Contact Us

Grandma in the Park

Grandma in the Park

Having a Baby in My Forties

 Email

"You're going to be the grandma in the park," a distant aunt said when she heard I was pregnant again. "Oh, was it an accident?" a neighbor questioned, looking at the ground sadly. They didn't know. They didn't know about the three back-to-back miscarriages, about the rows and rows of fertility medications, about ultrasounds that weren't until the one that was, at six weeks, eight weeks. Still was at three months. They didn't know I found out I was expecting two days before Yom Kippur and for the first time, it was an easy fast. It flew by; in my mind there was a direct correlation between a good fast and a successful pregnancy.

I saw my mom's hand all aroundThey didn't know that if it turned out to be a girl, I would name her after my mom who passed away only two years ago, the pain still so raw and strong. When my mom died, I looked for signs everywhere that she was alright, still thought of me, wasn't mad at something that was or was not done before she passed on.

Then, a pregnancy, and I saw my mom's hand all around. A pink balloon suddenly flew into the car and I knew not only the gender, but that it was somehow a sign; pink was my mom's favorite color. The purse that she had left at my house and I could not find appeared out of nowhere, and I thought, she's watching over me. Over the baby. It would be okay.

That it'll be okay is what the doctors hoped, but not what they said. They told me that with a pregnancy at my age, much could go wrong. They told me that I could hemorrhage, this being the sixth C-section. I could die. They spotted something during the ultrasound and they did another amnio; something could be wrong with the baby's heart. But the night before, I had a dream about my mom, the first ever. She was laughing, a spring-is-here, beautiful laugh and I told the doctors that it's going to be fine. My mother was protecting the granddaughter she would never meet.

The author's baby, Sasha
The author's baby, Sasha
In a family of brown hair and eyes, three weeks early, my red-headed, blue-eyed baby girl is born, without complications. She weighs less than the pediatrician would like, and I'm told to hold her skin to skin to get her temperature up. She's cold, but otherwise healthy. By her two week check-up, the daughter named after my mom no longer fits into newborn sized diapers. She does not have my mother's lips and eyes as I had expected, but when I see her long, delicate fingers, they are my mother's hands. When she was young and happy, before the arthritis debilitated her. She had always wanted to be a ballerina. My daughter has slender, dancer's feet.

The most demanding boss I'll ever have melts my heartThis baby bridges the gap between what was, and what can still be. She is learning to laugh. With each smile, the sleepless nights, and the never-ending walking back and forth to calm a cranky child, disappears. The most demanding boss I'll ever have melts my heart. Nothing gets done, trips get scheduled and rescheduled, play dates almost happen and guilt becomes a reality. Then everyone watches her sleep. For a few minutes, it all makes sense, all is right.

"You are definitely going to be the grandma in the playground," the aunt says again, and I can't help but giggle. I hope so. I worked hard for it.

Orly Fuerst was born in Israel and raised in the US. She has a Master's in Education, and spends most of her day chasing her six kids and wishing she had more time to write, while dreading the day when she will no longer be needed to chase her kids.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
34 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Anonymous denmark January 18, 2016

Blessings to you all moms and aspiring moms. Such inspiring stories. May all those children grow to be blessed by the LORD and a blessing to their world. Reply

Anonymous Alcalde, NM September 4, 2013

Grandma - Mama In the Park I love your story. I had my beautiful blessing "Eliana, which means my G-d has answered" at age 40. She has totally transformed me and given me new life. She is now 5 years old . I also have two grandchildren, who are like a brother and sister to her. My grandchildren are 4, and 6 years old. When I take them to the park, people look on in amazement. I've never been asked if I'm their grandmother, but everyone things they are siblings and all belong to me. Of course, I go along with them and we have a great laugh. Loving life and the beauty G-d has blessed me with. Reply

Esther Spring Hill, FL November 20, 2012

Desiring a girl Hello, your story blessed me and gave me hope. I'm 47 years old and I have an 11 year old son that we adopted. He's been praying and asking for a baby sister. I'm joining him in prayer because I do want to get pregnant. I believe I will have a healthy baby girl with no high risk not health issues. I have faith it's going to happen soon. Reply

Bracha Baltimore, MD August 8, 2012

Dreaming to be in the park Thank you for this story and thanks to the reading community for all of the comments about being 40+ with babies! I'm 40 and we have just started actively addressing infertility after 3 years of marriage. I very, very much want to be a mother. I won't feel like a full woman until I've been able to have a child (children??!!) to take to the park. The story and comments are inspiring. Thank you for sharing your experience in a venue where others could add their stories as well. Reply

Bina Brooklyn, NY August 8, 2012

Grandma in the Park Blessings to you and your family.....great touching story...lost my mom two years ago and cn relate to looking for signs of her still...hope your Sasha is doing great..good luck Reply

Sara Bedein Efrat, Israel August 8, 2012

Keeps you young! I gave birth to our 6th child, a girl, the week I turned 43. Also a beatiful red-head with blue eyes. There's a 17 year difference between our oldest and youngest.
I was definitely the "grandma in the park" and the "grandma at the teacher-parents conferences" where the other parents were in their late 20's early 30's. My daughter would often point out that I was the oldest Ima amongst her friends' mothers and I would always answer how many of your friends have siblings in their 20's?
Now that our youngest is almost 13 she sees things differently. She loves going on her own to her married siblings houses, adoring the role of "doda", she gets guidance not only from her parents but also from her much older siblings whom she often turns to for advice and for us - having such a young daughter when most of our peers are for the most part grandparents(we are 55 and 61) has kept us young and hopping. Reply

bghost norwich, uk August 7, 2012

Beautiful! I'm so, so happy for you. Reply

Kathy Lipkin Akron, OH August 5, 2012

Akron connection - Older moms! Hi Orly!

I loved this article the first time and also the second. My later life miracles are growing, growing - Benny will have his bar mitzvah later this summer!

Hope you are well in Houston! Akron isn't the same without you! Kathy Reply

Anonymous The Hague, The Netherlands July 2, 2012

grandma in the park what a beautiful and inspiring story! i am 43 and just a few weeks ago found out am expecting our 5th child, G-d Willing. our youngest now is 5 1/2.
i am freaking out and am very grateful and humble all at the same time.
i would really love to be in contact with other 40+ expecting mothers, but have no one around.
i do hope you and yours are happy and healthyG-d Willing!
and thank you very much for sharing!! Reply

linda Yorkshire, UK February 8, 2012

grandma in the park what a beautiful story. How is Sasha Now? I would love to have an update. Reply

Drew Forks, WA October 7, 2011

Grandma in the Park So inspirational! I love rain in Forks Washington! Reply

Maryim Alex, Va February 1, 2011

praying for a miracle I have four from a previous marriage and after 16 years, HaShem has brought me a wonderful husband. I am 47 yrs, and we are praying for a baby. My husband has never been married before and never had children. We were pregnant once, over a year ago but loss him. My age shouldn't matter to anyone, I know it doesn't to HaShem. He is the author and giver of LIFE! Blessed are we amoung women who continue to have life grow within us. Reply

Ilan Braun SARZEAU, France July 30, 2009

Grandma in the Park Just a beautiful story and a ness (miracle)! Reply

rachel mk, ca July 20, 2009

I have a miracle little girl too! Five days after my 8th and first successful IVF, my dear mother who was my best friend, passed away. Three weeks later I lost the baby. Why? Why would G-d do this to me? Four months later, I tried one more time. This time I will put it in G-d's hands. It will be my last attempt with IVF and I will accept what G-d brings my way. Nine month's later my beautiful daughter was born. Perfect in every way! We named her after my Mom, of course! Though she never met my Mom, she knows all about her and dreams of her often. She has used her expressons and we can't figure out how she would know them. She talks to her and feels her presence. I had just turned 40 when she was born. My Mom is still with us and always will be! Reply

dave oak Park, 48237 May 25, 2009

Grandma in the Park i don't get it- you have 6, what's the deal with fertility treatments- was the story about the first ? if not - well, what was going on?

dave, father of 5 whose wife carried 8 times Reply

Elisheva April 22, 2009

My husband and I just found out that we are expecting our 6th baby! I will be 40 when this baby is born...Blessings, Reply

Batsheva Winnig NY, NY September 17, 2008

The Blessing of an Experienced Mom My third came at 40 a good 6 years after the others. She's had the blessing of a mom who's been trough the ropes and isn't uptight about everything like I was with the first two. She's the most well adjusted and the most mature.But I am still a little jealous of my friends my age who are becoming grandmas! Reply

Stephen September 17, 2008

Grandma in the Park A beautifully written story by a very talented and beautiful woman.

Thank you -
"Grandpa in the Park" Reply

Anonymous September 16, 2008

Grandma in the park Think about if we all who have commented could sit together for a while with a cup of tea or coffee. My best wishes to all of you
Reply

Fayge September 16, 2008

Thank You! What a moving and beautiful article! I read it through tears! May you have much nachas (joy) from your daughter Sasha as well as from all of the others. I too had 6 c-sections, so I feel for you! I will tell you though, that it is an odd position to be the "grandmother in the park". I am the only mother in my young son's class who is a grandomther as well, and I do feel the age difference acutely. It is all good, but there are distinct challenges that we older Mom's face. I will say that despite it all, at this point I still yearn for another!!!! Mazal Tov and Hatzlacha (good luck!)!!! Reply

Related Topics