Day By Day: Geriatric pregnancy - What man thought that up?In a world awash with weird labels, I have found a new favorite —“geriatric pregnancy.” A young friend, better than 20 years my junior, recently told me about a tour she took of a prominent hospital where they were escorted through the geriatric pregnancy department.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
In a world awash with weird labels, I have found a new favorite —“geriatric pregnancy.”
A young friend, better than 20 years my junior, recently told me about a tour she took of a prominent hospital where they were escorted through the geriatric pregnancy department. When she asked what that meant, she was told that any pregnant woman over the age of 35 is considered a “geriatric mother.”
I almost choked on my chicken. Geriatric? When she first mentioned it, I thought it would be for those “really old” and, luckily, really rare women who are more close in age to the traditional definition of geriatric and having kids for their daughters or by accident or to have their own reality show.
It immediately brought up images of things like a hospital ward equipped with a birthing walker with a little pouch to catch the baby. Or maybe a special wheelchair for water birth where the seat cushion is a flotation device and the mother sets her brakes and slides into a warm bath.
I am thinking about sending Kevin to the store for both Pampers and Depends and fighting over who gets the last jar of soft food — the baby or me, especially the strained peaches. And let’s not even think about a nursing bra that comes with a hydraulic lift.
These are all terrible old age stereotypes but I feel entitled since I had a geriatric pregnancy, which by extension made me, and still does, a geriatric mother.
I was 35 when I got pregnant with my twins in 1988. My husband and I tried for 10 years to start a family unsuccessfully. My mother, who had eight kids, said she couldn’t understand it. “All your dad had to do was hang his pants at the end of the bed.”
I consulted my doctor because I was concerned about my age. She very calmly told me not to worry. “You’re not old. Plenty of women your age get pregnant — no problem.” So when I finally did get pregnant and promptly went on to have non-stop morning sickness for something like 12 weeks, what was her response?”
“It’s because you are an older mom.” It also turned out that geriatric mothers have a much higher rate of multiple births and mothers of multiples generally have more morning sickness. The only time in my adult life I lost so much weight was when I was pregnant with twins.
The other thing geriatric mothers tend to do is deliver early. That has to be because we are running out of time and we need to get to this kid-raising quicker.
Although I object to the geriatric moniker, the truth is in a lot of ways it fits. I have kind of felt tired ever since they were born. There are more than 3.2 million sites on the web that talk about geriatric pregnancy or the alternative title of pregnancy at an “advanced maternal age,” which is tons better. There are lots of serious sites but also some fun ones like the “Saga of Being Fruitful” and “Belly Laughs.” I could have used them when I was pregnant. I don’t remember laughing much. It’s hard to do while throwing up.
But now my babies are about to graduate from college so, of course, their geriatric mother is just more than happy to have been of service. And since more women than ever are falling into this category, I’m just thinking the women’s movement needs to come up with a better name for it. Maybe something like …funny, I can’t think of a thing.
On an entirely different subject
I have to comment on a letter to the editor in last week’s HSO. In it the writer took the paper to task for having a “Republican slant” due in major part to the politics of our editor Doug Stohlberg.
I have worked with Doug for more than 20 years and his politics and mine are pretty much on different ends of the spectrum. But in all that time, I have never felt that I could not report a story as I saw it or express my personal opinion in a column, even if it was diametrically opposed to his. He has even encouraged us to write differing opinions in our columns and makes it his business to see that every letter to the editor, especially local writers, gets their say on our opinion pages.
Like everywhere else in recent weeks, the Star-Observer has been full of talk on both sides of the issues of the day. Most of the time it is civil and for the most part people respect one another’s opinions. Most newspapers earn a political slant based on their ownership and editorial policy. But around here that doesn’t often translate into biased reporting or one-sided opinion pieces. Editor Stohlberg sees to that.