This was never the plan. I grew up with an “old” mom and was sure that would never be me. Now? I’m an old mom.
My mother was happy in her career as a nurse and had plenty of romantic prospects over the years, but somewhere along the way she came to terms with the fact that she might never marry. My mom was 36 when she finally married my dad, and she was 38 when I was born. My younger brothers came when she was 40 and 42. For ’80s and ’90s standards, this could be seen as a bit of a medical miracle. Today, it is becoming more typical.
Having an older mom was always something I was always a bit embarrassed about. There was also the stark reality that if I didn’t have children at a young age, my mother might not be around for much, or any, of their childhoods.
Unfortunately, life had other plans. The combination of a global pandemic and pregnancy not being as easy as simply stopping birth control further delayed my plans to start a family. I was 36 years old when I finally got a positive pregnancy test.
There is no way to know what my pregnancy would have been like if I wasn’t of “advanced maternal age.” I did all the recommended tests my OBGYN ordered, and by most accounts I had a healthy pregnancy and delivery. However, I do wonder how many other moms were required to take baby aspirin and check their blood pressure daily.
When I was newly postpartum, I joined the Peanut app in hopes of finding mom friends. But it became clear rather quickly that I was somehow not the “norm” in terms of first-time moms. I was bombarded by young women in their 20s looking for fellow moms to go on stroller walks. Their profile pictures showed them traveling across Europe and going to music festivals — they all seemed so young! It seemed I would never have anything in common with them — despite having something that was very much in common with them.
I had never felt old until I had to search for other “old mom” friends.
Finding mom friends is a very intricate formula that involves your age, their age, your baby’s age, their baby’s age, common interests, geographic location, and nap schedule alignment before even factoring in things like personalities and general life obligations. As someone who has struggled to find a core group of local, adult friends, it becomes even harder when the ones you naturally gravitate toward (i.e., those who are your age) have kids who are already embarking on elementary school. They’re juggling soccer practice and class projects, which doesn’t align with starting solids and a two-nap schedule.
Thankfully, I have discovered that I am not the only “old” mom — there are many other geriatric millennials who are now embarking on the journey of parenthood. Some of them are even on Peanut or in your local in-person moms groups! Advances in medicine and healthcare coverage for IVF mean there are a lot more options for starting a family later in life. Also, I am slowly learning that disparities in age feel a lot less significant as each month goes by, both for the adults and children.
Slowly I am finding more moms in my age range as both my son (and I) get older. I often wonder what it’s going to be like when I walk into my son’s first day of kindergarten. Will I be surrounded by a bunch of Gen Z moms? Or will I fit right in? I am hoping I will spot a few other skinny jeans-wearing ladies who drive up with an absolute fire 2000s playlist — so I can make even more “old” mom friends.