Wednesday, January 25, 2012

AP Credit

I just read Dr. Crazy's thought-provoking post about women "forgetting" to have children (go read it, if you haven't yet; it's good). I haven't articulated much of a response, but a good bit of it resonated with me--I've often thought that, yes, I'd like to have a baby, but I like the way my life is without a baby, and there are other things that I want to do, so.... In fact, it seems a little startling that we did decide to have a baby. It was sort of like, Well, we want one, so why not now? And once we started thinking in terms of "trying," it became a priority. So it wasn't actually a priority before we committed to the attempt (if that makes sense), but the attempt itself made it one. Or something.

But that's not at all what I was going to write about (as evinced by my inchoate thoughts). Instead, I'm thinking about the phrase "Advanced Maternal Age," which Crazy uses and which is all over my paperwork (as I'll complain to anyone who listens).

Dude, I'm 35. I'm no spring chicken, but I'm not geriatric, for Pete's sake. Seeing that "Advanced Maternal Age" label was one of the first things that's actually made me feel old. And also a little...I dunno, behind? In need of remediation? I started feeling like, How did I make it this long, to this outrageously old age, without having a baby?? Obviously that's freakish and strange; I should have at least been pregnant before now. What, therefore, is the matter with me? People must be staring at this ancient, wizened crone who doesn't even know how to change a diaper. Good Lord. Freak!

It was a weird feeling.

So I decided that I ought to reclaim the term, to make it a badge of honor somehow. And as soon as I entertained the wish to do so, it was so easy! The label invites reclamation. For lo--I am Advanced! Yes! Without ever having even tried to be Maternal before, I've skipped the Beginner and the Intermediate stages. Advanced Pregnancy Credit, man. That's what I've got. It makes sense, really. I've always been a quick study.

The fact that my blood type is A+ just makes it all the more compelling.


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I have A+ blood too. Maybe it's an academic thing. :) I kid, I kid.

When I was in the bay area, I was one of the youngest moms I knew. I had eldest at 30. Most of the women I knew with children had waited until 35+, and one lady had her first at 39 and second at 42. So I was the anomaly there. I also felt sort of shamefully immature in comparison, too. They were all in touch with their bodies and selves and by extension their babies. They were willing to do cloth diapers that I'd never have the patience for. They seemed to exude this idea that they waited so long to have children so they could "do it right." I, on the other hand, was just surviving.

I don't know. Age is a state of mind when it comes to attitudes toward parenting. There are more physical difficulties supposedly with age, but I haven't seen any of that manifest in my mom friends who had kids later. So it's obviously not always a problem.

At any rate - good luck.

Clarissa said...

I'm also 35 and I also just told my Ob-Gyn that I'm planning to start trying to get pregnant. She didn't mention anything about Advanced Maternal age but told me that I'm high risk and will need to be closely monitored from the second I get pregnant. It all sounded very dramatic. and was delivered in hushed tones doctors normally adopt when talking to very sick people.

feMOMhist said...

wait for it women, your OB chart could say

ELDERLY primigravida

serious WTF moment right?

ntbw said...

I had my first son at 31, and I lived in Utah, where many people get started on childbearing exceptionally early (as in at 18 or 19 years old; I knew many women who had 4 and 5 children before the end of their 20s). When I went to childbirth classes, people were shocked and horrified I was having my first baby at the incredibly old age of 31! And yes, the "advanced maternal age" label was applied to me endlessly; I wish I had thought of interpreting it your way!

I had my second son when I was 37. He was born in North Carolina. I was at a fabulous midwifery practice, and nobody batted an eye about my age. It was never remarked upon at all. I was healthy, the baby was healthy, that was all that mattered. Much nicer experience all in all.

Dr. Crazy said...

I just want to note that part of the reason I mentioned the AMA thing is because of our conversation at MLA (though I have heard a lot about that from other sources over the past year or so). All this to say, I love the idea that you're getting AP credit :)

heu mihi said...

Woohoo! I wondered if that had served as part of your inspiration. :)

Anonymous said...

Grrrr, how I hated that Advanced Maternal Age label.

Love that you repurposed it into positiveness. :)