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Monday, February 2, 2009

Pregancy: The Secret To Eternal Youth?

Just for the record, I am done having children. I always wanted four (unless you count seventh grade, when I was insane/ignorant, and thought SEVEN was the perfect number), I convinced my dearly beloved (who didn't really want any) to have four (by refusing to marry him until he swore a blood oath that I could have my way), and I had/have four - INCLUDING a girl child.

I am completely content.

Not only am I completely content with my four lovely children, but there is also zero chance I would actually want to do the whole pregnancy/newborn/car seat/potty-training business again. I've done my time - four is enough. Besides, my husband would probably leave me, never to be seen again, if I said I wanted another child.

But lately I've been thinking. I'm all done having kids, so what does that really mean? Having kids was something I did when I was first married - aka when I was young. So, does that mean that if I'm done having kids I'm not young anymore? And if so, does that mean if I'd just keep having them I'd still feel young?

The answer to this last is obviously a resounding NO!!! but I can't help it. It still makes me feel old to be past that phase of my life. Even though every mother knows that having more than four children is actually bound to age you - both mentally AND physically - part of me insists that it isn't so.

Then today, I was watching home movies from when I only had two adorable babies, and I noticed several things. First, my house was so clean! And life was so much easier! And they were so cute! And I was so YOUNG! (Okay, I really don't look much different - yet...)

And I realized it's not that I want to have more children - I just want to go back and have my own kids all over again. Minus all sickness, fighting, crying at night, potty-training, car seats, and everything about pregnancy except delivery (which was my favorite part - I know, I'm crazy).

So getting back to the pregnancy = youth idea. Do you think this could explain why some women have tons of children? I know women who have five-plus because they just love having babies, and I know some who feel inspired to add to their family, and I know some who weren't necessarily "planning", but could there be women out there who are actually chasing eternal youth? Through childbearing??? Like, "I must be young if I can still reproduce?"

Or am I alone on this one? Has anyone else ever thought of having babies as meaning you're young, or is my mind just strangely twisted? (Because seriously - there's nothing like actually being pregnant for demonstrating the aches, pains, and forgetfulness of old age. In theory, this theory should never work). (But still - ya think?)

21 comments:

McFarland Family said...

I have to pull out the old movies too, I knew I had a clean house that stayed that way for more than 30 sec. I think my kids make me feel older, so maybe you're on to something. I did use the phrase the other day "I wish they'd had those back when I had kids"!! Makes me feel SO old. Young or not- I am not adding to this chaos!

Machen family said...

I told myself that I wouldn't have any children past the age of 30, and if I did have any more children I know that my husband would leave me, because he too didn't want any. My husband went for the snippy snip, so to me, it's not like I can't have anymore children, it's just that he can't reproduce anymore. So if I wanted, I could, but I choose not to. (and you being 5 months older than me, yeah I can place you in the OLD lady catagory, I wouldn't even bat an eye.)

Alison Wonderland said...

When I had my tird I remember thinking maybe I was done but I also remember thinking that I was too young to be done. Now I have four and I'm done. But I still like to think that I'm too young to be done.

Kelly said...

I don't know if having kids at an older age (yes I am trying for my last baby at the ancient age of 32!) makes you feel younger, but the thought of having them at an older age just reminds me of how old I'll actually BE when they leave the nest. Yikes!

But, maybe you are onto something there. I think of the people who are my age and their kids are like hitting 10, 11, 12...hmmm, they do seem older. (Not you Jen! I am thinking of several people in my ward).

Good question, I could go around on this one for awhile so I'd better get off this merry-go-round for now. Call me, we'll hash it out.

Kelly said...

Oh, just realized though, that those people will seem like the YOUNG parents when they are like 40 and their kids are graduating, as opposed to me who will be like 50~! See, it depends on what end of the kid's life you are looking at.

Barbaloot said...

I'm by no means an expert on this. But I can tell you, that I have several sisters-in-law (and by that I mean eight) that are "done" and I don't consider any of them old. I'd say you're still good for now:)

Natalie said...

Deep. Very deep & profound.

I've thought about this A LOT too. Since I'm one of the women who would love to just keep popping babies out if I could, I can attest that there COULD possibly be some sort of youth chasing going on subconciously. The wierd thing is that I'm not particularly disturbed about getting old / being old but sometimes when I see certain baby / toddler related things I get a flashback to that "young mother feeling" and I miss it. I love my kids now, of course, but I'm not so much an older kid person. I hate feeling disconnected from my kids' baby years, like they're just some distant memory and the "best years of my life" are therefore gone. Which, of course, is bogus. It's ridiculous to say that whole pregnancy/newborn/car seat/potty-training (you forgot sleepless) stage was the "best" part of my life. That's the vibe I get though. That all those young, cute little families have some sort of magic that I'm missing out on now that my kids AND myself have gotten older. Although, I think a lot of my problem is just that I can have so much fun entertaining little kids that it serves as a distraction to me and so when my kids were little (and I was less mature too) I was too busy playing patty cake and peek-a-boo to notice things that bother me now. My kids are all old enough to run off and do their own thing now, leaving me time to sit and think about how something is missing. So, do I really want a baby or do I just need more hobbies?

Natalie said...

Oh my goodness! That was LONG! Sorry, you can tell I like this subject! ;-)

My Diary said...

People think I am in my early twenties because I have very young children, but I am in my late 30s. So I think that may be another piece of the youthfulness of pregnancy.

jane said...

so funny you wrote this, I've seriously been thinking about this lately! the "having kids" phase is over for us too, but I still think I'm the same age as all those twenty-somethings having kids... geesh, where did the time go?!? I think having one more would make me feel young, but I'll have to find other ways to find that feeling...

evitafjord said...

I don't know if other women keep having them to feel young. Mine have been making me feel old for at least the last 2, so I'm definitely sure that another one won't make me feel any younger. I made the same "done by 30" pact with myself at the start (so that I could be done by 50 on the other end) and almost made it. Had #4 by then, said we were done, but then had an inspiration baby, now done, done, done (or, as above, at least he's done hahaha). YAY!!

One more YAY!!!

Delivery is my favorite part too.

evitafjord said...

My mom keeps telling me that there will be a choir teacher position open at EHS next year. She just wants her grandkids near, but my hub's degree/certificate is theatre. I think she forgets because she has heard him sing more than act, plus she selectively remembers sometimes.

Kristin said...

I must say absolutely not. It is only since having children I have become old. I never had aches, pains in random places, gray hair, went to bed at 10 or even 11, fell asleep during a movie, thought it was too cold to play outside, had to say no to a bronwnie, gained weight by looking at french fries, etc... until I had children. I didn't have children until 30 and I still got carded until then, so phewy on pregnancy!!!

Jen said...

You guys aren't being very difinitive here - I was hoping for some kind of concensus, but this is all over the place!

(Love the input, however, so KEEP IT COMING!)

honeypiehorse said...

I know what you mean about looking back at those old home movies... I miss being younger but don't associate that with my kids or my fertility. I do however sometimes miss my kids being so tiny and fragrant and stationary.

Melissa Bastow said...

I think pregnancy makes you feel younger. Well, actually no. Moving around like a cross-breed of an old lady and a gosling doesn't make one feel terribly young, but I think babies and pregnancy just make you APPEAR younger. Which is also one of the reasons that I don't feel like I'm old enough to be done either.

So now my goal is to be the "cool mom" who lets her kids form bands in their living room and invite half of the school's population for projected movies on the house. Except that both of those things give me a headache just thinking about them, so it's a good thing my kids are still young enough to think I'm cool only because I bought colored marshmallows.

Claire said...

I'm still at the stage of having young kids and a baby. So, I'm not feeling so sentimental about it all. I'd love to think that I'm young... I'm not - I'm 32. I'd love to think that my hosue was tidy - it's not. I'm lazy. And when I look back on videos of my two older kids, i want to cry, cos all those stages of potty training, behavioural training etc are still to happen with my baby. And no doubt there will be another one come along to foil any plans i may have of putting my feet up and enjoying myself. hahaha

lifeinthehighlands.com said...

I think people do judge your age by what child bearing/rearing phase you are in. And maybe some people do have another baby just to chase eternal youth.

Personally, I love being past the baby stage. I love having older kids and teenagers. (I know. Teenagers are supposed to be terrible. But I like them. They're a lot of fun.)

Now, if I could just convince them to never leave home, I'd be okay...

Anjeny said...

Ok Jen, I kinda want to take a crack at this. Not an expert by the way.

You brought up a very interesting question. I think there are actually women who are having more babies to feel like they were young again. Although, having babies to feel young again is not the best way to go. Pregnancy, labor and delivery is different with a younger woman than it is with a older woman.

I had my first baby just before my 20th bday and I went the whole nine yards without any pain medicine whatsoever. I can honestly I did not remember all the labor pains. When I had my last one, I was past 30 already. I knew the minute I stepped into the hospital room that I couldn't handle the pain whatsoever so therefore the first chance I got, I went for epidoral.

I am one of those woman who had more than five, seven to be exact, six naturally and one adopted. Did I do that to chase after foundain of youth, so to speak? The answer is a definite NO! I've always wanted to have six children so I am happy with the number I have.

I am actually looking forward to my kids getting older and moving out. I started having them young so that I will not be an old old lady by the time they leave the nest...when they move out, I will still be young enough to do all those things I put off doing so I can have my family first.

I wouldn't have waited to have the number of kids I have if I have to go back and do it all over again.

Rachel said...

TOTALLY!!! I agree 100%, I love my babies so much and would love to have them all over again! It's so sad when they get big so fast!

Denys said...

Nope! Not for me! Since I am a year older than you! and am just having #3, I am keenly aware of how old I am and the havoc that my body will undergo! I have this theory that no matter what your "real" age, it's your kids age that determine your age, or at least your friends. Have you noticed it's sooo much easier to make new friends with women whose kids are your kids' age? You have so much in common!