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Older moms: A new cultural trend?

February 25, 2013
logo by Christine Hepner

While hard data is lacking on this cultural trend, the anecdotal evidence has been mounting over the past few years. From an article about “sleep texting” on

Since CNN can get away with this “I don’t really feel like doing any research, but I’m going to write it anyway” stuff, so can I. (Doesn’t that quote just smack of something written by some hipster reporter who heard two people talking at a bar and decided it’s now a “cultural trend”? For total shame. This crap would never get published by the AP!)

Anyway, while I’m not going to present any hard evidence, it just seems like there are more older parents out there. Take for instance my tiny high school graduating class of less than 100 people. Since our last reunion, which was our 30th in 2008, 3 of us have become first-time parents. The other two, Jon and Ric, have wives who are (much, much) younger (you’re welcome Katherine and Mrs. J), but still that’s 3 out of less than 100 people becoming parents after age 48, me being the last. As I’ve told Ric and Jon, there is apparently very little I won’t do to win the “oldest parent” award at the next reunion, so let that be fair warning to anyone who might be considering a run at my title.

Our 35th reunion is in July. Jon, Ric, and my husband Dave are still as handsome, fit, and trim (maybe even more so) as they were before becoming dads. I, on the other hand, can’t shake the baby weight. I read a tip about using a new eyebrow pencil to make your eyebrows thicker and stronger. Strong, thick eyebrows are supposed to distract the eye and have an overall slimming effect, which makes me want to paint on one gigantic monobrow from my hairline to mid-cheek, something like Frida Kahlo meets Mike Tyson. Maybe then my classmates won’t notice the extra weight?

I can honestly say that only once or twice in 21 months has someone assumed that I’m the grandmother, at least out loud. I walked into a children’s dance class in my small hometown and definitely felt a vibe when I referred to the baby as my son and not my grandson. The other parents there really were young enough to be my children. But on the other hand, I’ve met another “older” mom, a good decade younger than I am, but still an over 40 first-time mom. And not on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but in my pokey little north of nowhere home town.

So there you have it, I’m declaring a cultural trend! We are the second wave of the baby boomers, those born in the late 1950s to 1964. The first wave redefined what it means to be 40. I think we just might be redefining what it means to be 50. Take note, Madison Avenue! We are not all walking down beaches into the sunset. We shall not go quietly into those separate bathtubs. Or something like that.

Next time: The blizzard that almost made me a single mom

© copyright 2013

  1. Nadine permalink

    I would say it’s a cultural/cosmopolitan thing, depending on where you live…….. I live on a small, hip, 30 min ferry ride, island across from the city of Seattle. A lot of new Moms and Dads have relocated from Seattle and are over 35 and into their 40’s. I’ll be 39 by the time my second pops into the world, so I have no problem connecting with new mommies. But unfortunately I am not as economically fortunate as most of the population here, just really lucky to live here. So I take the bridge to the “small town” Peninsula and a 40 min car ride to my OBGYN. It is there that I am reminded on EVERY visit that I am older and at risk! Not just by the Doc, nurse and every technician who pokes at me, but from the glances of the other much younger new moms to be with 2 kids hanging of them in the waiting room. They have me in a total state of paranoia and stress after every test and visit. But my husband does a good job talking me off the ledge and fortunately it’s not unusual at all in the small community that surrounds us.


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      I totally can see that in smaller towns. I certainly hope you tell everyone that your grandmother had a baby when she was 50! I never experienced what you’re going thru, but I went to a high-risk doctor from the start. She and her entire staff were completely unimpressed with my age–they see it every day. But I refused to leave Manhattan after my first trimester. I did not want to be further than 15 minutes from my doctor. I couldn’t imagine going into a small town ER and explaining that I was 50 and pregnant….so I just didn’t travel, period.

      How are you feeling? Hope everything is going well!


  2. lperlbinder permalink

    Mono-brow? Please you are even prettier in real life than your writing.


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