I am an intentional mother and accidental writer.
I always knew I wanted to be the former; I never imagined I could be the latter. One day my fertility journey collided with the literary sphere. This happened after celebrating the fortieth birthday of my dear friend, Emma. At the time, she was an “AMA” (advance maternal age) mother of young children and a maternal-child health researcher. She knew intimately the issues AMA moms faced and the stigma and misinformation associated with having children over age 35. One fateful night she mused it would be great if there was a book supporting us. I agreed, and the next day I woke up with sheer conviction to do it. I called her to propose we write that book. Like any busy working mother—she agreed to it!
We started to interview “AMA” moms and kept interviewing them until the stories repeated. We drew out the themes and learned so much about this trend. I do mean literal trend—the only group in the USA, Canada, and most of Western Europe showing population growth are women over 35. What we learned is that these women take parenting seriously and make really conscious decisions about when and whether to become a mom. We learned that they wanted to heal old wounds, be at their physical and emotional best, and be finically secure before bringing another human into the world. These women weren’t chasing degrees, but many had passions that required advanced education. Why is a woman who dreams of being a surgeon any less maternal that a woman who dreams of being a hairdresser?
We also learned that the experience of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting are universal. I can attest to that. I have mom friends of all ages. Some are in their twenties herding toddlers as they ponder their next move, some are in their thirties juggling high power positions with day care drop off, some are in their forties sitting out a few years, and some are in their sixties revitalizing dreams that were on the back burner as they raised their kids.
We learned that women have babies later in life for a multitude of reasons, some planned and some not. We marveled at their strength as they overcame internal and external obstacles.
We saw that parenting is joyful and hard and messy and beautiful at all maternal ages. We hope to instill a sense of validation and comraderies in women through our work. We also wanted to offer coping skills for the journey. Too often, couples give up their dream of parenting not because their actual options have run out, but because they can no longer bear the weight of the struggle. Most importantly, we want women to understand that whatever brought you here, it is ok.
You will be ok.
Sharon Praissman Fisher is the co-author of Beyond The Egg Timer: A Companion Guide For Having Babies in Your Mid-Thirties and Older. She blogs at beyondtheeggtimer.com and nurtured-well.com. She is also dually board certified as an adult (medical) and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She is passionate about helping women through all stages of their life at Nurtured Well, LLC, in Baltimore, MD.
Follow Sharon on Twitter @beyondtheeggtimer
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