Motherhood – a rant! (Part 1)

[This read is a longer one. I read through it in 8mins and it’s my work – so I’d say give yourself 10mins]

I’ve read a couple of things of late that have made me so angry. Usually when I come across something that makes my blood boil, I keep my thoughts buried.

But sometimes silence isn’t enough.

I know it’s because I’ve been looking at the issues I’m about to raise through a personal lens. It’s also been triggered due to my family’s recent visit to London to stay with me last weekend.

I’m all for a debate, they’re vital – when carried out correctly as rarely is anything black and white.

Well that should say, I’m all up for people debating and voicing their opinions. I’m usually stood at the side-lines winning imaginary heated discussions which miraculously open people’s minds.

Whenever I do actually voice my opinions – in the real world, not Emma Land! I try to be as open-minded as possible, leaning in from different angles, willing to be swayed. I also bring my personal experience into the fold wherever possible.

So when reading points of view that could only possibly come from people who hadn’t actually spent time thinking about the issue. From people who are so far removed from the topic at hand that they may as well have been from another planet.

Well….that’s when my words won over my silence!

My Gripe

A study was shared on Facebook that showed women were waiting later in life to have children and that it is no longer classed as such a high risk to have a baby after 35 years old, which in the medical world was coined a ‘geriatric pregnancy’.

Heavily scattered between posts from mothers that were in their late 30’s and early 40s, who shared pictures of their healthy newborns with beaming descriptions of how happy they were. There were ignorant one liners, criticism and comments that could only cause pain.

People saying that these women were selfish, because:

  • children should have young/energetic mothers
  • older mothers will die earlier than younger mothers

There were even comments saying that if they wanted children and couldn’t have them by a certain age, then they should have adopted earlier, as there are plenty of children that need a home.

As my thumb continued to scroll through the vitriol from young women, people who were already blessed with children and men, oh so many men – I could feel my jaw clench and noticed my breathing had changed. Oh yes, I had just entered into seething mode.

I’m not the type of person to jump in and feed the trolls on social media sites. Although I have done once before and what I said actually made an impact and led to the person who wrote the cruel message to delete it. Hmmm maybe I could be a social media superhero! I may share this story in another post but right now I don’t want to digress from this issue close to my heart.

So I put aside my iPad, since my 3mth break I only access Facebook on my iPad which I keep at home, and made my self a cup of tea! Us Brits!

Nerves calmed. Seriously, a cuppa is like timeout for adults! I tried to view the points from their perspectives.

I got it. From a surface level view-point. A flat one-dimensional point of view.

Topics like these deserve attention. Not a quick throwaway comment before moving on to join a discussion on whether ‘cheese and onion’ or ‘salt and vinegar’ are better crisp flavours.

Before these people mindlessly typed their response had they actually considered:

  • speaking to someone who had an older mother or was an older mother?
  • that there are many mothers with health issues that although young, they too don’t have the energy?
  • that many children may have lost a young parent? Death doesn’t just visit the elderly.

So, I’m stepping forward with my personal experience.

I was brought up by older parents, they were 50 years my senior. Not only that but they were white too, this post isn’t about the difference in our skin colour, but you can read about that here Back to Black 🙋🏿

I loved my parents for who they were and spending time with my family this weekend reminded me how lucky I was, to be loved and to be wanted.

I’d be a liar if I said that having them as parents was always amazing. I have vague images of me trying to run away when I was about seven, suitcase packed I made it to the end of the street before forgetting why I was running away. Then I became a teenager with a penchant for banging doors whilst working out the strange changes to my mind and body – I didn’t very much like anyone!

There was also the time I was left embarrassed when my mum got barred from a pet shop. A bloody pet shop! I’d wanted a Guinea Pig so bad and she wanted me to have one. Having a disagreement in the pet shop my mum got told never to return. I’m not sure if that was before or after she told them to go: ‘Fuck your penguins’.

That story, whilst embarrassing then, and I wasn’t even there – makes me feel all warm with happy memories now. My family when together always reminisce about how they were. You see, my parents have both passed away, my Mum when I was 15 and my Dad when I was 23. Keeping the memories alive is all we have left.

It really upsets me that someone who hasn’t lived my life is dictating from the side-line that as older parents that they didn’t deserve me.

To think people would have  preferred that I didn’t have the opportunity to have a great upbringing and spend quality time with my parents. To block me from being shaped into the person that I am now. To not have the chance to have silly fun times with my crazy family, who are still here (pic below) just because my parents were older. Now that hurts!

img_4052 Of course I wasn’t ready for them to die but at any age they would have gone too soon. No matter what age someone you love dies, it will always break your heart.

I’m 36years old and I’ve been broody since I can remember. So the comments did feel like a personal attack on me. I’m often left doing ‘relationship + time x age – baby’ math and it weighs heavy on mind without even adding other people’s opinions into the sum!

I wonder how many women also reading the post felt like a selfish person, regardless of their background, their story? And how many will have thought twice about having a baby, due to these critics? That also hurts!

And for people to throw adoption into the ring like it’s the easy solution. Clearly they don’t know how hard it is for someone to actually get approved to adopt. My parents tried to adopt me, apparently going through court (I was too young to remember) but they were too old and white to be able to. Times have changed slightly but I know that it is still a tough process to go through.

I have always said that due to my upbringing I would like to adopt or foster children and that’s still the case. But I also have a deep yearning to experience the feeling of being pregnant, having the miracle of life growing inside me. And there is no way I’m going to let any naysayers derail me from that.

If a woman’s body wasn’t meant to have children after 35years old, then why is it capable of doing so?

I also want to know where the opinionated mob are when the men that are over 35 have children? Just because women carry the babies, why should they get all the stick? There are so many older fathers and minimum eyelids batted their way. Age is age and a parent is a parent.

This leads very nicely on to the second issue. I was going to rant about some ridiculous stats I’d seen and some seriously nasty badmouthing about single mothers. Women in the firing line – yet again! That shall be for a future post, I need to drink a lot more tea before I conquer this one.

If you’ve been guilty of airing your views on this topic without really thinking and looking into it, then I beg of you to take some time to look at different sides of the story. Indeed, I’m sure there are people who also have the personal experience and don’t agree with having children at a later age. You may come out of it with the same opinion and that’s okay, you’re allowed to but at least you’re wiser on the topic.

Before you become a keyboard warrior remember that the person who may happen across your post is a human, has feelings and has their reasons.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday  If you like this post or any other of my blog posts, please feel free to like, comment or share with friends.

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Celebrating 36 years on Earth 🌏

Today is my birthday!

Today I am 36 years old!

Today I am so bloody happy!

(Okay I'm cheating with this pic as it was taken 3 days ago but it was raining then and it's raining now)

But growing older hasn't always left me feeling this way.

Once I reached my 30s, the years quickly began to attach to me.

Each time my birthday came round I would take note of all the things that I didn't have, such as:

  • A husband/partner
  • A mortgage
  • A driving licence
  • Savings
  • Children
  • A degree

And I would be smothered with a sense of dread, longing and disappointment.

My goals of living in far flung places would be replaced with more 'accessible' and 'realistic' aims! And my biological clock would sing out:

"Happy Birthday……Tick Tock"

Leading up to my birthday this year, something changed. The list above, although still lifetime priorities, didn't hold as much weight!

What mattered more was that I have lived to see 36years.

So this morning I jumped out of bed and celebrated my birthday…… in my birthday suit (obvs). Being grateful for all that I do have. All the experiences I've been fortunate to lay claim to.

As I slathered body firming cream onto my cellulite and concealer on to my eye bags. I made a personal 'New Year' resolution to stop trying to fathom out how I should act at each age.

Not only is it a ball-ache but it doesn't achieve anything apart from make the Comparison Cashier work overtime.

I'm quitting this game of age Top Trumps as I'm tired of being woeful about my age. Playing it up when around older people and playing it down when I'm with younger people. Instead of just being.

My housemate said "Can't wait to celebrate YOU today".

So that's exactly what I'm gonna do! Celebrate ME!

(Birthday lunch with my Bow Bird ❤️)

Happy Birthday to Me xx

Emma x