If I face facts and accept that contrary to my rose-tinted self perception I no longer look 20, most people who see me with Fjord and Acacia (aged 5 & 3) must wonder if I am parent or grandparent. Only 2 have had the nerve to ask the dread question “Are you Mummy or Granny?” The first was a cherub faced 5 year old who gave me a puzzled look and asked “Is Jy ‘n Ma of ‘n Ouma?” (the Afrikaans version of said question). The second was the lovely old lady at the Wool Shop. Oddly despite the blow to my ego, I am not offended. My primary feeling at having children in my 40’s (eek 45 next week, gifts of hair dye and miracle face cream will be accepted) is immense gratitude.
My eldest two children (24 & 22) had a spritely Mum who had oodles of energy and did lots of fun stuff with them. I was however also a single mother for the majority of the time with a husband around for all of 1 year. To clear confusion I had better expose my messy past. I fell pregnant with Domi when I was 20. The dickhead who is not worthy of the title father ditched me when those 2 lines showed up on a preggy test. I met my 1st husband when a mere 2 months pregnant with her and he was a star about taking on a pregnant girlfriend. Grant was supportive and kind, he was however also 22 and not very well emotionally equipped for the situation. Not being one to learn from my mistakes first time around (shouldn’t mistakes also be tested with science, to be sure?) I fell pregnant out of wedlock yet again, Grant did the honourable thing and married me but that lasted all of a year. Bottom line we were just too young. Don’t go thinking that I view my older children as mistakes, they are a blessing and wonderful people, I just wish that they had the benefit of a family unit.
Years passed (about 15 of them), I dated broke up, got engaged a few times, broke up, you get the picture. Then I met Clifford (online) 9 years ago and we married a year later. For a long, long time I was more than certain that I was done and dusted with babies but Cliff did not have children and suddenly the topic was on the table. At 37 I found myself on the TTC (trying to conceive) rollercoaster. Previously falling pregnant had been a tad too easy, this time is was not. A year passed, stress, tears, disappointment and a lot of money in the bin with ‘wrong verdict’ pee on a stick tests. I believe that it was prayer and the course of 10 reflexology treatments which finally brought good news. The pregnancy was tough, I had bleeding on and off throughout which nearly drove me nuts with worry. A 38 year old body does not bounce and glow through pregnancy, well this one didn’t anyway. Fjord arrived with bucket loads of joy and changed our lives and Cliff proved to be the best father on the planet.
Not long and the question “Another one?” was bouncing around, at first I resisted, the risks of birth defects are scary when Mum is over 40. I fell pregnant with Smidgen but at 9 weeks the little heart stopped beating. I was shattered, until you have a miscarriage, you cannot grasp that horrible pain and loss. A year later Acacia arrived. Again I had bleeding throughout the pregnancy and almost lost her at 9 weeks too. She was born with group B strep bacterial infection which kills 1 in 10 babies born with it, she spent the 1st week of her life in ICU with drips and needles stuck in her head and arms.
How can I be offended when I am asked if I am a granny? I am so blessed to have my children. Suddenly all the colours of the world are brighter when seeing them through unjaded eyes. Christmas and Easter are fun again. I may not look young but I feel it and that’s what matters.
I’ll step away from the pc now and head to the bathroom to colour my grey hair.