Having a baby at 50 is like wandering into middle earth without a map that’s all in Elfin and having never even read (nor ever wanted to read) Tolkein. Everyone’s speaking gibberish and seems, well, naïve and kind of silly – like all those Dungeon & Dragons friends of mine from high school. Having a baby is like being thrust into a land of hobbits and forests on flatland when you feel like you’ve been hiking mountains for years, thinking the point was the ascent.
Having a baby at 50 is a particular kind of solitary confinement.
Having a baby at 50 is watching the late 20’s and 30-something moms at the daycare who have years ahead of them to fill their homes with more babies. More time. More time. More time. They’ll be my age when their baby, who is my son’s age, is 20. I’ll be, well, very old.
Having a baby at 50 is waving across a chasm to your friends who are, by choice, childless and ambitious and still wearing the masks at the costume ball, drinking the frothy drinks that turn their insecurities into titteringly perfect conversational bomb drops, knowing when and how to move discretely from polite chit chat to humblecareerbrag to a name drop meant to place oneself squarely in the ladder of ‘where do you rate in this world?’ when you stand on one side alone, watch the swarm move, seeing the potential train wrecks and remembering to ask everyone how they are before saying anything about yourself but being very tired of the posing and wanting only your baby in your arms, not this non-alcoholic champagne, that baby drooling on your sequined shirt, reminding you that you are just another flawed human being.
Having a baby at 50 is crying all the time and not knowing if it’s joy at the miraculous beast in your arms, PMS, hormones from weaning or hormones from possible menopause creeping up behind your late-blooming fertility like a scythe-carrying goon.
Having a baby at 50 is saying your age under your breath while holding your 10 month old wriggling in your arms.
Having a baby at 50 is always having someone in awe of you. Always being in awe of yourself.
Having a baby at 50 is being 15 years older than most ‘geriatric’ moms and feeling more than geriatric, feeling down right senior citizen.
Having a baby at 50 is having 30 years of patterns developed into a full-blooded adult torn away by an infant who poops in your hand and can barely say ‘mama’ but knows exactly how to reduce you to skinless vulnerability.
Having a baby at 50 is like stepping into your own newborn skin when yours is just showing signs of wrinkles and age spots.
Having a baby at 50 is the cape around my superhero shoulders. Having a baby at 50 is saying fuck you to anyone who looks at you oddly.
Having a baby at 50 means you don’t belong anywhere. Except where you are supposed to belong.
Having a baby at 50 means the kind of tired that the word ‘tired’ falls short of describing.
Having a baby at 50 is a roller coaster when you’ve got vertigo and a migraine.
Having a baby at 50 is always feeling grateful but also wanting desperately someone to whine to.
Having a baby at 50 is missing your own mother.
Having a baby at 50 is a wilderness of extraordinary.
One thought on “Having a Baby at 50”
My goodness Amy, this is stunning. The writing, the life, the witness, the mothering, the inspiration. Thank you for championing the wonderful and painful aspects of life as a woman. I love it so so much.