Having a Baby In Your 40s
I never thought I’d be an “older” mom. In my 20s, I would have told you I hoped to be married and to have a baby by 30. I met my husband at 32 and we were married just after I turned 35. I became a mom at 35, again …
I never thought I’d be an “older” mom. In my 20s, I would have told you I hoped to be married and to have a baby by 30. I met my husband at 32 and we were married just after I turned 35. I became a mom at 35, again at 37, and for the third time at 40. At 41, I am a mom to a 5 year-old, 3 year-old, and 5 month old. I want to share my experience of having a baby in my 40s.
Having a Baby In Your 40s
This might be triggering for those of you who struggled with your fertility, but this is always the most-asked question so I’ll get it out of the way. No, I did not go through any fertility treatments. I got pregnant on the first try with each of my pregnancies which I realize is not “typical” but I hope it does give some of you hope as well. My third pregnancy resulted in an early miscarriage at around 6 weeks. One month later, I was pregnant with my second daughter. I was considered “high risk” with Jack due to my age, but did not have any issues. I did fail my first glucose test with my third pregnancy but passed the second. Each pregnancy was free of complications and I delivered 3 healthy babies.
First, let’s talk about the advantages of having children later in life
I wouldn’t have been able to afford a night nurse in my early 30s. Getting to sleep 3-4 nights a week the first few months was life-giving and made the newborn experience so much more manageable. I have been through a lot of trauma in my life and during motherhood, so everything has felt “easier” with Jack. I know how temporary the “hard” moments are, so it all felt a lot more manageable. I’m a lot more secure in my relationships and in my role as a mom. With age has come knowledge, patience, and experience. I was a better mom at 35 than I would have been at 30, and I’m a better mom at 40. A big part of me was dreading going back to the newborn phase and it’s been really sweet.
I wish I had known to line up help.
When I first became a mom, I had it in my head that I should only have help when I need to work. The complete sacrifice of my sense of self was just awful for me. I was anxious and so consumed by motherhood. By the time I had Jack, I knew so much more. I lined up help, let myself enjoy him, and didn’t really stress over the little things. I knew enough to know that I didn’t have to try to breastfeed this time, which alleviated so much stress, pain, and exhaustion.
It’s all temporary, and it’s fleeting – that did not mean I had to enjoy every moment. I gave myself permission to be wherever I was in each moment, knowing that the harder seasons wouldn’t last forever.
And now, to answer your questions…
What were your feelings about having kids at the ages that you did?
What’s interesting is that I was the most stressed out at 35. So much that I wanted to bump our wedding up a little bit just to avoid saying I got married at 35. I did, in fact, get married after I turned 35 and I’m doing just fine. I was sure it was going to take 6 months to a year to get pregnant. This was, of course, it ever happened at all. So when it happened on the first try, we were both in shock. Neither of us expected a positive pregnancy test just weeks after our wedding. I was less anxious with my pregnancies that followed even though I was 5 years older when I had my third.
Do you think about how your kids will have older parents?
I definitely have – that is probably the one thing I’ve struggled with most, but it’s really not something I think about anymore. But then I think about the fact that my mom had me in her very early 20s and we don’t have a relationship. I’d give just about anything to have an older, loving mom vs. a younger one who isn’t a part of my life. Nothing in life is certain. No one knows how long they’ll live. I know people who have lost their parents at younger ages. All we can do is love our kids and make the most of our time with them.
Would love your thoughts on your kids’ age gaps
The 5 year age gap has been a dream for us. My oldest is wonderful with her brother. She’s never shown any signs of jealousy or aggression and is not only sweet, but she’s helpful, too! The 3 year gap is great but a little rockier. Our 3 year-old is very sweet and has never shown any signs of aggression. She definitely struggled with how much I held her little brother, which is obviously normal but harder for us. The 2 year gap was pretty rough in the beginning. Our oldest (who is now that 5 year-old dream older sibling) cried every time her new baby sister cried, didn’t want to hold her, and didn’t really want her near us for weeks. The thing is, their 2 year gap is the best now – they play so well together and are best friends.
Any feelings about finding new mom friends with new babies or is it not a priority?
This really doesn’t feel like a priority, but I do have one mom friend with a baby pretty close in age to Jack. We met through Margot’s old preschool – she’s the mom of one of Margot’s best friends. I have a few good friends without kids, quite a few with kids who are similar in ages to one or both of my girls, and others with kids who are much older. It’s a good mix, and I’ve found isn’t really an issue. But I could see how it would be nice with your first baby.
Is it harder the older you are?
My recovery was interesting this time around. Jack was my largest baby by 1.5 lbs, and within 24 hours, I had zero pain down there. This was the only time I didn’t tear, so recovery was great. He’s also my third, and my epidural wasn’t as effective, so none of this was age-related. Losing the weight has been a lot harder this time. At this point with both girls, I was back in my jeans. I am…definitely not this time.
How do you maintain your energy?
I wouldn’t call my energy “maintained” 😬 but Jack has been sleeping through the night since he was 3 months old and our night-nurse really saved us those first 2.5 months.