16 May 2016

Janet Jackson (reportedly) Pregnant at 49 and Other Stuff.

Last week I was asked to write an article for Newsweek (no less!).  It was about 'Older Mum' stuff in response to word on the street about Janet Jackson expecting a baby at age 49.  This hasn't yet been confirmed but it hasn't been denied either, as the reporter pointed out in earnest as I tried to glean as much information as possible before rushing off something straight after work before the kids were whining for their tea.  The result is below.

I was rather proud they hardly edited a word, which kind of counteracted the lack of a fee and it really would be living the dream if, indeed, I had the nous to successfully manage both.

Gingerbread also asked me to write a piece for them - ('inspiring Single Parent stuff') which I called The Dark before the Dawn and BritMums recently hosted a piece I wrote about Blogging stuff -'Ploughing Your Own Furrow.'

So, it's not for lack of trying or completely out of the question, is it?  But it's yet to happen!

Someone who has always believed in me, however is the the lovely Izzie Anderton and I feel awful for not being around very much and to have let her down on the countless times she's tagged me on a variety of interesting posts, so I made a point of taking up the honour of being featured in her Blog Spot Interview' last week, which was great fun and I wanted to show my appreciation of her support for my 'stuff' over the years.

Anyway, back to the present point, I know some people who haven't lost hope of having a baby (or two) in their forties and although it's not ideal and people judge their motives, we don't really live in an ideal world.  More by luck than anything else, I was fortunate enough to manage it and this is what I had to say on the matter:-

So rumours are rife about Janet Jackson having a baby about a fortnight before her fiftieth birthday.  

How very dare she!

But when is the ideal time to do so?

Mine were born when I was 41 and 45, naturally conceived within a (woeful) marriage and oh, how I regret all that energy expended on a treadmill in my twenties and globe-trotting travelling in my thirties.

(O.K.  Not so much the latter.). 

The truth is that behind every mum of a certain age, there is a history of heartbreak.  Rarely is it intentional to have a baby just as we’re hitting the menopause and, believe you me, the two combined is not as nature intended.

Does that mean we shouldn’t do it, given the opportunity?

Not necessarily, no.

Does it mean we will be more tired?  Probably.

Does that make it illegal or immoral?  Nope.

What if we’ve yearned for children all our adult lives?  Does that make us wrong?

Perhaps we’re more grateful than those who are thrust into parenthood at an early age.  Perhaps we’ve plenty to offer the little tykes who turn up at an age that other people disapprove of.

Perhaps it’s a massive mistake.  Perhaps we should adopt one of the unwanted or unfortunate. 

Perhaps not.

They say ‘Man plans and Gods laughs.’  So it seems for women.

And if you’re clever and work hard, before you know it, you’ll be labelled a ‘Career Girl’ and everyone will assume you don’t want children, you’ve made a choice. 

Perhaps not, again.

I, for one, turned down opportunities to have babies with reprobates when I was younger.  As a child of a single mother with a decidedly ropey relationship with my father I didn’t fancy going it alone, didn’t think I could offer the best possible upbringing for my children, didn’t think it was fair on them.

And the irony?  Even at the ripe old age I am, decades later, I am doing it alone anyhow, stressed out of my skull trying to make ends meet, bringing up two beautiful, bright boys, acutely aware it’s not the best upbringing or fair on them.

They excel at school though.  Why?  

Perhaps being an older parent has its advantages.  Perhaps I appreciate the value of an education more than those half my age.

They are fit and healthy despite me being comparatively ancient when they came along.  Why?

They were the product of two perfectly good labours and births without complications or stitches, because I was old enough to trust my instincts, to see an Osteopath and an Acupuncturist all the way through my pregnancies so that my babies and I would be in the optimum possible place for when the time came and old enough to ignore the little whippersnapper nurses in the ward who thought they knew better, yet hadn’t ever gone through it themselves.


With age comes confidence.

Not confidence in men, though.  That‘s something else.  I still have terrible taste in them.

Perhaps, now, Janet Jackson is in a confident place.  She’s enjoying her third marriage with a much younger husband.  Perhaps it’s the right thing for them.

Could she have offered a child a better life when she was younger?

Perhaps she needed time to find herself, having grown up as part of one of the most famous families in the world. 

Perhaps now is the best time for her to devote her real self to motherhood, because, ultimately, if you’re going to bring a child into the world, the best gift you could ever give them is themselves too. 

Some of us take longer to get there than others, that’s all.

I wish her the very best of British.

She’ll very likely need it! 

janet jackson, pregnant at 49,
Janet Jackson allegedly pregnant at 49.  Image from Newsweek / Getty.