I’m 40 years older than my daughter, Viv. As my mother helpfully pointed out, if Viv waits until she’s 40 to have kids like I did, then I’ll be 80 (eighty!) before I’m a grandma. Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t be in any rush to explain safe sex to my daughter. Is being a teen mom so bad these days? Seems like a one-way trip to MTV stardom.
I kid, I kid. I want my daughter to have every possible choice when it comes to her body and her future, and I sincerely look forward to having detailed, embarrassing (for her, not me) talks about birds, bees and penises. But if Viv were to ask my opinion about the right time to have children, well, here’s what I’d say:
Honey, don’t wait ’til you’re 40. Mommy is tired. So tired. I wanted to show you a cartwheel in the park today but honestly I was afraid I’d break something.
Pregnancy, which is never a barrel of monkeys, was extra tough on your old mom. At the outset, there was one scary screening test after another. Thankfully, you were perfect, my darling, but if Mommy heard the phrase “advanced maternal age” one more time, she was going to stab someone.
The rest of your gestation was a greatest hits of older mommy pitfalls, from a shortened cervix (Why does it get shorter? Osteoporosis?) to glucose intolerance. Mommy did not like being pregnant while unable to get off the couch or eat carbs. Grilled cheese deprivation sometimes caused me to say horrible things to Daddy, which I hope your beautiful face has made him forget.
Mommy’s skin isn’t as elastic as it used to be, so while it expanded easily to become your fetal studio apartment, it has yet to find its way home. I recently asked my doctor when I could expect my stomach to return to normal. “Do you really want to know?” she whispered, as if guarding a dark secret. “Never.”
Viv, I hope that when you’re a teenager you will enjoy Mommy’s retro bikinis. Someone should wear them again; they are very cute.
Since you were born, I think I’ve been up to the new mother task, other than being too farsighted to read the instructions on your toys. I’m sorry about your bubble maker, but triple A batteries are ridiculously small.
Now that you’re a toddler, we’re hoping to give you a brother or sister, which is like a baby doll that cries and poops and will worship you for life if you don’t beat it up too often. Except at Mommy’s age, there are no guarantees. Honey, if I’d known how much I was going to love having you, I might have left myself enough time to produce a dozen kids. We could still pull off a large family Octomom style, but frankly, at my age, I’d never be able to tell multiples apart.
Mommy didn’t mean to wait until 40, but that’s how long it took to meet Daddy. I wouldn’t change a thing, because then I wouldn’t have you. But if you’re lucky enough to meet a wonderful partner a little earlier in life, I’m hoping you’ll take a break from solving cold fusion, choreographing Cirque du Soleil or whatever you might be doing and have some kids.
Speaking of which, have I ever told you about the stork that brings babies? Let’s talk.