by Cat Strawbridge @tryingyears
Cat had a baby in her forties, here she reflects on what it’s like to be an older mum to her toddler, Wren. These are her thoughts, worries, frustrations and musings on motherhood after almost a decade of infertility. Cat now supports other parents who have experienced infertility and loss through her unique and inclusive ‘The Hangout‘, a membership for those finally pregnant or finally parenting.
“We need to talk about Bruno no no no…” The best song on the Encanto soundtrack (IMO) is more than catchy, it’s brilliant and it seems the nation agrees as it’s Number 1 in the charts! I’m driving home with Wren, my toddler, in the back and we’re having a great time singing along at the top of our voices. Well I’m massacring it and Wren is mostly laughing at the ridiculousness of her mummy singing, anyway! I still pinch myself at these moments, because for a long time I didn’t think they’d be possible.
It took 7 years of tests, medication, scans, procedures, heartache, loss and so much more before our little Wren arrived in the Spring of 2019. I was 33 when we started trying and I sit here now, 10 years later, in my 40s, full of gratitude that she is finally here. But, ten years is a long time and because of that, gratitude is sometimes accompanied by its less attractive friends; resentment, fear and frustration.
These are the thoughts of an older mum:
- I should be a younger mum
- I should have more years to get to know her
- Will I be able to run around with her when she wants me to?
- When Wren is 18 I’ll be 59, 21 I’ll be 62, 30 I’ll be 71!
- …Who will look after her when I’m gone?
Fortunately, these are mostly passing thoughts that I let go of as quickly as they arrive but still, if infertility and loss hadn’t been our path they wouldn’t take up any real estate at all.
Another big concern? Friendships – selfishly mine, not Wren’s!
Initially I was a little worried about the impact it would have on my existing friendships. Those without children as well as those whose little ones who are less toddler, more teenager. Sat round a table though, we’re all on a level. Perhaps the experiences that have come with the years have left us more empathetic. Whatever the reason for the laughs, tiredness, joy or worry, we’re all in it together. One thing I’m sure of, if you have a great group of people around you they are there, through thick and thin, no matter how different the path they might be treading is to your own.
No, the friendships that worry me now are the school mums and I’m not even there yet! Some of them might be 20 years younger than me. Oh. My. Goodness. In writing this I realise I could probably be their mum. Bloomin nora!!
However, it’s not the age thing that is necessarily the issue here. It’s the references, the humour, the music. When you grow up in different generations even words and phrases can be different!
I guess I’ll just worry about the now for now and deal with all that when I get there. Ooh, and I’ll continue to brush up on my Disney, because that’s a language that crosses all generations!!!
“…Bruno walks in with a mischievous grin…..you telling this story or am I?…..”