A comic in installments, unfortunately

Cara Gormally
Apr 24, 2018 · 3 min read
Figure 1. If you’re an old mom (/parent), you might recognize these accoutrements. Left to right: insoles for plantar fasciitis; crutches for said affliction; glasses ’cause your eyesight is for shit; brace for the aptly named mother’s thumb.

In the past, older moms* used to be, well, just old. In fact, sometimes we “evoked a feeling of dread and foreboding” in (presumed male) doctors.

*Before we go deep, let’s define what we mean by old: age 35+ (a la Sullivan, 1960 “elderly primigravida,” though he wasn’t the first to use this term)

Figure 2. “Advanced maternal age” sounds better than “elderly primigravida.” The word “advanced” conjures up “progressive” and “cutting edge.”

Now, though, we’re the cool kids — a growing demographic, in fact. I’m part of a trend! Catch this wave while you can, people.

And bonus, us old moms have some advantages.

Figure 3. Old moms for the win: (clockwise) more education; greater earnings; more “ready” to have kids; and increased happiness.

Old moms are often advantaged both socioeconomically and educationally. Fellow old moms, we’re making more bank on average than our younger counterparts (but remember, that’s on average).

Also, research suggests old moms are more likely to be “ready” to have kids (I mean, I hope so, if we’re this old? and also, how can you ever truly be ready?).

Parents age 23–34 temporarily experience increased happiness after the birth of their first child. But within a few years of parenthood, happiness declines to pre-birth levels. Good news, fellow oldsters. The first kid kicks your happiness into high gear — which remains elevated from pre-kid days.** For me, this seems true: I feel ridiculous, mushy, unparalleled joy. See it to believe it. Here’s an actual picture of me these days:

Figure 4. This is my face now, in 8 out of 10 pictures.

Yup, I’m that delighted. Oh hey, recent research shows kids may benefit, too.

But real talk, y’all. Old parent problems are a thing. The physicality of motherhood is no joke. Just when you think you’re done with the physical demands of pregnancy, oh hello, motherhood.

Next up: the saga unfolds…


**Footnotes:

  1. However, this was longitudinal research on German and British families, so results might differ amongst American parents, especially considering the United States’ dismal lack of universal paid parental leave.
  2. Additionally, individuals with more education have particularly positive happy responses to a first birth.
  3. But it’s not all roses. Delayed parenthood reflects the systemic challenges that women and families face in the U.S. And, delaying parenthood can be biologically challenging.

Spiralbound

Comics for life, brought to life by Edith Zimmerman.

Cara Gormally

Written by

Biologist; cartoonist; chocolate chip cookie connoisseur. See more at https://www.instagram.com/cara_gormally/

Spiralbound

Comics for life, brought to life by Edith Zimmerman.

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