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Since posting Don’t Call Me Grandma! last month, I’ve learned that being mistaken for “the grandmother” can be a red-hot button for older mothers. Now, more readers and experts are weighing in on this emotional issue.

Don’t Call Me Grandma! drew more frustrated, hurt—and often angry—comments at the end of the article, and in all of my social media, than any other blog I’ve written. Go to: https://achildafter40.com/call-grandma/

“I really have to fight the temptation of going postal,” says one mom after a pre-K child asked if she was the grandma.

“It just drives me nuts!” “I have a terrible chip on my shoulder about it,” and “I’ve found it really upsetting and gone home in tears,” are some of the comments made by mothers over 40, admitting their self-esteem had taken a real blow.

“I worry that my daughter will be teased when she starts primary or secondary school as I’ll probably look the oldest mum in the playground,” says one concerned mom.

Others were more sanguine, in tune with FPM’s over-40 mom psychotherapist, Jennifer Levy, who advised in the last blog that simple, upbeat replies are the best.

“If I get the chance, I let them know (nicely) that he’s my baby boy,” says one older mom.

According to a 44-year-old mother of a toddler, “I just try to let the words roll off and keep going and laugh.”

“My mother was always mistaken for my grandmother and she took it with pride and a held her head high,” says another.

Flower Power Mom Squad expert Cynthia Wilson-James—also dubbed our Queen of Common Sense—advises preparing your children in advance for these little ageist faux pas.

The Childbirth Educator and founder of InSeasonMom (http://www NULL.inseasonmom NULL.org/), who gave birth in her 40’s to daughters now in elementary school, says: “From the time my children were born, they’ve heard me say I am older than most mommies.”

“Now that they’re 7 and 9 and have had to tell others in school that I’m not the grandma, they understand better.”

“It’s important for older parents to tell the children that they (the parents) are different,” she continues.

“I make a point of visiting websites with my daughters that feature pictures of older moms with their young children.”

However, there’s no doubt the problem of social stereotypes of age and motherhood spreads beyond schools.

Jan Andersen—FPM Over-40 Mom Squad expert and owner of the UK-based website MothersOver40 (http://www NULL.mothersover40 NULL.com/)—believes that social prejudice against older mothers is a broader issue.

“Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of women around the world are conceiving after the age of 40, 45 and even 50, giving birth to perfectly healthy babies, in Western society, midlife pregnancy is still seen as something of a circus,” she says.

“In the British media, few topics seem to attract as much public feedback on phone-in radio shows and in the comments section of online newspapers than that of older women giving birth.”

She cites the example of 62-year-old British child psychologist, Dr. Patricia Rashbrook, who gave birth to a boy in 2006 after IVF treatments in the former Soviet Union.

Despite Rashbrook’s insistence that a great deal of thought was given to planning and providing for the child’s present and future well-being, medically, socially and materially, public outrage was nationwide.

“Every national newspaper covered the story, provoking a flurry of opinions from readers,” says Andersen.

She goes on to say that some public opinion came from those who “undoubtedly exercised questionable parenting skills themselves.”

“But as younger parents,” she adds, “this appeared to exonerate them from public criticism.”

“Ironically, anti-abortion groups also expressed outrage at the case,” she continues.

“As always, the focus is totally on the age factor rather than the wealth of life experience that these parents will bring to parenthood.”

In the media and public eye, Andersen consistently battles to bring balance to public perception.

“As male fertility expert Allan Pacey commented,” she says, “‘There are babies born to 25-year-olds who are neglected, abandoned and sometimes killed.’”

“Frankly, I would rather have 10 good years with loving, caring, older parents than half a century with younger parents with whom I didn’t have such a close bond. And I speak from experience.”

Notes for this blog:

Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), a regular blog featuring news, commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40.

For FPM’s Over-40 Mom Squad Expert webpage: https://achildafter40.com/meet-the-over-40-mom-squad/

Cynthia Wilson-James’ website on later life pregnancy, birth and motherhood: http://www.inseasonmom.org (http://www NULL.inseasonmom NULL.org/).

Jan Andersen’s website on motherhood over 40: http://www.mothersover40.com (http://www NULL.mothersover40 NULL.com/)

Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), a regular blog featuring news, commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40.

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