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The subject of motherhood in our early 40’s, it seems, is fast becoming passé. But what’s next on the horizon is nothing short of a breakthrough.
Last week, ACHILDAFTER40.COM/FlowerPowerMom.com was invited to participate in the taping of an AARP “Inside E-Street” program on motherhood at 50+, scheduled to air on PBS in January 2012. (See link below.)
Lynn Laszewski—a member and volunteer moderator for FPM’s online community A Child After 40, and whose story of motherhood at 51 was posted on our blog a few weeks ago—also joined me on the program and opened up the door of her home to the “Inside E-Street” (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/AARP) camera crew.
Laszewski shared her intimate experiences of motherhood—including suffering from HELLP Syndrome (which has nothing to do with age) during pregnancy—and being turned down by two maternity clinics at 51 (which had everything to do with it).
Even with fair and objective reporting, Laszewski admits to having some concerns that the story may “fuel the fire for those who oppose later life motherhood.”
“Although it’s important to assure people with our stories,” she says, “there’s a fine line between sharing and feeling like someone is prying into your life.”
But—while she may have found it hard to be an “open book”—Laszewski felt it was more important to share her experience for the many midlife women who may find inspiration and encouragement from it.
It’s true—the recent media spotlight on women having children in their 50’s shows no sign of abating. The press can be like a dog on this sensational old bone—a tenacity that may be further fueled by Michelle Duggar’s announcement (http://www NULL.people NULL.com/people/article/0,,20543449,00 NULL.html) this week of her 20thpregnancy at the tender age of 45.
“Tender” you ask? Well, because the looming truth is: Fifty is the new forty. These days, having had my babies at the ages of 41 and 44 makes me positively spring chicken-esque.
While it’s widely reported that the CDC released statistics last year announcing women over 40 were the only age group to show a rise in birthrate during the period of 2007-2009, that’s not the whole story. While fertility rose by 6% in women aged 40-44, it actually increased by 17% for those 45-49.
And, although the New York Magazine piece in September—“Parents of a Certain Age” (http://nymag NULL.com/news/features/mothers-over-50-2011-10/) on motherhood over 50—may have supplied ammo to the ageist faction for a little “granny-mom bashing,” it has inspired a necessary public dialog.
Why? Because dialog is a necessary prelude to co-operation and acceptance versus ignorance and prejudice.But there’s plenty of knife-throwing to come before it’s all over but the crying.
Lisa Miller, the author of the New York Magazine piece, wrote that the backlash of ageism where older mothers are deemed “unsuitable parents,”may be“the last form of prejudice acceptable in the liberal sphere.”
Anderson Cooper’s (http://www NULL.andersoncooper NULL.com/) new daytime talk show—which has just been renewed for a second season by Fox—plans to air a program on later life motherhood in late November featuring Miller, along with (so I’ve heard) some disgruntled grown-up children of older parents.
If this is the case, then—despite Anderson’s grave face of compassionate concern—the show may be another case of inflammatory sensationalism, although safely cloaked beneath a pretense of plausible deniability.
Still, there’s a possibility that the oncoming light at the end of the tunnel may not be a train after all.
It’s a sign of the times that AARP (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/AARP)—a non-profit advocate for the over-50’s for over half a century—has perked up its ears over something more than a second career.
And, in a world where women having children at 50+ inspires a “moral gag response” (Miller), an interview with“Inside E-Street” (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/AARP)is probably as good as it gets.
Notes for this blog:
Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom.com—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/) (www.flowerpowermom.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/)), featuring commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40. She actively campaigns for more supportive attitudes towards women having children in midlife and to raise awareness of the realities (social and physical) of being a later life mother.
Angel also hosts “A Child After 40”, an online community to empower all women on the journey of motherhood after 40. She gave birth to her children at 41 and 44 after conceiving naturally. For Angel’s full story, go to: http://www.achildafter40.com/my-story/
- (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/health-headlines/women-increasingly-going-online-to-seek-free-sperm-donors-1 NULL.1590245)
Angel on CNN(http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)
CNN Mother's Day: "Mature Moms" (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)(http://youtu NULL.be/atScMih4_d0) (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
AARP's "Inside E-Sreet" on PBS TV (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
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