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Aah thank you Debs for the supportive post, really needed to hear that. It sounds like you've been through a lot too and am drawing strength from how you deal with things. The words the lady said really stung but was also thinking the country where she comes from they have children very young and I'm not kidding myself that I look in my 20s anymore.  It's funny however that just one casual, off the cuff remark from a complete stranger has the power to hurt so much and also to make you re-evaluate your self image/ esteem. Keep wondering now when the next comment might be and am already thinking a way of pre-empting might be when meeting people initially to quickly slip into the conversation the words 'my daughter or my son' to avoid the prying questions. I'd never dream of asking others any personal questions esp when I barely know them and wouldn't even ask someone if they were the nanny when it is obvious they were for fear of causing offence so what gives others the right to be so flippant?  It's fortunate your children resemble you. I did ask for the clinic to match my characteristics but it didn't seem to happen in reality. I went overseas and perhaps should have gone to a clinic in Spain or Greece where I could have got slightly darker complexioned donors although then of course wouldn't have had my beautiful children so no regrets. Although nobody has explicitly mentioned them not  looking like me, if I think people are probing I'll just say they take after my partner's side. My son was a donor egg and my partner's sperm and my daughter a double donation, would have had her a little earlier but had to try 5 times! Do you plan to tell your children about the donor side? I've attempted to talk to my son a few times and think he takes it in at some level though he's still very young. Anyhow better start the day, thank you again and will keep a watch on this thread as nice to talk with others in a similar boat. :)
 

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Glad it helps Jeanette. It is definitely hard and I resent the fact that strangers can make us doubt ourselves and cause us to be upset when it is nothing to do with them. I think that unfortunately we can sometimes focus too much on negative comments and overlook positive comments or the times that no one says anything that upsets us. I am trying to focus on the acceptance that people I know offer. I would definitely not be without my beautiful children and I get so much love from them. That's all that matters, not ignorant strangers. I would never comment on anyone else's life choices so what right do they have to offer a view on mine. Even in families where there are genetic children, sometimes they don't look like their parents. My mum was auburn as a child and neither of her parents were, her maternal grandma was auburn!
Try not to let ignorant people spoil her joy in your family. There are lots of older mums now anyway, so hopefully we won't always feel out of it. I believe that as the children grow older, it becomes less of an issue with other people. It does knock your self esteem though for people to think that you're too old to be their mum.
My plan is to tell the children but I'm finding it hard to do that. I'm going to the DCN conference in October where I hope to share experiences with other people such as older mums, who've used the donor route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Oh my goodness, no sooner do I leave a post about needing to develop a thicker skin than it happens again.. this time in the queue at my local post office, a much older lady who’s been watching me asks if she’s my grand daughter.  No, I say, she’s my daughter. I say no more, but feel all the happy lovely feelings I’d been enjoying oozing away - literally as if my little balloon of joy had developed a slow puncture.  I just stood there silently after that, waiting my turn and trying not to cry.  As I was served, I made a decision. Leaving the counter, I headed back to where this woman is still standing.  I say, very quietly and calmly, that questions / comments like hers are really hurtful.  She looks at me. I shouldn’t make assumptions she says.  I know that somehow, for my own sanity, I need to reframe this issue, but I don’t know how.  I guess what I’m really concerned about is my daughter being embarrassed about her ‘granny mum’ when she reaches school age.  Any helpful suggestions, please let me know xx
 

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Thanks again Debs, that's true there is a tendency to focus on the negative and not to take on board all the positive things people say eg. I was complimented a lot about how well I looked after giving birth as although I had a v difficult pregnancy recovered remarkably quickly. I'll try not to let any future comments if they come knock me so much next time though can't promise! I've calmed down a little now since the other day and am trying just to park it to the back of my mind. I mentioned it to my mother and she said 'how insulting' and was so sweet saying it wasn't true at all and just to forget it so that's what I'll try to do. Will definitely get more involved in the DCN network as time goes on and perhaps I can PM you after you've attended the conference as would be v interested to hear about it. 

Sassy - so sorry for your experience in the post office yesterday, can well imagine how it must have hurt and spoilt your day - to have come so unexpectedly like that. Other women seem to be the worst culprits. I'm really glad you had a word with that lady as what business was of it hers to enquire, a complete stranger, and to make assumptions. Whether it is meant innocently or not, these remarks still have the power to upset massively, and people should think first before speaking. Because perhaps being older mum's we're already a little sensitive about our ages (or i am at least anyway) & then when somebody hit a nerve about it in such a raw and insulting way it just made me feel a 100 times worse.  Like you, I also worry about how accepting my children will be about it in years to come and not sure how I'd handle it if they were teased, will just have to cross that bridge. It's gone through my mind even telling them I'm slightly younger than I am so they don't reveal it innocently in the playground and pay a price, then coming clean when they're older but really don't want to lie to them or cause problems with trust. Try and keep your chin up and erase her from your mind, easier said than done I know, hope today is a much better day.  :)
 

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So sorry Sassy for how that woman made you feel. I've been there, believe me. I just don't get this obsession particularly it seems in older women to try to identify your relationship to your child. When I see children out with women of various ages, I don't ever try to figure out how they're related and wouldn't dream of saying anything to them. I think at one time, young mums felt picked on, I think it's now us!
Jeanette- yes, feel free to pm me after the conference. Good on you for trying to develop a thicker skin. I try as well, but it does hit hard. I feel fragile sometimes about my age, so other people pointing things out doesn't help. Like you Sassy, just this morning, I don't know whether I'm being paranoid or too sensitive, but had a similar experience. We're staying at my mum's at the moment, to help her out, as she was very poorly in hospital in April, with heart failure and pneumonia and wasn't expected to pull through. She has done, but needs help. As she's not very mobile, she had a home visit this morning by a podiatrist to do her feet. She's never met this one before. We didn't hear the bell, and finally when we did, she said she couldn't understand it, but she could hear children talking, and didn't know why! Why on earth is it any business of hers. She obviously knew my mum was elderly. I had taken the children to play in the garden to keep us all out of the way. She then said to my mum 'Are you looking after them today?' Hang on a minute, who on earth did she think I was??? The nanny?! My mum later said they are her grandchildren and I kept out of the way. Why should I have to? I've told my mum not to open up any conversation with this woman about me or the children, and when she has another appointment, please make it on a day we're not around! Just had to get this off my chest.
I feel if you're a celebrity as an older parent (particularly male celebrities - its pat on the back time!) it seems to be fine. Reports in the media about celebrities such as Rachel Weiz (49) and Brigitte Nielson (54) seem to be greeted positively but older mums other than these, there seems to be a hysteria about us leaving it too late and wanting it all! Don't get me wrong, don't want the celebrity mums to get abuse either! Also, there's never discussion by these celebrity mums about using fertility treatment or donor eggs, and the likelihood is that at the ages they are and the numbers of the celebrity mums having babies, a lot of them must have done this!
 

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Debs - yes, what a strange remark from the podiatrist and can see how you might have construed it. It's horrible that comments can come from anywhere at anytime (often when you least expect it) and you have to almost avoid situations to minimise the risk of them happening. You're quite right too, it seems that older women are the ones most guilty and judgemental. Hope it didn't upset you too much. I'm pretty sure that all those celebrity mums must be using donor eggs, unless they froze their eggs which is possible, but there's never any media speculation as to the origins of their children so perhaps their status gives them some sort of diplomatic immunity from prying questions.  That's great your mum has pulled through and hope she remains stable for a long time to come. I also help my mum out with health issues, one thing that is harder about being an older mum I've found is that my parents were that much older too (dad now passed away)  which can be an added pressure and worry. Sorry for such a fast post, baby about to get up any second and won't get much time today to go online. All the best for the weekend.
 

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Thanks for that Jeanette. I do agree - its weird how people we don't know continue to speculate! I agree about the donor eggs and celebrities. I think they must be protected by the media somehow, as normally they have an issue about older mums leaving it too late, but almost worship the older mums who are celebrities.
The podiatrist didn't upset me too much - I think I'm getting more immune to comments, but it did annoy me. I remember when James was a baby, so I was about 47, I took mum to an outpatient appointment for a gynae scan. I had James with me. While waiting for her, one of the nurses came over to me and commented that they were getting more older mums in the hospital now! She went on to say that they seemed to do ok. I was not even there as a patient, but she had to comment. She obviously guessed my age due to knowing my mum's age. I should have challenged her and maybe put in a complaint!
I keep trying to not think about things too much, I need to enjoy my children instead. They're my focus.
It is hard juggling the needs of different generations. I think we get called the 'sandwich' generation -- squashed between old and young! My dad is also dead, so he never got to see the children. Mum is doing well, but I know ultimately her condition is not good, but at the moment, it's about making memories for the children. I just get torn sometimes, especially being a solo mum, between her needs and my little ones!
 

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Hi Debs - hope your weekend is going well and  and has been completely remark free.  Funny since 'the comment'  find it has changed my behaviour/ psychology a bit and am now actively avoiding any eye contact with older women as don't want to engage in conversation, something I wouldn't have thought twice about before.  I think with me also, because my children don't really resemble me it might be that sometimes people  wonder if I'm the mum but maybe to console myself if i get further comments I'll just assume it's because we don't look alike!  Interestingly my mum used to say that she was called the geriatric on the ward when she had me, at the grand age of 34, in those days that was considered very old to have a baby, will have to ask her if she minded as she used to say it in quite a tongue and cheek way, definitely think it would be cause for filing a complaint today! (that nurse was definitely wrong to  make that remark to you).  Around my area there's quite a number of youthful looking, fit grandmas probably in their late 50s-early 70s who help their sons and daughters out enormously with childcare and I do get the odd pang as in my circumstances it's completely the other way round with a dependent grandma; my mum can just about have the baby on her lap for 2mins while I pop to the loo and looking after my son for even a second would be out of the question.  I would have loved them to have had a close relationship with their grandparents esp my dad who would have absolutely doted on them & is one of my big regrets.  It's lovely you're spending as much time with your mum as possible now as your children I'm sure will have happy memories of her and would like to think the love and care we have shown our parents will act as a blueprint for how they feel about us too.  I'm sure you're doing a fantastic job despite having to balance loyalties.
 

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Jeanette - I know how you feel. Thankfully no issues this weekend. We've had quiet time playing in the garden. My daughter is off colour with a chest infection, constantly picking them up since having pneumonia last year. My mum is 89, so obviously unable to do childcare for me. I also feel that it would be so wonderful to have parents who could help out. However, she is able to play with James while I get some jobs done, and will watch Lydia for a short period of time. However she does panic if Lydia gets upset if I'm not there - went to get James a bike for his birthday on Friday, and we were waiting ages for them to put the bike together. Lydia was asleep in her car seat so left mum in the car while James and I went inside. Lydia woke and got upset but instead of mum phoning me on the mobile, she didn't and then got in a right state about her!
I sometimes worry that I might not see J and L have children but I have to not think about this, and hope for the best. I just try and keep myself healthy. My mum was 38 when she had me and 40 when she had my sister, so definitely an older mum back then.
I think my approach is to prepare a response for anyone to make a comment.
 

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I've noticed that too, as my mum gets older she definitely worries and panics more, guess it's a natural part of the ageing process as the older and frailer we get the more vulnerable we feel and sometimes thinking isn't always rational. I hope your daughter feels better soon and chesty complaints are a susceptibility she grows out of. Also that your son has a lovely Birthday at the end of the week. My son is the same age as yours and is an absolute bundle of energy and has a great zest for life, he doesn't stop from the moment he wakes to the minute he goes to bed and you can feel tired just watching him!  However he sleeps very soundly at night which is one big advantage! 
 

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Hi All,
Just a thought on this issue and i continue to get comments but am growing a thicker skin as i think to myself would i rather have no child and no comments or my beautiful son and occasional comments which can be nasty... no contest... i'll take the latter every time...as i feel so lucky to be a mum at last.
It does strike me as odd at a time when women are starting their families later and later. most of my friends have started their families in their late 30's out of choice which appears to be the norm now and that is official classified as an 'older mum'.
A friend of mine supports teen mums in her job and mentioned that a lot of young mums feel very harshly judged so maybe its just the world in general being judgemental.
i think we would like the world to be different but its not so it has made me think that i want to try to have my child feeling very positive about me as his parent being older. i want to explain the reasons for me having him later in life and i want him to have a positive view of us as a family. i feel as long as he knows he is loved and extremely wanted then he will have the confidence to deal with any potential comments that come our way. i wish i had a time machine to make me ten years younger but i don't so society is just going to have to deal with it. i don't intend to tolerate peoples ignorance but i appreciate things are usually said at a very difficult moment e.g. waiting in a queue etc so it can be a challenge to deal with it...
 

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Hi Dreaming
I think the approach you're adopting is really good and might try and take a leaf out of your book. I think older women in our society get a rougher deal in general, we definitely live in a culture where ageism is rife, and motherhood in general evokes often strong and judgemental views in others so put them together and it's a highly charged area.  Must admit after I got the grandmother remark have gone into a more defensive mode as it cut very deep and my impulse has been to minimise the risk of it happening again. I suppose feelings of being slightly embarrassed, dare I say it ashamed of my age,  have got the better of me. However would love to reframe it in a more positive way as you're suggesting so my children can understand the context of why I had them later and not in turn be embarrassed of their older mum but proud.  Anyway lots of food for thought there, thank you.
 

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Hi
I don't in any way wish to underestimate your feelings in dealing with these type of comments, i know exactly how you feel as comments have really upset me. i also had to deal with a massive amount in comments in all sorts of situations over the years about the reason i did not have children pre baby. i was told i was selfish, too career minded, etc... i was asked many times over the years why i did not have children.. i honestly think that is so rude as there are all sorts of reasons and people (sorry for me its always been other women!) asking why and making speculative comments as to why. I used to find this cruel and very very upsetting and now i have this long awaited baby i have to still get an emotional kicking... well do you know what sod the lot of them.. (my polite version! )... they don't know what I've gone through to have my child or my life history.
i have now have a few well chosen come backs to say back and i personally feel more enpowered for having that...

 

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sorry forgot to say the pre baby comments were from female co -workers over the years.i did not get general observations as i do now... just to clarify ..
 

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Hi again Dreaming, can see how incensed you must have felt and have never properly understood the argument that it's selfish NOT to have children although assume people mean that it's wrong to only focus on yourself though don't think selfish is the right word as by not having children nobody's being hurt. You must feel like damned if you do and damned if you don't. Men don't seem to be nearly as bothered/ interested in issues around motherhood, age etc. which is something at least and a shame it's women who are often the most intrusive around other women's affairs. Strange as well, as we're often regarded as being the emotionally intelligent of the species although in this area perhaps not all of us are!  Glad you've got a few retorts up your sleeve and hope they have the desired effect!
 

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Hi ladies, I've often looked at this thread but not joined previously as I haven't had my baby yet.  Due in November when I'll be almost 47 and the though of receiving these types of comments does worry me, as does the though of my child being embarrassed at having older parents.  I'm living in Asia at the moment and interestingly there are a lot of older men out here with younger wives and small babies, no-one bats an eyelid.  There are a fair few older mums too although I'm on a large expectant mums ******** group at the moment and I'm by far the oldest on there.  There are occasional comments that just irritate me on that group, from one of the younger girls in particular, not just regarding age but also that blatantly take fertility for granted with no thought for anyone who may have had problems getting pregnant - I know of 3 other women on the group that have had miscarriages.  I actually find it hard to identify with mums that haven't had any struggle to get pregnant - not that I would wish it on anyone - I just feel more connected to people that have been through similar I guess.

I've found when I'm telling people I'm pregnant I try to preempt any comments by commenting myself on my own age, something I really need to stop doing as a. it's no-one else's business and b. I need to stop drawing attention to it myself.
 

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Dear Syd
Just to say congratulations on your pregnancy and hope it's going smoothly. For the many women who get pregnant easily and without any issues, it's probably impossible for them to imagine what others might go through who aren't so fortunate and like you, I identify more with those that have had difficulties. It's interesting though, I know several mums at playgroups incl a 23 yr old and even the ones who conceived relatively simply seemed to have had some issue or other during pregnancy so we're able to find some common ground when talking. Please don't worry too much, you won't necessarily get any comments, I've only had one to date, and to be honest getting comments wasn't something even on my radar until last week. I'm just sensitised now.Also I guess in some ways it's good there aren't too many others on this thread as it might be there are plenty of other over 40s not getting any remarks at all!
 

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Dreaming - good on you for your comments. I'm going to take a leaf out of your book - brilliant response.  I hope that my children know how much I love them and that it doesn't matter what your age is, what's important is that you are cherished and cared for. I hope to instil in them the confidence not to mind what people say.
Syd - congrats on your pregnancy and welcome! Try not to worry about comments. Although I've had a few comments which have upset me, mostly I've only had positivity from people I know. I was 47 when I had my first baby. At playgroups, I know some older mums and even the younger ones don't bat an eyelid. It tends to be strangers (older women) who bother. I am taking it that maybe they're jealous - either that they are the age they are and didn't have the opportunity to have a family or that they have had one, and that they regret the baby years are behind them!
Jeanette-  just try and enjoy your family. We are deserve it and no one, absolutely no one has the right to make us feel the way we have felt!
 

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Ladies, thank you for your responses.  Sorry for the long delay, I must have missed the notifications.

Hope everyone is doing well.
 
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