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If this were the 1970s, I could have given Dean Martin a run for his roast last week when the Santa Cruz Sentinel published an in-depth feature on the launch of Flower Power Mom.

An illuminating piece entitled “Midlife Mom Devotes Website to Motherhood” (see link below) appeared on Thursday 8th October and was later also picked up by the San Jose Mercury News online.

The writer, Jory John, had done a bang-up job of highlighting the over-40 mom issues not often touched upon, such midlife motherhood after conception and birth.

Rather than the usual tale of fertility issues and fetal risks the media regularly sinks its teeth into, this was an upbeat turnkey piece on the changing face of motherhood in our time.

So why was I suddenly receiving a steady stream of condolence messages from friends and colleagues in the parenthood business on Facebook (http://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/search/?q=bill+cozzens&init=quick#/pages/Angel-La-Liberte/145859144500) and in email, as if I had just been carjacked? They were peppered with comments like “Why are people so nasty?” and “Don’t take it personally!”

Then Frank came home, the proud bearer of a bundle of Sentinels, and in a cheek-pinching conciliatory tone said: “Don’t worry about those nasty comments. The feature is a breakthrough!” (Grin)

“Comments? What comments?” asked I, bewildered.

“Haven’t you read the online version?”

Hastily clicking on to the Sentinel’s link (http://www NULL.santacruzsentinel NULL.com/ci_13511695?IADID=Search-www NULL.santacruzsentinel NULL.com-www NULL.santacruzsentinel NULL.com), I easily found the feature and the comments that were beginning to sprout up like pimples after a teenaged pizza party.

Reading them, I realized, these were not exemplary of youthful zeal, however.

Instead, I was instantly reminded of a pack of old cronies leaning on their canes over a park bench, shaking their fingers at the scavenging ducks, and debating whether Shoeless Joe Jackson (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Shoeless_Joe_Jackson) actually threw the World Series back in 1919 (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Black_Sox_Scandal).

It was the sort of debate where being right took precedence over enlightenment—where who yells loudest, wins.

And it reminded me of the adage that those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach.

Only in this case, those who cannot create, destroy.

I have to admire the dedication of the reader who found the two grammatical errors in the Forty+ Famous Moms page (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/#pages/famous_moms NULL.html). Considering the size of the FPM site, it was clear she could look forward to a successful career in fault-finding, if she continued to pursue it with the same zeal as an impoverished miner panning for gold.

Of course, how could I have not seen it coming? The accusation that I was just another Jon and Kate Plus Eight (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Jon_&_Kate_Plus_8#Family_history) wannabe was a tour de force of deductive reasoning.

Until last week, I had only heard snippets of gossip about the program—enough to know it was in another generational galaxy, far, far away from mine.

A little research indicates they were a dewy-eyed young pair in their 30s who conceived multiples through fertility treatments and are now embroiled in a divorce so panoramic with public vitriol as to make The War of the Roses (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/gp/product/B0009X75PQ?ie=UTF8&tag=flopowmom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0009X75PQ) (with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner) look like the last waltz at a Glen Miller recital.

Obviously, a nearing-fifty mom who conceived two children naturally in her forties and remains uneventfully married is a no-brainer for replacing the Jon and Kate show.

Then there were emails too. A woman who became a grandma in her forties wrote to tell me I was selfish and that my children would lose their “carefree twenties” to the burden of my elderly care.

Tell that to my 80-year-old father who, after a night of ballroom dancing, can still heft a wheelbarrow full of top soil across our 50-foot garden faster than I can deliver him a glass of acqua minerale.

The rest of the criticism can be probably be safely netted in the catchall of granny-mom bashing. The only spark of humor that could be fanned to life came with the plea that I didn’t sink to the level of:  “I work, I write, I mom.”

I won’t.

Sadly, if the granny-mom bashers actually read the statistics on the 40+ Baby Boom page (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/boom NULL.html#crunch), they’d know that (like it or not) motherhood, as they know it, is changing.

As I’ve said before, you can’t crush a growing army.

If the average life expectancy for women is now eighty, then logic dictates—along with the modern tsunami of social, scientific and biological evolution—the sliding scale of baby-making age is going to take a jump to the right.

If the nature of womanhood is in transformation, the future of motherhood is like grasping a tiger by the tail.

Despite the attackers, standing firmly by their convictions of ignorance, there were the calming voices of reason: Jan Andersen (http://www NULL.mothersover40 NULL.com/home NULL.html), the UK pioneer of raising awareness of over 40 motherhood; Suki Wessling (http://www NULL.examiner NULL.com/x-15796-Santa-Cruz-Parenting-Examiner), writer on parenting issues; my (unknown) guardian angel in Thousand Oaks, and a chorus of cheerleading well wishers.

This Flower Power Mom roast could have never taken place, had the Santa Cruz Sentinel not picked up on the winds of change and ignited a discourse exploring the aftermath—Life After Giving-Birth-After-40.

Thanks folks, for allowing us to lift of the first rock and bring fear, anger, and hollow judgments to light.

It is a beginning.

Notes for this blog:

Ref 1: Dean Martin (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Dean_Martin)

Ref 2: Midlife Mom Devotes Website to Motherhood (http://www NULL.santacruzsentinel NULL.com/ci_13511695?IADID=Search-www NULL.santacruzsentinel NULL.com-www NULL.santacruzsentinel NULL.com)

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