I am hungry as if I am pregnant. So hungry I can hardly believe it, and I need to eat every two hours or so. My last menstrual cycle was 2 1/2 years ago! I couldn’t be pregnant could I? At 50 years old? It can happen.
My first reaction is to feel like a wayward teenager. What business does a 50 year old have getting pregnant? I’d be 72 before the child got out of college! And getting out of college is no guarantee that a person is completely ready to be on their own. They still need their moms and dads.
And next, what about the higher likelihood that a child born to a 50 year old mom would not even be capable of college? The rate for birth defects and Down’s Syndrome is huge for mothers in their late 30’s and early 40’s. What would it be for a 50 year old?
I was mortified thinking about all the people who know my age and who view life from a more Protestant, American, “I am in control of my destiny” and I don’t let anything happen that I don’t want — point of view. I realize I have plenty of those people in my life. Perhaps because I share this view at least on some level.
However, what I really think is that even at 50, to be able to participate in creation at this most amazing, crucial level, is a huge gift! Sure, it’s a responsibility, but I think, even when 20 and 30 somethings have children, our culture views their responsibility as much greater than it has to be. I believe in a loving God and I believe that we all have the ability to deal with whatever comes our way. Even the 30 somthings don’t have all the responsibility that their world, this world, would heap on them.
The single most valuable piece of wisdom I received when I had my son was that I was not 100% responsible for him. Neither were my husband and I together, 100% responsible. There are events and circumstances in this world that we can not only not foresee, but certainly cannot manage to avoid. We cannot manage well enough to make everything all right for our children. Nor do I believe we are supposed to. I believe my role as a parent is to respect the dignity of my child’s personhood. I am not to control his actions, beyond a certain level of teaching and training, I am not to sweep obstacles or consequences out of his way. I believe that when I parent in this way, I create an atmosphere in which my son has the opportunity to become aware of his qualities, strengths, characteristics, the good and the bad, . This is where his strength of character and self-esteem will come from. Not from having a good life, not from having material things, not even from having a young and energetic mother.
I hope that I am around for my child, or children, well into grandparenthood. I welcome any chance at creating and loving a family. I welcome and am honored by the opportunity to co-create with the God of the universe, this universe and the people within it. God creates with wild abandon. Looking out my window I see trees and vines and grass and sunflowers — yes, sunflowers even in the drought! — I see agapanthus and iron plant, palms and oak trees, kumquat trees. I see God as continually creating our ever expanding universe, giving us an image of himself as infinite love and creation. I would be honored to have another chance to participate in that awesome, wild, fruitful creation.
P.S. I WAS NOT PREGNANT – probably just menopausal hormone surges!