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Pregnant at 40...after a 15 year break!
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I am the proud mother of three children. This past August they all celebrated a milestone - one started college, one got her driver's license and one took her first step. Yes, you read that correctly. My children are 19, 16 and 16 months. So what is it like to start all over again after 15 years? Well, it's different! Let me start by saying that my baby was not an "oops". She was definitely intentional. So you are probably asking yourself "Is she crazy?!". I have my days when I wonder that myself but I have to say that I wouldn't trade her for the world.
Her story starts with me re-marrying to someone 11 years younger than I am. When we were dating, and up to shortly before the wedding, I was very clear that I was done having children. He said he was fine with that and that he still wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. While I was convinced that he was o.k. with not having children, I had the opportunity to see him with small children on numerous occasions and he was wonderful with them. He was a natural. So...one night (over a few beers) I said to him "I realize that you have accepted that I don't want to have any more children, but can you look me in the eye and tell me that you don't want a child?" Nope - he couldn't do that. I then spent the next two months or so thinking about whether I really did want another baby. It wasn't so much a question of whether I wanted another baby...it was more a question of whether I wanted to give up my freedom and whether or not I trusted him to stick around. The father of my first two is not in the picture and hasn't been for years. For better or worse I raised them alone. I accept that and am very proud of both of them, but did I want to set myself up for that again? I decided that the man I knew...the man I was going to marry...would make not only a wonderful husband but a wonderful father as well. He deserved the chance to raise a child of his own. I had to let go of my distrust. Also, if I'm going to be honest, I finally had some freedom. My kids were old enough to take care of themselves and I could go have a beer after work if I wanted. Also, at the time I was a practicing attorney with an office of my own which required me to work long hours. I am a firm believer that a baby needs her mommy and I knew that I would need to give up my practice if I was going to be the kind of mother I feel a baby should have. After giving all this some serious thought, I decided that while I wasn't going to go to extraordinary measures to get pregnant (I was 39 at the time), I would not do anything to prevent getting pregnant and we'd just see whether the big guy upstairs wanted me to have a baby. Long story short...about a year later (when we had both decided it just wasn't meant to be) the stick came up with a plus sign!
Pregnancy at 40 was definitely harder on my body than it was at 22 and 25. I was in pretty good condition for my age, but the pregnancy took its toll. I had considerably more false labor, pain and exhaustion than with my other two. I was considered high risk just because of my age. That meant more tests and more stress. Interestingly though, my actual labor was much easier. Even though she was my third, they said the labor would be like a first baby because of the years between number two and number three. It went very smoothly though - about 5 hours compared to 10 and 24! After she was born, I was back in court 5 days later. I was blessed to be able to take her to my office mith me - it was my office after all - but not an ideal situation. I then began closing down my office over the next few months. I have now been at home with her for the last ten months and I love every minute of it. Sometimes I miss working - my brain needs something to do - but I know how important every minute is that she has with me.
So how is motherhood dirrent in my 40's than it was in my 20's? Well I have more patience, but I worry more. I'm more confident, but have less energy. I'm more stable, but less flexible. Are you getting the picture. It's not better or worse...just different. I love all three of my babies and I treasure every moment I've had with them. I have the luxury of looking back on all the precious moments I've had with my big kids AND looking forward to all the precious moments to come with my baby...life doesn't get any better than that.