“Can I raise my child well? Can I face all the changes and challenges of motherhood?”
These were some of the questions that might have indirectly influenced my decision to delay my parenting journey. Being responsible for another one’s life sounded so tough and challenging for me. Raising a child was definitely not on our to-do list during our early years as a couple.
I even remembered my standard answer when friends would ask me if I was already pregnant. I would always say, “Not yet. Darating tayo d’yan.”
I couldn’t determine what led me to have a sudden change of heart. Was I just being pressured because almost all my friends were dealing with preschool woes while I was still stuck with the same old issues? Or maybe I was also afraid of that biological clock quickly ticking away leaving me childless for the rest of my life?
I thought about these questions intently until I realized that it was my dearest husband and love of my life that gave me that positive longing to finally wish to be a mother.
He didn’t erase all my fears and questions but he made me feel that I am not alone in facing this great responsibility. This was enough for me to face parenthood with an open heart and mind. We will raise a happy child together.
When is the “perfect time”?
Just when we thought it was the perfect time for us to have a child, we had to struggle with APAS (Antiphospholipid Antibodies Syndrome), an autoimmune condition where my antibodies reject the life forming inside me. Life really has a unique way of showing our weaknesses and strengths at the same time.
It was one of the lowest points in our lives but also the best time for us to show our strength and courage as a couple. Experiencing two miscarriages was devastating yet these trying moments gave us a certain hope that one day we will finally have our precious baby in our arms.
The perfect time came a few months before I turned 35. We held our precious son in May 2011.
Mathematics of Late Parenthood
Let’s do some math. How old will my child be when I turn 50? He will be 15 and hopefully he will still find his mom “cool” enough to listen as he shares his first crushes and teenage problems with me.
Calculating our age gap may have been one of the “side effects” of late parenthood on me. I have to face the reality that having children later in life also means lesser years together. So, instead of being afraid of this undeniable truth, I have to face this with a hopeful and happy heart.
A few days after my 38th birthday last September, I formulated my 3 #MakeEveryDayCount goals that I hope can stop me from adding and finding our age difference but make me multiply our happy times together as a family.
1. Strive to be healthy all the time.
My son will always be my inspiration as I strive to be healthy. I need to be more focused and serious about having a healthy lifestyle (eating the right food and doing regular exercises). Every can of soda or bar of chocolate that I take increases my chances of getting diabetes early and therefore, cutting off healthy years I can spend with my son and family.
2. Share your life story to your child.
I plan to share my life passions, advocacies, my closest friends and their children to my child as early as possible. I want him to remember me not only from what we did together but also from what stories I shared with him.
I am amazed at how my siblings can still vividly recall all the stories my father told them. I learned a lot about my Tatay’s past jobs, friends and even his principles in life from their stories. I always thank them for making our Tatay’s memories and presence alive in our family.
Hopefully, this goal will also inspire me to make my life more meaningful and create more happy memories with my son.
3. Build a library for your child.
This goal does not only mean collecting books for our children. Building a library also means sharing more stories together and passing on life’s lessons to your children.
We live a simple life. Our love for life, others and learning are the only treasures we can give to our son. We hope that he will keep all our memories in his heart and mind. When the time comes for him to have his own children, he will share to them how we enjoyed reading and made every night memorable with our bedtime stories.