By kate halim
Motherhood varies from one woman to another. From pregnancy to childbirth; weaning babies, the babies’ first step and their first day at school are sweet stories mothers love to tell. But the same news may not be heart-warming for that woman who has long stopped giving birth.
Even though some women started childbearing early, it might not be the same for others. Women who delay childbearing do so for different reasons. Some women prefer to establish their careers first or ensure financial security before embarking on motherhood. Others may not find their life found a partner until later on in life.
The funny aspect of this journey through motherhood is when women who have waved goodbye to nappies and sleepless nights, who thought menopause would be next, suddenly receive the news of pregnancy. The thought of having unplanned baby at over 40 is not gladly received by such women.
Midlife mothering may not be ideal, but sometimes, it is inevitable. There is the wealth of experience older mothers can bring with them into their journeys through parenthood. Older parents can offer a deeper sense of security to a child, having learnt to develop the virtues of tolerance, and emotional stability.
Mrs. Helen Okoh stopped child-bearing in her early 30s, but suddenly, she got pregnant at 46. At the time, she fell sick and visited a doctor for normal routine check up. He carried out some blood and pregnancy tests which turned out positive. Nothing prepared her for that shocking moment. When the news was broken to her, she burst into tears, saying, ‘I don’t want this baby’ as she walked down home. She had three children already.
After being rebuked by her family and loved ones for not being grateful to God who gives babies, Helen tried to remain positive throughout her fourth pregnancy. She said there was a general lack of support for older mothers. People stare at you as if you have committed a crime.
She said: ‘’Ignoring negative comments is easier said than done, even when most of such comments are based on ignorance and other people’s personal hang-ups. It even made me more determined to bring in a healthy baby into the world. It doesn’t matter what other people think, after all, we all make personal choices and have no obligation to explain our choices.’’
Her baby arrived five days after six-hour labour and an epidural, which made the entire experience almost comfortable. It was a natural birth, but she had some stitches as the baby weighed 4.2 kg and was the heaviest of all her children. Regardless of all her fears, her recovery rate was incredible.
Helen said: ‘’Today, I am grateful for this delayed gift. She keeps me company. My people say she is the one who would take care of me in my old age and I agreed. At two, she is very caring, loving and energetic, and keeps me very busy too.”