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Geriatric Motherhood

Any pregnant woman aged 35 or over is considered medically “geriatric”. When I first had this term leveled at me, I thought it very funny. After all, if being called geriatric allowed me to pick my preferred doc as my primary OBGYN (he takes the high risk cases), allowed me amniocentesis, and sent me home with a hilarious magazine called “Plum,” who was I to complain? From what I could see, my 36-year-old self was doing just as well as-nay, better than-a huge percentage of pregnant women a decade younger than me.

Post baby, I felt nearly the same. I recovered fine. I handled the sleep deprivation better than most. I didn’t seem to be any slower than the other moms on the playground. Thanks to a liberal dollop of color planted on my head every two months or so, I may even look nearly as young as I feel. Who you calling “geriatric”?

Then something funny happened. One day, without warning or precedent, I found myself a bit queasy after swinging next to Simon at the park. Hm. Must have been a bit dehydrated that day. Then it happened again. Hm. Must have eaten something that didn’t sit right. Then it happened again. Hm. Must be nausea resulting from these stupid allergies that have stuck around for so long. Then it happened again. Hm. Have I started getting motion sick from swinging? That would be new.

Let’s Google it. Oh geez. I now have a “vestibular balance disorder”, something pretty common in older folks, usually appearing in people over 40. In other words, my inner ear ain’t what it used to be and therefore my equilibrium is going downhill.

Well holy —! My mom gets terrible motion sickness and always has. My oldest brother has problems in the back seat of cars and always has. I seemed to have dodged this bullet, and took full advantage of my ability to read on planes, trains, automobiles, and MUNI. It never occurred to me that my status might change with age. Not once.

I really do enjoy swinging, so I’ll miss that during my park visits. But what really gets my goat is that I’m 38 years and 4 months old right now. Did the universe not read the fine print? I’m not due for an age related vestibular balance disorder for 20 more months.

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