Ok old moms. You know you’ve thought these things. “I could have a heart attack and die at any time.” “What if I get cancer and she has to take care of me.” “What if he has to quit college because he doesn’t want me going into a nursing home.” Chill the f’ out. You’re gonna be fine.
If you’re like most of us Generation-Xers, you take way better care of yourself now than you did 15 years ago. Yes you were younger and more virile, but you also partied like a rock star and didn’t have the sense God gave a goose (… a southern literary gem from Granny). Now, you’re smarter and committed to wellness. You know what it takes to eat healthy and how to fit in a quick workout. You’re doing those things not solely because you want a nice butt, but also because it has been proven to have major physiological benefits and can extend your life by years, even decades. You understand that the smallest of things, done often enough, make a very big difference, i.e. adding one more vegetable to your daily intake, doing a few push-ups and crunches after walking dog, etc. You know what it takes to make your life work and that’s why you’ve totally got this.
It is an erroneous belief that you’re too old and somehow incapable of doing the new-mom thing at your age. The truth is that you absolutely have the physical and mental strength to take care of kid. Not only can you fully provide for his or her needs, but you are wiser and way more interesting than you were back in the day. You have such wisdom to pass on to a little one. You are gonna kick ass at this mothering thing.
You might know that to be true intellectually, but perhaps cannot get past self-doubt and therefore don’t yet believe you can do it. You CAN and it’s important that you own that belief way down deep. Imprint it onto your soul. Tattoo it on your inner arm.
If you’ve always wanted kids and you found a way to do it – no matter what your age – then you go out and do it, dammit. If you got pregnant or will be getting a child in a different way, that means the gods have heard your pleas and have smiled down upon you, blessing you with this awesome kid. Your age is irrelevant. Nobody on this planet is promised tomorrow. Anybody could get hit by a truck and end up orphaning their kids any day of the week. About a million people in the world didn’t wake up today. Crazy, right? That is morbid, yes. But also true.
And since you’re about as safe as anyone, you can pretty much go ahead and plan on sticking around until you’re in your 70’s. You have a damn good chance of meeting your grand kids. Your kid will be in his or her late 30’s or 40’s by then and that’s plenty old to take care of your aging ass.
Here are the facts:
- 73% percent of the US population is currently living to be over 70 years old (67% if male, 80% if female). If you make it to 65, you’re almost certain to make it to 80 (81.6 years old to be exact, per the Harvard Health Letter publication at Harvard Medical School). If a person manages to reach old age, it means they’ve already beaten the statistical odds and weathered the many dangers that might have killed them, such as infant mortality, early-striking diseases, violence or car accidents.
- Fewer and fewer people are moving into nursing homes before age 70.
- Community and private agencies are rapidly gearing up for the second wave of baby boomers (aka the silver tsunami) to hit old age and are therefore greatly diversifying the type of assistance available to people so they can refrain from moving to an unfamiliar neighborhood with strange new roommies for as long as possible.
- Parents of all ages have kids with disabilities. If your child has a disability that does not mean they will be dependent on you for the rest of their lives. There are many community services available to support adults with disabilities, as well as large communities of people who dedicate their lives to helping people with special needs to get the resources they need, including jobs and housing. If you have a kid with a developmental delay or physical disability, please take it easy. The joy that this child will bring into your life far outweighs the uncertainly of what might happen when you’re gone.
The Universe saw fit to give you this child and therefore it is absolutely part of the greater plan. All you have to do is love him or her and be the person you already are. So, with affection and all due respect, just chill the f’ out.