Passing the Reproductive Torch

Toni Hurst Health Guide
  • Over the weekend I became a grandmother. I don't like the concept much, or the word "grandmother" at all. Where I come from, grandmothers have blue-gray hair and always disapprove of what you're doing. They're old and infirm. They aren't active and young (!) like ME. In fact, when I found out I was a grandmother, I was on a rock-climbing trip. Grandmothers aren't rock climbers.


    Don't get me wrong; I instantly fell in love with my granddaughter. She is pink and perfect. 


    But I found myself a tad jealous of my absolutely marvelous daughter-in-law: She's on a journey of wonder, happiness, joy, pride and love, and a big chunk of me wants to be on that adventure again, too. I'm not ready to pass the generational torch, to leave the child-bearing to my children.

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    Alas, I guess my body is ready, having told me some years ago that I will be bearing no more children. I'm sure it the human's race's wise survival mechanism that sends women in their 50s (sometimes earlier) off to a role other than child-bearing. Perhaps our bodies could no longer handle it. But with us living so much longer now, to relegate us at this point in our lives to a secondary role seems premature.  It seems, frankly, like a waste of our skills, wisdom, and practice.


    Sure, I'll be a part of my granddaughter's life. I know many grandparents raise or care for their grandchildren, and I admire them for it, and am a little envious. But my children live far away. I may see this baby girl a few times a year.  I'll welcome her into my life at any point, love her and teach her to bake, to hike, to kayak, to climb rocks, to ride a horse-anything her parents will let me. But it won't be the same.


    I had time to prepare for this event-and I thought I had. I expected to instantly love her, and I do. I didn't expect to be sad at the fact that my genes are now, in a way, useless. I passed them on already. Now I have nothing to give but grandmotherly love. It seems inadequate.


    I'd like to know if other first-time grandmas felt this way. And if they didn't like the term grandmother or grandma, what's a better alternative? I kinda like "nana." Tell me what you think, and help me through this emotional roller-coaster.

Published On: June 07, 2009