Meet Younger/Later Mom Dr. Gloria Pope
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married
RESIDENCE: Mount Vernon, NY
AGES OF YOUR CHILDREN: 16 & 2 years old
I am the founder of Black Girl Everything, LLC, a platform that shines the light of black and brown owned businesses. We provide tools and resources to promote the growth of the black and brown community.
Black Girl Everything, LLC gives scholarships to young women members of the black and brown community who are and wish to become business owners that seek to expand their education after high school.
Due to the pandemic, the organization needed to revamp to match the changes forced upon lives, and I launched and host Black Girl Everything, LLC YouTube Channel and Facebook Live.
What was the inspiration to write your book? And, what is the takeaway you hope to impart to readers? Hero: Memoirs of Infertility was created as a space to share my truth regarding our fertility experience. It started as a journal to note my experience and how I felt throughout the process. After a while, I realized the importance of sharing my perspective as a partner. It was essential to explore the thoughts of someone who was not physically doing IVF.
So often, I realized a lot of marriages and relationships were ending due to fertility concerns. I also realized that individuals going through the process did not take the time to acknowledge their partner, as if they were doing this all alone. I wanted to ensure that individuals had a better understanding of IVF and that they understood how people experience it.
The book details accounts of my IVF journey and those of nine other individuals and how it affected them significantly. Each story explores different perspectives from marriage, divorce, relationships, LGBTQ+ folks, and single women.
What was your road to parenthood like? I have been blessed with four beautiful children. There are so many ways to look at parenthood. In my lifetime I have experienced them all. My oldest was born before I met her mother. As a junior in college, I began to explore the city and met my now ex wife. She came with a one year old who became my first born. I took her into my life as my child and provided everything a mom should. Even as a college student I began to make decisions that included her and her mom.
A few years later, I decided I wanted to have a child. I spoke with a friend of mine who decided to be my sperm donor. I was blessed with quickly conceiving him. I was so happy to have this baby on the way. Feeling him grow inside me was amazing. This pregnancy was perfect, I enjoyed every moment of it. Including the ability to stay at work as an Early Childhood teacher.
A year after my son’s birth, my ex wife decided to have a baby as well, making us a family of five. A few years, later our relationship dissolved, and the children were eventually split.
After the end of this relationship, I was reintroduced to my now wife. We have a love story for the books. She did not have children and took my son as hers immediately. We celebrated our love with a large wedding and quickly got into starting a family. This was a busy time planning a wedding, planning a baby and working on my Masters in Education.
We explored the idea of IVF, which was a hard decision to come by. We went through the process, and we had a loss at 18 weeks five days. After surgery, we were able to get pregnant again, and she brought our daughter into the world a year later. This little girl was the key to the story and she made our family whole.
Has your identity as a woman been impacted by motherhood? I was born to be a mother, as the oldest of 14 siblings. I naturally led and was a caregiver for those around me. As a young person, I felt the pressure of having to take care of them. Not necessarily as their mother but wanting to be their sister. At 18, I left for Temple University to pursue a degree in Education. I was excited for the separation as it gave me space to identify as me.
During these years, I grew as a person and was ready to embrace parenting. So again with my first marriage, I accepted her daughter and began my path as a mother. How you see things and perceive things is entirely different once you bring children into the world. When I was 24 my son was born, I felt full because I could accomplish one of the greatest accomplished miracles in the world.
Later on, I became a mother again at 39 with the birth of our daughter, and as an older mom, I found I could appreciate the entire process differently. The day she was born, I felt I had everything. I also know that I was a stronger woman with my youngest daughter due to my strong marriage.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a mom? Being a mom, the biggest lesson I learned is that your heart is given to someone else. I’ve always been able to fall in love with the concept of love. There is nothing like the connection you feel with loving a child. They have taught me patience, hard work, perseverance, and resilience. I have become my most fabulous self in an effort to be the best I could be for them.
This also included my career. Being a mother motivated me to be my best self. After my divorce, I was lost and under-achieved. Once I was forced to sit and continue to care for my son independently, I was set into overdrive. I began to move forward at an astronomical pace. I would like to note that I also fell in love with someone who held me to my best standard.
I obtained my Masters and my Doctorate Degrees in Educational Leadership.
Do you think it is challenging to balance parenting, personal life and professional pursuits? Any tips to offer? Getting everything done is such a challenge. Finding the balance between being a person, a mother, and a professional can be different for everybody. That challenge is what pushed me to strive for more. While going to school full time, working two full time jobs, and raising my son, I continued to dream. And not just dream in my mind, but in my actions. I focused on each step needed to get where I wanted to be. I did the work to get there.
The tip that I will give to anyone is to value every aspect of your life. And that value starts with you, you can be everything you need to be for yourself and your family. I think that children only want to see you happy. Balances are essential with the understanding they need you, your career requires you, and you need yourself. Acknowledging your dreams and striving for them is okay.
What do you see as the positives and challenges of becoming a mom at age 35 or over? I have the pleasure of understanding the difference between being a young mom and an older mother. When my son was born, he came into the world when I was just 24 years old. My body was in tip-top shape; I could move through my whole pregnancy without issue. He came along, and everything was just fun, engaging, and inviting. Not as much fear existed in my life at that period.
On the other hand, bringing our daughter into this world at 39 years old was different. One of the major things is just the level of fear you have when having an older pregnancy. They have a name for it by calling us geriatric pregnancies after 35, which alone scares you even if you want to go through the process.
As older mothers, the positives are so different. You have grown through so much more life, and I was even more patient and prepared to afford our fertility journey. I have greater maturity and am settled in my life and secure in what I am able to offer my children.
Are you conscious of raising your children to be a Mensch (decent, responsible person)? What do you do to try to instill that? The world needs our youth to step up and be the future we all want. That begins at home; parents are the first teachers for their children. Our children learn from all we tell them and all we model. I model this every day to instill strength, compassion, focus, and determination in my children.
Someone who loves all those around them, values community, and uses all the talents they have. As the owner of Black Girl Everything LLC and CEO of Daisy Dream project, I have plenty of opportunity to show my children compassion for others. With promoting Black women business through Black Girl Everything LLC, they witness events and engage the community.
As the Executive Director of Collin Allen Child Development Center and CEO of Daisy Dream project they experience my desires as an educator. My daughter gets to see her mom everyday work with teachers and her classmates in an honorable way.
My son gets to visit me at Destination Tomorrow, the Bronx LQBTQ+ center, where I am the Director of Educational Enrichment. He observes me work with adults and youth of all types of experiences.
I live my life as I want my children to live theirs.
Do you have any particular memories from your own childhood that inspire you to make memories with your children? I have so many memories from my childhood that have inspired my memories with my children. Growing up in a big family, we always have. In our house, we host family and friends often. One of my best memories was weekends at my aunt’s house. I can remember sitting in the den on the newspaper to have dinner. The times when we all would sleep over, watch cartoons, and big bowls of cereal.
Today I spend ample time with my nieces and nephews, and we encourage our children to spend time with their cousins. I am definitely known for a good “Auntie Friday,” an evening where I would have 4-6 children under the age of 5 at one time. That is how I grew up, My aunt’s house held us all on the weekend.
How do you practice self-care and role model for your family? One of the keys is choosing how I want to eat food. We discuss healthy food choices and eat meals together most days of the week. I also exercise often, which is good for releasing any stress. My life is full of a number of factors that require my attention. But at times I am sure to take time to just sit still. Even if it is ten minutes in the car before I come into the house. Or taking a walk at 10:30 pm. I love myself and I encourage everyone to choose for themselves.
As a mom, you can never go wrong with a scheduled spa day, and I make it there every 4- 6 weeks. To be your best self, you have to ensure you take care of yourself.
On the subject of pursuing your passions at any age….what is the best advice you can offer a later mom who is struggling to carve out time? Mom is a superhero. Suppose you are a mom running a significant organization, going to every basketball game, or a mom who cooks every day. We are all superstars and deserve to live our most prominent dream.
We control our destiny, and it only takes one thing to live our best life. And that is to choose to live it. The choice is a powerful thing, and when you accept the power of choice, you can get anything done.
What words of wisdom would you like to share for someone contemplating parenthood over age 35? Go for it. Women are the center of the universe and can accomplish anything. Move in the world as if you are already living your dream. With that mindset, everything else will follow. This includes motherhood. Begin at whatever age you desire. It is your right to have a family. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. Baby Dust to you all.
Tags: Black owned business, Black women, geriatric pregnancy, having kids, infertility, later mom, mom over 40, parenting, raising a family