So, what’s it like to be pregnant at 40?
Well, so far, it’s not too different from being pregnant at 35, 37 or 38. I would know. Being pregnant on my 40th birthday was a little bit of a bummer but not as bad as alternating between wanting to throw up and to curl up in a ball and pass out instead of hang out with friends in celebration of this milestone. Despite all of this, what I really feel about being pregnant at 40 is lucky. So many people will tell you how hard it is to be pregnant when you are old, how hard it is to raise young children when you are old. But the thing is, I don’t feel old. I feel great. And I know that not everyone can start at 35 and have 4 children. Some people can’t have any at all. No matter when they start.
So I feel lucky that even without planning ahead and freezing my eggs or even just trying earlier, we have been able to have our 3 (and one soon to be) children. I also feel lucky that I was able to spend my 20s and a full half of my 30s working, growing up, traveling and living abroad and doing all of the things that make sense to do before becoming a parent. I didn’t realize how easily taking so much time could have affected my ability to have the family that, as it turns out, I desperately wanted.
Funny enough, I was always fine with not having kids at all. Becoming a mother wasn’t something that I always wanted and thought that one day I would absolutely do. I could have gone either way. If I didn’t have children, I could travel, focus more on my career, have more disposable income and more freedom to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Or, I could have children and have a different kind of life, one full of the adventure and wonder of having little people and of course, all of the responsibility that goes with it. If I did have children, I always thought that I would try to have two. Because my brother and I are so close and well, it’s nice to have a sibling.
It wasn’t until I met my first child, Emmett, that I knew I wanted more. It was immediate. As soon as the Dr. pulled him up and he began to cry like a little bird, I knew. From that moment on, I wanted a big family. A house full of laughter and mess and joy and the inevitable quarreling. I was almost 36. Soon after came Isla, our little firecracker and then, sweet baby Eve. Our new baby (and a mini-van) will make our family complete.
Being pregnant at any age requires toughness. It’s hard on your body, some pregnancies more so than others. I’ve been very lucky in that regard, but pregnancy also has its emotional obstacles too. There is always something to worry about, especially when you are older. You are constantly being warned about the risks, about what to eat or not to eat. People tell you their labor and delivery horror stories 2 weeks before your due date. Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart. Still, it’s a blessing and something that I have been lucky to experience, even at 40.