No, she wasn’t an accident.

I have three children. Three daughters. Not so unusual. No. They are 23 yo, 21yo and 4 yo. I was 25 when my eldest was born, 44 when my youngest was born.

I can’t see your face, I don’t need to. Your eyebrows have shot upwards, your mouth fell open and a strangled squeak that may have been the start of a ‘Are you mad?’ type comment escapes. If you were sitting opposite me, meeting me for the first time, you would quickly arrange your face into a polite look of mild surprise and stutter, ‘Well that’s quite an age gap.’ Whilst still thinking, ‘Are you completely mad?’

Well, it’s okay. I can’t see you, so feel free to remain gobsmacked. I won’t be offended.

The brave (code for nosy/inquisitive/curious) will ask of my youngest, ‘Was she an accident?’ Presumably once over the age of 40, women are no longer capable of managing their contraception. Like some form of early onset dementia.

No, I say, she was planned. (Planned as in I stopped taking the pill and hoped.)

Then I’ll be asked, ‘Oh, IVF?’ No, no, Chinese Herbs and acupuncture. Just lucky.

Some people get quite twitchy when I admit to that. It seems to confirm that I am definitely loopy. And about now, I start to feel a little twitchy myself. It’s a strange mixture of guilt and greed. Selfishness and embarrassment. So, I usually slip in quite quickly, second marriage, you know.

Ah, of course. That explains it. And the interrogation of my reproductive history switches to my take on motherhood the second time round. Which always interests me, because it seems to imply that I stopped being a mother because my older daughters had reached an age when I was redundant.

But I hadn’t stopped mothering. I was on my first time round with adult children, transitioning from being the mother of teenagers to young adults. Adults who now don’t live at home, who travel, study overseas, have lives completely independent of mine and yet still seek out my company, my advice and when needed, my comfort.

So, it’s not motherhood the second time round, it’s a continuation. But I certainly have a different perspective with my little one. I’m far more relaxed because I understand that everything is temporary. No matter how tiring, trying or revolting the phase is, they will move on. Quite possibly it will be to a phase that’s even worse, it will definitely be different. And by the time they reach approximately 17½ , they will emerge from the darkness of their teenage caves (bedrooms) and  be delightful.

The sleepless nights, nappies, endless replaying of The Wiggles DVD’s, the little hand slipping into yours is a fraction of their lives, so just enjoy them.

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12 thoughts on “No, she wasn’t an accident.

  1. Enjoyed this piece Jennifer or rather post – people make all sorts of assumptions and generalisations about women and babies and the timing of them appearing I find. Cheers Therese

  2. I’ve been on the receiving end of these types of assumptions, only at the other end of the scale. My daughter is almost three, so according to my more intrusive acquaintances, it’s about time I had another. My friends know that I spent last year trying, and failing, and am still trying to deal with the fall-out. It would be a perfect world if a woman’s fertility was her business alone, but as you know, our world is far from perfect.

    • It’s a strange thing isn’t it? People are mostly well-intentioned, but if you’re having trouble falling pregnant or if you’ve just miscarried. it’s incredibly hurtful and insensitive. I wish you all the best for the future and I really appreciate you commenting with such honesty, thank-you.
      J x

  3. No raised eyebrows from me Jennifer. I was 40 and 42 when I had my children. That’s just the way it was. So far, I’ve been called the kid’s grandmother only 3 times. (I’m keeping the hair dye companies in business, that’s for sure! LOL) I’m 47 now and my youngest is starting Prep next year. I think I win the prize for the oldest Mum of Prep children at my kid’s school. LOL

    Anne @ Domesblissity

  4. I had just the same questions, as there’s a 6 or is it 7 year gaps between my second and the twins. I couldn’t believe that people were so open about their curiosity. I was asked a lot: ‘Is it the same father?’ Yes, it is… trust me, I have had no hope of pulling another bloke since the first two were born.

    I was often asked ‘Are they IVF?’ I wouldn’t ask someone that until I knew them well. Jeez, I think I’m nosy, but people seem to feel they can ask anything of a pregnant women.

    So, yes, I get asked questions too. But then, I’m often asking a question myself;
    ‘WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!???’

    Certainly wasn’t thinking I’d ever have twins, at 42…..

    Thanks for your post, I did enjoy your perspective, am looking forward to the post-teenage years a lot.

  5. Over from the Rewind and am so glad I found this! Such an interesting story and thanks for sharing. I admit once upon a time I’d have been curious but now, being a mother to only one child who dreads and detests the “so, when are you going to have number 2” question, I’d never be so nosy to another mother again!

  6. Hello, Jennifer. I really enjoyed this post – I’ve seen the eyebrows raised when my conception/motherhood history comes up too. I am still regularly amazed by something someone assumes out loud in my presence, as if they know the whole story or have a right to ask the things they do.

    I applaud you. It was a brave move and I am so pleased for you that it paid off. Inspirational! I harbour secret wonders about whether a child awaits me in my 40’s (children are somewhat elusive for us: not the getting pregnant bit, but the getting here alive bit).

  7. I really enjoyed reading this post. I’m the youngest of 5 – there is a 15, 12 and 10 year age gap between myself and my older sibblings. I loved my childhood growing up in a large family with long age gaps – my sisters are my best friends as sisters should be but they have also been like second mothers to me and have been great role models. It’s a great family dynamic in my opinion.

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