Check the Label
by Beth K. Vogt
Having a baby at 41 earned me some new titles:
Advanced Maternal Age (AMA)
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.