by Josanne Kane
Thirty years ago I gave birth to my first child. Then two years later I gave birth to my second. My family was complete. Mother, father and two children. I was happy!
In 2000 we divorced. We married when I was 18, and, If I’m honest, I think it was me who changed. I wanted more… and more is what I got!
I married my second husband in 2007. I was working, settled and happy.
Three years later at the age of 46 I found that I was pregnant again!
To say we were shocked is an understatement. My mother had died around the same time, which left me with emotions that were raging and painful. I couldn’t think straight. What were we to do?
It tested our relationship.
Eventually, almost reluctantly, we reached the decision to go ahead with the pregnancy.
Twenty-five years since my last child was born, and at the age of 47, I gave birth to another child.
So, what’s changed in three decades of parenting?
Then, I was 19 and expecting my first baby. Today, I am about to celebrate my 50th birthday around the same time my daughter turns three.
Thirty years ago I washed squares of toweling nappies and hung them over the washing line, come rain, hail, or shine! The disposable type, I had not seen the like of back then, although I’m sure they were available. Third time around, I considered buying toweling ones, but opted for the less environmentally friendly version. In short, it was convenient.
I remember I had the medical profession and Dr. Spock’s parenting book to get me through my pregnancy and childcare. Today I have the medical profession and the internet at my fingertips. Who needs professionals when you can Google?
First time around I lay on a hospital bed, afraid of the nursing staff, waiting for my son to be born. I did as I was told. I did not know his sex, as this service was not offered. Today, nursing staff is different – friendly, open, helpful and not overbearing. You know exactly what is going on and nothing is too much trouble. I knew the sex of my baby before she was born. I was given the right to have a birth plan, I felt in control.
With my first baby I was bullied in to breastfeeding by a tyrant midwife. I cried from the pain in my breasts. I fell into a miserable state, but still, she watched over me and forced me to try to breast feed. I never breastfed my second or third baby, as the memory was still raw. Today, you are encouraged to breastfeed. There are posters on the maternity unit promoting the benefits for baby and mother. It is your decision to make. I was never made to feel guilty for my choices third time around.
My support back then consisted of my mother, mother in law, family and friends. Today, I have no mother or mother in law, but I do have supportive family and friends. With the advent of social media, blogging and parenting forums, it gives you access to support that was not available thirty years ago. It is a very powerful medium, one which would have helped me through difficult times in the past.
I remember buying insipid baby food, and opting to make my own delicious recipes. Today you can buy gourmet style food for your baby. When I was weaning my third child, I again, chose to make my own. I suppose old habits die hard.
Third time around a lot has changed but being a mother has not.
Josanne is a mother of a 29 and 27-year-old – and an almost 3-year-old! She writes about parenting again in her late 40s to catalogue some of the wonderfully funny, (sometimes not) things her daughter says and does on her blog.