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When Hala Gorani, CNN anchor during my Mother’s Day interview, implied that our brave new maternal world—now teeming with first time mothers over 40—had outgrown ageism, I was taken aback.
Not that I criticize her for it, but she was seeing the issue from her own perspective—that she had many mature mom friends. Surely, the issue of discrimination against mothers based on their age is now passé?
I have to admit that, recently, I’ve received a few emails from moms in their mid-to-late 40’s who’ve told me that they’ve experienced nothing but support and acceptance from neighbors, friends and other moms.
Could they be the moms whose genetics come with built-in Botox?
Or have we just come a long way since the 80’s test-tube baby and the hills are alive with the tender seedlings of social acceptance for midlife motherhood?
After all, what choice did they have? Like I’ve said all along, you can’t stop a flourishing army, nor is there any point in closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
What do I mean by that exactly? We’re in the midst of a mini-midlife mom baby boom. Ergo, through sheer growth of numbers—a 6% increase in birthrate for women over 40 in the last 2 years to be precise—the reality of mature motherhood is a fait accompli.
But do I think the general public was rushing out to meet us with flowers and love letters as if we are visiting royalty?
The maternal age thing has been rammed down their necks in the supermarkets, the schools and the parish churches. In short, as Moose A. Moose puts it—everywhere we go.
I still believe that, generally speaking, our society has a deep-seated discomfort with mature motherhood that has nearly birthed itself into an official cultural taboo.
That reality was driven home to me yesterday when I was our A Child After 40 online community board and a member chimed in with the latest “grandma story.”
The 49-year-old mom was with her twin toddler girls when she visited the restroom at a department store. A woman, who was applying her lipstick in the mirror, glanced over at the girls and smiled.
She commented that they were beautiful and added: “I have ten of my own—grandchildren are such fun, aren’t they?”
When twin-mom began to hint at the truth, the stranger beat a hasty retreat.
Just in case we have a few head-scratchers, here’s a definition of prejudice:
a. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.
b. A preconceived preference or idea.
So, was Hala Gorani right? Is social discrimination against later life motherhood virtually extinct? In my opinion, the jury’s still out.
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. She gave birth to her children at 41 and 44 after conceiving naturally.
A CHILD AFTER 40. The first online community to empower women on the journey of motherhood after 40, launching at www.flowerpowermom.com/a-child-after-40.
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