means so much to me.


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