Join Motherhood Later... Than Sooner Older Moms Group

  Did you become a midlife mom at 35+ whether for the first time or again?  Join an in-person chapter, or help launch one in your town. Membership is free. Connect with later moms online on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @rgnewman.  Dads are welcome to join us as well!  We have many 40+ mothers  and 50+ mothers and fathers in our ...

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Testimonial - Lani Neumann, Member of NY Chapter

A quick reflection on my childhood and one can see no obvious signs to suggest my path to motherhood would be anything but typical. My favorite childhood photos are of me walking in our driveway, on my tippy toes, pushing a baby stroller like a natural. I couldn't have imagined that I'd be 43 the first time I pushed a stroller ...

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Write For Us

Want to Blog for Us? Have you always wanted to blog and didn’t know how to get started?  Are you an experienced mommy blogger who would like to share with our midlife parent community?  Are you a parenting expert?  Author?  Someone with wisdom to share of interest to moms over 35?  Do you have a compelling story or point of view ...

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Meet Motherhood Later Chapter Head Chris Thompson In Los Angeles

Many are surprised to learn that our first child was conceived through IVF after 25 years of marriage. While some perceive it as late, Sarah is our miracle girl and the sunshine of our lives.  We also have two identical twin boys, Ryland and Dylan, born December 22, 2009.  My husband and I always wanted three children, and while it ...

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Later Mom Features


Meet Later Mom Angel Underhill


AGE: 46
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married
RESIDENCE: Chicago
CHILDREN’S NAMES/AGES:Hazel/3

I have been singing most of my life. My undergraduate degree is a BFA in musical theatre. After graduating I moved to Chicago to pursue a performance career in the Chicagoland theatre scene.  I was cast in productions such as West Side Story at Drury Lane Theatre and Play On! at The Goodman. For the last 10 years, I have sung and continue to sing with a professional 24 voice vocal ensemble called The Lakeside Singers. We perform a wide range of musical genres including musical theatre, classical, r&b, pop, country, gospel and more. I also have an M.A. in English Literature from De Paul University. I freelance as a writer and have been published on Popsugar and HuffPost and was recently featured in Voyage Chicago, an online magazine that highlights local artists and small businesses.  www.angelunderhill.com

 What was your road to parenthood like?  I spent most of my 20’s assuming I’d be married with children by the time I got to my 30’s, then spent most of my 30’s worrying that neither would ever happen. By the time I met my husband I was 38, newly accepted into a graduate program and very excited about both of these new adventures. Two years later I graduated from my M.A. program and two months after that, walked down the aisle at 40. I was more certain than ever about wanting to write. Suddenly I had the guy and creative direction I’d been lacking but was unsure about children. Then, two years into our marriage, I realized my ovaries wouldn’t wait forever. The thought of not being a mom felt devastating. It took my husband a bit longer to process, but once we were on the same page about all of it, we started trying. Several Clear Blue Easy boxes later I still wasn’t pregnant. Then I started having issues with my cycle. We saw a fertility specialist, had all the tests run and were told that because of age related infertility, we had a 2-3% chance of conceiving naturally. For some reason I would not accept that my body could no longer do this on its own. I began researching different supplements and diet choices that would help improve egg quality. And I began reading about Chinese Medicine. Inspire by all the success stories, I found a great clinic and practitioner whom I saw every week for 3 months. At the end of 3 months I was preggers.     

How does being a mom influence your work?  I’m not sure exactly. I suppose its given me more courage in some ways to say what I have to say, stand in the truth of who I am a little more bravely than I did before. It’s what I try to teach my daughter. I definitely view many things through the additional lens of motherhood. And I suppose this is also true when it comes to my long time interest in writing about race and religion. For example, I wrote a piece awhile ago about racial identity and what that might mean for myself going forward as well as my daughter who is much lighter skinned than I am. I’ve also written about the dilemma of facing racism in my neighborhood and how I might address those encounters with my daughter as the need arises. 

What inspired you to launch your blog?  After Hazel was born I experienced postpartum depression and really struggled with my new identity as a mom. I’d also gotten into a slump with my writing. So I decided that creating a blog would be the perfect project to help me chronicle the early days of our journey together, get me writing more regularly, and process the transition I was in the midst of. I also wanted the freedom to write about other things that interested me–not just being a mom. I think that was important to me because part of what I was struggling with was the all consuming nature of mothering. I needed to continue nurturing these other parts of who I am.

 What do you hope readers will take away from your writing?  I hope that the moms who read what I’ve written about motherhood will feel a little less alone in their own journeys. I try to be honest about what its been like for me personally, which is something I always really appreciate in others. It can be an isolating experience, but so many of us are finding the same things about it difficult. It’s always validating and reassuring to hear other women say “Yep, me too!” And as far as my writing on topics other than motherhood are concerned, I hope readers learn something new, feel persuaded to consider a different point of view, or feel a sense of solidarity around their experiences with issues like race and religion. 

What advice would you offer to multi-tasking overwhelmed moms?  Breathe in. Breathe out. Slow down. Sometimes I wonder if maybe multi-tasking isn’t such a good idea. I mean of course we just have to on occasion, but perhaps it would be better for our hearts and minds if we separated things out a bit, did some of what we have to, one thing at a time. Where I am able to do this, I try to. Well…if I remember to! It helps me to be more mindful, more present in the moment. I think that’s always a good thing!

 Do you think it’s tough for women to balance parenting, a personal life and professional pursuits?  I believe so. It certainly has been for me. But like I previously stated, I am better when I slow down and breathe. And personally I have had to adjust my expectations, allowing certain facets of my life to move to the forefront and others to the background, knowing that this will shift and change as Hazel grows.  

What do you see as the positives and challenges of having a child at age 35 or over?  Hopefully you have more wisdom and perspective. I know a lot of people say one of the benefits is that for older moms, their careers are typically already in full swing, but I am kind of a late bloomer in that regard as well. You are definitely more cognizant of time and I think that makes you more strategic and mindful about how you spend it. Also, this awareness can help you really savor the journey. But, time can also be a stinker. It has made you older, and its that much harder to run after a toddler when you’re older!  

Has anything about being a mother surprised you?  If so, what?   What do you love the most about it, and what is the most challenging?  I nannied for a number of years and fancied myself pretty patient, funny, creative, in touch with my imagination. But as a mom, I find it much harder to stay engaged–to play–than I expected. The days can be monotonous. Boring, even. For these reasons and more, being home with her has been much more challenging than I anticipated. I think the loss of personal time and space takes a toll at times; it is more valuable to me than I realized. But, I love that I have been here to witness all of her discovery and exploration of the world around her. She is a funny kid, imaginative, empathetic, sweet, smart and just all around “spicy” as one of my friends likes to say. It makes her so interesting and fun to be around.

What do you most want to teach your daughter?  What have you learned from her thus far?  I want her to know that who she is, is enough. She is beautiful–inside and out–strong and “worthy of love and belonging,” to quote Brene Brown. I want to teach her what it is to be kind and to value people for the precious beings that they are. I have learned from her how powerful words can be–especially when I hear my own coming back to me. But probably the most impactful thing I’ve learned from her is how powerful empathy can be in its ability to transform a moment. Leaning into love in those moments when she is testing boundaries, screaming defiantly at me in that “charming toddler way” of hers–when I am about ready to “lose my mind”–if I can just sit with her and embrace her–literally give her a hug and tell her that I love her–most of the time, all of it falls away; she just “melts.” Tantrum over. We all need to feel seen and validated, even the littlest of us. 

Do you have any particular memories from your own childhood that inspired you to make memories with your daughter?  I was always a reader. I got so much joy from books. I love sharing that with her. And since she truly enjoys it too, I never refuse when she wants to have story time. I have collected many of the books I loved as a kid and added them to her library. I really look forward to reading more of them with her as she grows. We have a little ritual every night that has sprung up out of this mutual love for stories. We call them “Once Upon a Times” and either her dad or I will make up short stories about something that happened during the day, or involving certain characters she likes, or whatever. Its a lot of fun to see which kind of plots she likes and doesn’t like. And she is not shy about telling us!

Do you think about aging, and do you have any advice to share re: practicing good self care?  I do. Obviously because the hubs and I are older parents we worry about sticking around a long time for Hazel. I think because of that concern I feel a much more intense commitment to eating well, exercising, getting good sleep and staying on top of my health in general. The more emotional/psychological/spiritual side of self-care comes in a variety of forms. Although playdates and mommy and me outings have provided much needed camaraderie in these first few years at home with my girly, I also make time for girlfriend get togethers, without kids.  And sometimes for me, self care looks like less activity, or just sticking close to home, or spending time on my own–even if all it is, is wandering aimlessly through a beautiful Wholefoods grocery store while drinking a glass of wine!  

What words of wisdom would you like to share for someone contemplating motherhood over age 35?  I would say as far as potential age related fertility issues are concerned, never count yourself “out of the game” until you’ve explored lots of alternatives. No one solution works 100% of the time for everyone, so its worth it in my opinion, to stay open to a lot of options.  

On a more general note of observation, I would also encourage you to take stock of what you truly want your life to be, how you want it to flow, what you want it to be made up of experientially. There will be people who tell you its too late. There will be people who tell you raising an only child is not right and that you should have another. There will be people who tell you that you should stay home with your kids. There will be people who tell you you should go back to work. And on and on and on it goes. Do what’s right for you and your family. 

 

 




TRAVEL MADE SIMPLE. Calling All Travel Lovers! Do you find it hard to come up with cool things to do with your kids on family vacation?


sanfranfiretrucktourThat’s where I come in.  I love to travel, and have planned many a trip, near and far, with my son, now age 12.  It’s not always easy finding activities that a boy, particularly, finds cool….but one of my strengths is coming up with off the beaten track things that both parents and kids can enjoy.  I’m not suggesting you visit a wild ‘n crazy place, unless you want to. But, aside from the must-see attractions, there are things to do that you might not know of.

I’m now offering a vacation planning service for busy moms and their family to help create an itinerary for your next vacation that generates special memories for years to come.  I do the homework, so to speak, and you have an awesome vacation!

Email robin@motherhoodlater.com.

(Photo: My son and I took a fire engine tour over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  It was really special!)

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