A few days ago I posted on social media some of the things you shouldn’t say to an older mum:
- But you’ll be (insert age) when the baby starts school/uni.
- Was it mistake?
- What if you can’t keep up with him/her?
- What if you aren’t around to see his/her children?
The post got a tremendous response! (see post here)
Women who saw the post added to the list:
- Hang on…how old are you?
- You should have had them younger.
- Why did you wait so long?
- Are you grandma?
- I assume it’s with a different partner?
- How are you going to cope at your age?
- Rather you than me at your age.
- Why the big age gap between your kids?
No-one needs to explain how thoughtless these comments can feel. You see, often people don’t know the reason for having a baby later in life, of which there are many and some of them didn’t occur to me before I had a baby in my 40s. The reasons can be complex and the facts, sometimes, sensitive.
So, I’ve compiled a list of things you should say to an older mum:
- You’re amazing!
- I’m interested to hear about your journey.
- How are you feeling about the pregnancy?
- How are you feeling about being a new mum?
And that is about it.
I really hope people would ask nice questions to open up conversation, and hold back on the loaded unhelpful questions and statements. Society expects life to be a certain way (married, the right age, etc etc) and actually as with motherhood, there is no rule book to life. Why are we expected to do things that please others? When someone does something that challenges the norm, people can’t cope (speaking from experience) and I find it fascinating.
The reason I started this blog five years ago when I was pregnant at 42 was because when I shared my pregnancy news, people (all women) judged my situation. My goal with ‘Geriatric Mum’ is to try and educate people that judging others hurts. I want to make sure women and families don’t go through the same thing I did. I’d like to see the term geriatric mum wiped out, too. I originally used it for this blog and on socials because it stands out, and women were still being called geriatric mum by medical professionals, and in some cases they still are. I have never liked it the term and it absolutely does not reflect what an older mother is.
Language is important when it comes to many aspects of life, especially motherhood. Make sure you share this blog post in the hope that others will say ‘You’re amazing!’ instead of ‘Hang on…how old are you?’ in the future.
Lucy aka Geriatric Mum