"Ah, are you coming to pick up your granddaughter from school?"
The average age at which the Dutch woman receives her first child is around 30 years. Of course there are exceptions enough. For example teenage mothers. Or just mothers who are (much) older when they welcome their first shoot. We spoke to three mothers at an age. About the pros and cons of parenting at a later age. About the reactions from the environment. And especially about the many prejudices with which they have to deal.
Children's wish already given up
Brigitte (61, cultural anthropologist): "My son is now 10 years old. He is my only child. Actually, I had given up on my children's wish for years when I got pregnant. I was separated from my ex-husband twenty years earlier. Our relationship was difficult, partly because it did not work out to become pregnant. We have been married for 10 years. Then the cake was finished. At that time I was 30 and decided to study and to focus on building a career. When I met my current friend Richard 12 years ago, I had already given up my children's wish. Not much later I ended up in the transition. At least, that's what I thought: it turned out later that my period did not work because I was pregnant. I was 50 years old and pregnant.
Reactions from the environment
How did my environment respond? Very varied, honestly. Both my and Richards parents were happy for us, but also worried. They were afraid that we would have a baby with Down syndrome. Of course we knew that we were more likely, but we had decided together that a child with a disability was most welcome with us. Our circle of friends reacted less understandingly. Some of our mutual friends even broke the contact! They felt that we had gone mad, and selfish too. "
I did not think I was old
This is also experienced by Elvira (46, manager). She is 30 weeks pregnant with her first child.
"My environment does not really react as I expected. And that while I do not think I'm old at all. Of course I am older than the average pregnant woman, but too old? No. Recently I saw a woman on television who was 62 and had just received a baby. I think that's old. But do you know? That is still her own choice.
What people say then? First there was my old gynecologist. She literally said that she did not think it would be desirable for women of my age to get pregnant. She therefore refused to congratulate me. Luckily I could get another gynecologist. She is fortunately very different. Furthermore, friends react surprised and mostly negative. They are all my age and have children in elementary school age, or even in high school. And the son of my best friend has even recently been studying! "
Grandpa and Grandma
Mina (65, retired) recognizes that. "When I became pregnant, many people from my circle of acquaintances were already grandfather and grandmother! My daughter is now 11. Last I went to pick her up from school. She had a new teacher, and she asked me if I could get my granddaughter out of school. I understand her reaction, but it is not fun. Add to that the fact that I look older than I am, and you understand that I get many strange looks when I tell people that I am my daughter's mother. What my daughter finds herself? She looks completely through my age. For her, I am just her sweet mother. What I find very bad is that she is occasionally bullied with my age. Then children at school say ugly things about me. I know that that worries her. At those moments I wished I was younger. "
Do not want to be younger
Elvira would definitely not want to be younger than she is now. "No, not seen me. I only really gotten around my 30th. For that I muddled something. Now I have a house for sale, a permanent job and I am emotionally stable. I have become pregnant with a sperm donor and choose to raise my child only. I have never met the love of my life, and I will not wait for that. I've been making my own fortune for 10 years now, and do not see why I would not go through with that! What I do bother is that I'm just not 30 anymore. I do not always have that energy that I had back then. At my age, a pregnancy really just requires more of a body than when you are 20. But I do my best to keep fit, I do running and yoga. So I will soon be able to run after my child if it is a toddler! "
Was I only a few years younger ...
Brigitte understands what Mina means. "Yes, I also sometimes thought: if only I had become pregnant a few years younger. When I was pregnant I could count on strange looks from totally unknown people. Once, a total stranger even spoke to me in the parking lot. She asked if I was not afraid that I would have a mongole at my age. I was so surprised that in my car I have been whining hard. In retrospect, I wanted me to say something. "
For benefits over older mothers
That older mothers are faced with many prejudices is clear. Elvira tries not to attract anything. "But sometimes that is difficult. My mother, for example, now finds herself too old to become a grandmother. She is now 78. Our contact is difficult. Every time I go to her I get a comment to my head. And that is something to swallow, because it remains your mother. "
Brigitte has a simple advice for Mina: "Girl, just enjoy your pregnancy. You do not get younger and fitter. Put that energy in your baby instead of in whackers, because they are not worth it! "