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I used to think that getting another shot at the “marriage title” in middle-age was strictly a man’s game.
After all, isn’t the notion of men dumping their aging first wives for younger, more nubile models almost archetypal?
Anybody who saw The First Wives Club back in 1996 knows that only the prevalence of such a practice could have banded the likes Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton together to kick back at cradle-robbing ex-husbands.
And yet, times are a-changing. These days, what’s good for the gander works just as well for the goose.
Women who have left behind long-term first marriages—only to marry again in their 40’s and start families afresh—are becoming more common.
Denise Africa, a 45-year-old mother of 3 children from Cape Town in South Africa dreams of starting over with her new partner—a 38-year-old from New Zealand.
Although two of Africa’s children are now in their 20’s, her third—a son named Skyler—is still only 7 years old, having been born just before her 38th birthday.
Africa grew up in a large family of 7 children, but admits that her first marriage at 19 was a way of “opting to get out of the house” because her “mum ruled the roost.”
Married to the father of her three children for 22 years, Africa describes the relationship as “an unhappy one from the start, filled with emotional, verbal and physical abuse.”
”My family life and raising the kids was like a see-saw, but i could say it was more ‘down’ than up,” says Africa.
Having recently escaped her first marriage, Denise Africa is now embarking on a new partnership which began as a long-distance relationship.
“We are planning to start a family soon, since we both love kids and Thomas would dearly love a child,” she explains.
“He is aware that my age is ‘tricky’, but we are confident to try to get pregnant.”
Thomas is due to fly out to Cape Town in November, where the couple will attempt to start a family naturally—and 45-year-old Denise believes they will.
“I am still ovulating,” she says. “Because of the natural signs my body is giving me, I am quite confident that we will succeed.”
“We will just have to ‘work hard’ at it,” she laughs.
Africa believes that having her son at nearly 38 has prepared her well for later life motherhood.
“My attitude with Skyler is opposite to when I had the girls—back then I was young and stressed out with the pressure to ‘do right.’”
Africa describes herself as a more “laid back, relaxed mom” these days and is less likely to lose her cool.
“Younger parents irritate me a little.” she adds. “I see them fretting over their babies and I think that they should just go with the flow. “
“It’s okay if you don’t do it right, it’s okay if the baby messes on your best blouse, it’s okay if they cry and are fretful on a plane, or in the supermarket.”
Thinking about getting pregnant at her age, however, does give Africa food for thought.
“All the time, I do the math and the calculations: How old will I be when baby is 10, 15 , or 20—and then think yes, I will hopefully and thankfully still be around.”
“My solutions for fulfilling that dream of being around till then, is to live a healthy lifestyle, with correct and healthy diet, and exercise.”
When it comes to motherhood the second time around—well into her 40s—Denise Africa is the model of faith in the dream of midlife motherhood.
“I am totally ecstatic about trying to get pregnant,” she says.
“I do not feel my age at all, I also do not look 45.”
“I am reassured and inspired by all the other over-40 women (celebrities) who have had babes after 40. If they can do it, so can I!”
Look out Hollywood–here comes The Second Husbands Club!
Notes for this blog:
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