Dealing With Negativity From Other People

©Jan Andersen 2002

"Other people's opinions do not have to become your reality."

If a woman over forties chooses to have a baby, it can invite unsolicited and unwelcome remarks and advice from other people.  However, your condition should be of no concern to other people, since you are the one whose life it will affect, not theirs.  You are the one carrying the baby, the one who will experience the joys of birth and the one who will be doing the nurturing when the baby is born.  Other people's negativity has no place in your life and many of these insensitive comments can be based on jealousy and the secret desire that some of these people harbour to have another baby themselves, but who for many reasons or circumstances are not able to.

Some friends or relatives may genuinely be concerned about the risks involved, largely because of the negative statistics that abound about being an older mother.  Unfortunately, there seems to be much less focus on the benefits and positive statistics of midlife parenting, when in my opinion the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages and a healthy woman in her forties has more chance of having a successful pregnancy than an unhealthy woman in her twenties.

Nevertheless, a pregnant woman at whatever age, will attract tactless and sometimes hurtful comments, but there are ways of handling this and still maintaining your decorum. Following are some biting comebacks for comments that you may receive during the course of your pregnancy, although you can adapt the responses according to the circumstances of the person to whom you are replying.

Why would you want another baby at your age?

For the same reasons that someone would want a baby at any age.

can't believe you're pregnant!

Would you like to see the pregnancy test?  I kept it as proof.

can't believe you're pregnant - and at your age!

can't believe you're so rude / insolent etc. etc.  (Choose your own insult here).

Was it a mistake?

#1  No.  Why, were you?
#2  When you enjoy sex as often as we do, you're bound to have a slip up some time aren't you?

Are you going to keep it?

#1  Well, we thought we'd wait and see whether we liked it first when it's born.
#2  We might take it back to the shop if it's not suitable.

You're pregnant!

Thank goodness for that!  I wondered why I was gaining so much weight.

Rather you than me!

#1  And rather me than you!
#2  It is I rather than you isn't it?

Aren't you too old to have another baby?

#1  Evidently not.  Here's the proof (rub your expanding girth).
#2  Aren't you too old to be so tactless / rude?
#3  That's your opinion, not my reality.

You're not having another baby?

Am I not?  Damn!  There must be another reason for this weight gain then.

Are your ankles supposed to look like that?

Is your nose supposed to look like that?

Isn't it hard having a baby at your age?

# 1  Not as hard as it is being middle-aged and childless.
# 2  I always thought it was hard having a baby at any age, all that pushing and panting.

Aren't you worried about the baby having (chromosomal) abnormalities?

So are you saying that a handicapped child is less valid as a person than one without any handicap?

You've put on loads of weight haven't you?

And so have you, but at least I'll lose mine when the baby is born.

You're huge!

#1  Yes, it's called pregnancy.
#2  And you're huge too, but I wasn't going to mention it.
#3  At least it's a baby and not fat.

Haven't you had your baby yet? 

Yes, but I thought I'd stuff her up my jumper because I enjoyed being pregnant so much.

I couldn't cope with all those sleepless nights.

Well, you won't have to will you?

Haven't you had your baby yet? 

#1  Yes, but I thought I'd stuff her up my jumper because I enjoyed being pregnant so much.
#2  Not the last time I checked.

There are, of course, many more questions, comments and remarks and just as many snappy comebacks, which I shall add in due course.  Keeping your cool is important for you and your baby and if you cannot think of any other reply, just remind other people that you are the one who is carrying this very much wanted baby and that you are the one who will be coping with the situation, so they should concern themselves with their own lives and not yours. 

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"An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult." 

-Lord Chesterfield
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