I Had A Baby At 40, And It Was Awesome by J. Delfino
I think I understand what medical professionals mean by the term “geriatric mother,” but they need to drop it – women who are 40-something are not old geezers.
Let me start by saying I didn’t mean to have a baby at 40. I meant to have a baby, but I had hoped to have one much earlier.
When I was 24, I told my boyfriend that he had better get me pregnant soon because my eggs were going to shrivel up and die. For some reason, we didn’t last.
When I was 31, I posted a Craigslist ad looking for a guy who fit a very specific description and who someday wanted a family. I was weirdly lucky to find a fellow who was almost a perfect match (along with 300-some other gentlemen who sent assorted photos of interesting body parts).
[The author got married in her mid 30s but had a miscarriage at age 38, later got pregnant at age 39]
….I attended all my recommended appointments and testing. Doctors stressed that this was of extreme importance since I was a mother of “advanced maternal age.” One doctor had the gall to call me a “geriatric mother.” I wanted to punch him in his kidney. I think he could tell, because he followed up with, “I know it sounds strange, but that’s what they call it.”
I am Rh-negative, so I had to get a couple of shots to prevent my blood from attacking my growing baby. Other than that, the pregnancy was a breeze. I didn’t get morning sickness. I didn’t feel bad or ill or sad or weird. I barely even felt pregnant, except for the fact that my stomach began getting bigger.
…The joy and peace I’d felt on my 40th birthday packed its bags and left, hawk-diving into an avalanche of uncertainty and fear. For months, I cried onto my baby’s head and desperately tried to find a therapist who both specialized in postpartum depression and accepted my insurance.
…To have a baby is to relinquish so much of who you are or were. In some ways, it is to die and become reborn yourself. For me, it happened on a major milestone birthday ― becoming a mom at 40 was a double doozy.
But now I know a little bit more about the world than I did in my 20s, and in many ways, I’m very glad I waited so long to have a baby.
I am more financially stable. I’m wiser and hopefully more able to answer the hard questions and deal with the challenges that are sure to come. I am less selfish…