This is a blog with a mission, being, to take some of the GAHfuckdamnohnoisthisokay? out of becoming a mom when you’re over 35, or in my case now, over 40. I had infertility issues that kept me from getting pregnant when I was younger, and I was one of those hand wringers who would Google “pregnant over 35″ and just be dejected with the search results. Hardly anyone has anything good to say on the matter, or encouraging, or even maybe celebrating women who start their families later. It was all risk and warnings and that shit is just depressing.
But that’s not to say it isn’t real. Indeed, pregnancy for me was nearly every bit as hard and scary as they say it can be for women my age, especially bearing twins. I had pre-term contractions, pre-eclampsia, borderline anemia, a very tough delivery (which had nothing to do with my age, ahem). What they don’t tell you is, so fucking what?
See, I’m trying to cultivate a new and improved attitude about risk. Now that I’ve taken certain risks and have gotten a certain unbelievably awesome payoff, I’m here to say that if your heart truly longs for a baby and you’re over 35, go on and get pregnant. DO IT. I could have had a worse result, yes. But you know what? I didn’t, and most women my age having babies don’t either. And look what I got to show for it:
Two beautiful kids, born totally healthy.
So here’s the whole truth about my over 39 year old twin-pregnancy experience. First, the bad.
- My pregnancy was great until the third trimester, when my back started to hurt so bad I could hardly walk from my car to the house without pain, and when pre-term contractions and then pre-eclampsia kicked in. That period of time involved total bedrest, three hospitalizations and a lot of unfortunate Google searches.
- Being pregnant with twins caused more of that than my age. That said, women over 35 have a greater chance of multiple pregnancy. That’s not a bad thing, but it is harder.
- I delivered five weeks early, due to pre-eclampsia. My delivery was tough, tough, tough. I delivered Doot vaginally and had to have an emergency C-Section for Bing. That had nothing to do with my age, or the pre-eclampsia. He had cord pro-lapse, which can be catastrophic. We were thankfully in good hands. If you’re a high-risk pregnancy, make sure you are too.
- Speaking of high-risk pregnancy, if you get labeled this know it’s a blessing. You get much better prenatal care.
- My recovery from delivery took awhile, and to be honest I thought I’d never feel right again. I was wrong, and knew it within about four weeks. Two weeks after giving birth I was much, much better. By a month, I was back to normal except for my weight and my tendonitis.
- Oh, by the way, did you know you can get mindbendingly painful tendonitis in both wrists while pregnant, just from your hormones? I didn’t, and believe me, this was the most painful and inconvenient part of being pregnant and a new mother – worse than the sleep deprivation. No, there’s not much you can do for it but wait it out. It’s much better now at the five month mark, but it’s not gone.
- Not a day goes by where I don’t do the math. When they’re 18 I’ll be 58. When they’re 25 I’ll be 65. When they’re 30 I’ll be 70. And so on. Every day I worry about being too old. Not now, of course. I feel young now. I daresay I look young, even younger than I am. But I don’t take terribly great care of myself and that has to change so I can age well and enjoy my kids well into their adult years. I don’t want them to have the worries of caring for older parents, well, ever. But then, I don’t want to die on them when they’re too young. And then, what’s too young? I’ll never, ever, ever be ready to let my parents go. In any case, I don’t get to decide any of these things, and so they are not worth the worry. But I must tell you, I worry anyway.
Now for the good stuff that waiting got me, and may get you too.
- Some things that would have really rattled my 30 year old self really don’t rattle me now. I have been called a very calm, confident parent, and I have to admit that I am.
- I don’t ever wish I was out doing something else that I can’t do now because I have small kids. At my age, I’ve really spent a lot of time doing exactly what I wanted. I’m not worried about my career because it’s so well established I can pretty much write my ticket now.
- Even though the economy is bad and money is tough, I know I can always make money if need be (see above).
- My kids live in a nice home, in a great neighborhood with an excellent school district.
- In my neighborhood, many, if not most of my friends are mothers and fathers who started their families after the age of 35 or at least continue to have kids over the age of 35.
- I savor every moment I have with them, even at 3am, because at 40 I really know how fast it’s all going to go. I just didn’t have that perspective yet when I was 30.
In every other way except trying to lose weight, being 40 pretty much kicks ass. My head is clear. I feel powerful. I don’t take shit from anyone. I know what’s important. I thoroughly enjoy everything I have. So really, in that sense, it’s the perfect time in my life to bring my kids into the world.
Not because of the economy or the war or the environment or any external thing. It’s a good time because it’s the time it was possible, and really, it’s as good as any and better than some.
The author, born in 1969, but shown here somewhere around late 1970.