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After Katinka Hurley found Mr Right’ at 30, having children in her forties wasn’t a quirk of fate. It was a choice.
She met her future husband, Jeff, at a baseball game in 1990, promptly introducing herself with a line drive that beaned him squarely on the head.
They were married six months later.
“He likes to tell people he’s never been the same since!” says Katinka, who will be celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary in June this year.
She Knew She Would Have Children Later In Life
She admits that her husband would have preferred to have their children right away, but Katinka Hurley knew from an early age that she would have her children later in life.
“I was a late bloomer with my career as well” explains the 50-year-old, who has been working as a registered nurse for the past 16 years, “and didn’t start nursing school until I was 32.”
After turning 37, however, Hurley realized they’d better get started on getting a family.
She Felt Set Apart From Younger Mothers
She reports having had an easy time conceiving her firstborn, who was a son (Max) born in 1998. It took a year, however, to conceive again at age 42.
“I was excited to find out I was pregnant, especially since we had started the process of adopting” she says, “but it didn’t really hit me until I was 45 that I was an ‘older mom’’.
According to Hurley, it was when she was out having lunch with friends when the realization dawned that any form of social prejudice might exist.
“Someone mentioned that they couldn’t imagine having children after 40 and it kind of bonked me on the head.”
She says that she’s encountered many similar “careless remarks” since then, but didn’t challenge them because she wasn’t sure how she felt about it.
And looking back on how doctors and neighbors responded to her pregnancy, she recalls some incidents that made her feel she was set apart from younger mothers.
Fears The Medical Community Lays On Older Moms
“I hated the fact that being over 35 automatically put me in the ‘high risk’ category” she says, “and that the medical people in my office had to always mention my age like it was some sort of miracle or oddity.”
Here’s where she includes a lament common to almost all women who have children over 40 and are exposed to the medical infrastructure surrounding childbirth.
“I had the usual concerns of being pregnant, plus the added fears that the media and medical community lays on us older moms, such as the increased risk of Downs and pre-eclampsia.”
After giving birth to Olivia in 2003, Hurley found that she didn’t last long in the lactation groups she joined, despite nursing both of her children until they were two.
“They consisted of moms in their teens, twenties and early thirties, and I felt such a disconnect with them” she explains.
Odd Being 50 And The Mother of a First Grader
However, an even more telling moment during her pregnancy came when Hurley was at a neighborhood social function where her 32 year old neighbor, also pregnant, was present.
“She started a whole diatribe about what women could possibly be thinking having kids later in life” says Hurley.
“Then she noticed me and said ‘Well, not you, of course, Tink!’”
If Katinka Hurley’s attitude towards later life motherhood has evolved since then, it has become more sanguine.
“Now, I feel a bit odd being a 50 year old mother of a first grader and the oldest mom in class”, she admits, “but I feel young and that’s what counts”.
Being Older Provides A Unique Perspective
“Being older provides me with a unique perspective” she reflects.
“I see younger moms going and buying all the plastic crap, diaper genies, and name brand clothes in babydom.
“I go with the ‘less is more’ school of thought—babies need a bed, a boob and a diaper”.
And having grown up in the 1960s “with The Beatles, The Monkees and Viet Nam”, Hurley believes in a simpler childhood.
Children Have No Opportunity for Unbridled Freedom
It was a time of “no over-scheduling of lessons or sports”, when an eight or nine-year-old could “leave the house for a day and run wild with the neighborhood kids”.
“I don’t believe our children have the opportunity for unbridled freedom” she continues.
Watching TV (black and white, no less) was a Sunday night privilege when the whole family to tuned into Walt Disney.
“The kids of today are way too connected to electronics, and as much as we, as parents, try to control it, it’s so pervasive that it’s impossible to deny them.”
Society Is Obsessed With Youth, Beauty and Social Status
Hurley also contends that society has been long obsessed with youth, beauty and social status and that the infrastructure is ageist.
“The world’s attitude in general should allow for mothers of all ages to be held in higher esteem’ she says.
“Insurance companies should support older women trying to conceive and not deny them coverage through pregnancy.”
AChildAfter40.com A Flame To Ignite A Movement
Her reasons for volunteering to participate in the Celebrating Motherhood Over 40 Tribute Album are spearheaded by a simple, yet far-reaching, vision of a maternal future.
According to Katinka Hurley, “AChildAfter40.com’s effort to celebrate and support us is a step in the right direction.”
“AChildAfter40.com is one of the many flames that will ignite a movement of acceptance for all of us.”
Notes for this blog:
SHARE YOUR FREE MOTHER’S DAY TRIBUTE E-CARD
Mother’s Day 2013 is on Sunday, May 12th. AChildAfter40.com has launched a FREE Mother’s Day Tribute Album in an E-Card and social media friendly format. It features candid mother & child portraits and “pearls of wisdom” from real over-40 moms: the true faces and authentic voices of later motherhood.
Join us and help to dispel negative, stereotypes regarding mothers over 40. Please share this e-card via email and your social media and encourage friends to pass it on. Get the message out there: You can do it by emailing, tweeting or Facebooking the card and/or the blog from the share bar.
“CELEBRATE MOTHERHOOD OVER 40” HANDMADE WINE CHARMS
We are launching these elegant, handmade glass wine charms, made especially for AChildAfter40.com for this occasion. They come in an organza sachet as singles or “His & Hers”, and “Celebrate Motherhood Over 40” gift tag for Mother’s Day at only $3.95 each. Order now! They are ideal for accessorizing gift wrap, to adorn wine glass stems, or to wear as a personal charm. Proceeds will help to fund our online forums.
Photography donated by: Scott Lewis (http://www NULL.lewisimages NULL.com/)
Graphic designs for “Celebrating Motherhood After 40” Mom & Tot T-Shirts donated by graphic designer: Joan Lintz-Thompson (joanlintz_thompson null@null yahoo NULL.com).
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