Heather Parisi- a showgirl famous IN Italy in the 80ies –  gave an interview to a TV show about her choice, made years before, to try to become pregnant at the age of 50. She told about the difficulties and the need to keep her fears at bay, about hard choices to be taken, and luckily with fine results, at last.

I am not going to judge anything and anybody; we live in a free world, thanks God to science and nature. While reading that interview in a magazine, I got lost in a personal thought.

When it’s about motherhood, we are used to bind it to the gestation process the first, and eventually weaning the latter. Nothing else. Sometimes I feel like people think, that being a mother, matches with occupational “motherhood”, meaning that period of abstention from work, more or less remunerated, allowed to employees by the Welfare Social Security and agreed with the employer.

Motherhood indeed, being a mother, does not deplete in just that. That is only the very beginning and probably the easiest part, if everything ends up well.

Motherhood is a process… no, it’s not. It is a stretch of time… no, it’s not. Motherhood is a status, in which a mother stands after having conceived a baby. A condition that is going to last for the remaining part of her life. Motherhood is a state of being, a way of living, one-way path, once it is embraced at least.

So ok, a so-called late pregnancy may conceal many unknowns, difficulties and troubles during gestation. And then? I do not believe that over 40 mothers deal with this process in the same way as younger mothers do.

Clearly, we live in a world populated by “over 50 youngsters”, where middle-aged adults live as the 30-years-olds did some years ago; they often enjoy the same physical prowess, they allow themselves the same things, the same leisure activities. Their skin and body do not show the signs of aging for sure, as it happened to the previous generation or their grandparents’. A world in which aging appears to arrive later and later, but often when it does, it is quicker and ruthless than before. 

In this regard it is regular, that birthrates from over 40 women is more than doubled in the first 20s of XXI century, as ISTAT (National Institute of Statistics) claims. Regular maybe not natural, but regular in a world where women have a hard time, only to show that they deserve half of a man’s wage. Where a woman, willing to make a career, takes a way longer time than a man, and only when she has a safe job deal, with a worthy salary, can afford to claim for her desire for maternity.

As I said, I doubt that the post-birth path is the same for over 40 and younger mothers. I can state this, even though I become a mother at the age of 39, off the podium just in time!

For instance, it is not a secret that Italy is the last in line, when it’s about supporting families. It’s not about a few subsidies, but structures are missing, too; such as kindergartens to support families who work. The luckiest ones can have grandparent’s help, but if you get to become parent over 40, it is likely that grandparents may not be in the age to chase swift toddlers, to lift chubby babies weighing 20 Kg or to hurry between the school, gym, music classrooms and birthday parties.

Furthermore, grandparents may take the decision not to help, and to enjoy what is left of their lives. That’s where we must discard the grandparents option. Of course, people like Heather Paris can avoid counting on their assistance, they’d have a choice of nannies and tutors.

If grandparents are missing physical energy, over 40 mothers do not shoot out power for sure. To respond “Yes, we can” to the question “Mum, can we play?” after a hard full-time working day, we need to scrape off the energies left. It is different when we are 25 years old, when the nightlife begins at 11 pm and it doesn’t end before dawn. Then for belated mothers a sort of conflictual situation occurs: they wish they could do more, but their energies are depleted. They wish they didn’t lose patience, but their fuel is low and so they’re more vulnerable.

Infancy is quite further for over 40 mothers, thus it’s harder to recall when they were girls, to mirror themselves in their own kid’s attitudes and to understand how to confront them. To use creativity becomes hard, when you don’t keep it trained for long, unless you’re a teacher or you work in the creative sphere. So, it’s difficult “to play along”, to create universes of fantasy, to work with manual skills… well, all the typical stuff that happens especially during the baby’s first years. This is the reason why, sometimes it’s easier to hand them over an electronic device for video clips or video games: just to let them entertain and to relax for a while.

Patience, patience is a further thing, which is hard to keep when there’s a hard-working day involved that sucks it up. What about to have patience for a boy or girl who can’t wait to spend some time with you? To play with you? To rush with you? I believe it’s easier when you’re younger.

It’s hard to comprehend a teenager’s needs, hard to comprehend what he sees in trap music, hard to accept he’s grown up and that he comes back late at night, that he gains experience and that he speaks about gender fluidity the same as we used to speak about our experience in volleyball. Difficult. More and more when 40 years lie between us. Here come my mother’s words echoing in my mind: “You’ll learn when you’re a mother”.

Now I speak for myself: I believe in nature. She sets the timing. I rely on her, even if her timings do not match my desires, because I know that she knows. And there’s a reason, too. I respect those who choose to overcome her, but it’s not for me, even though progress takes us beyond the limits sometimes. It’s not for me.

If it was only about to give love, motherhood could also occur at 90 and we might have one hundred sons, but it’s not all there. I don’t think so, at least.

I am ending this article with this sweet song reminding me about the sweetness of maternal love: 

By Cinzia Costi

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