A couple of times a month, I’ll get an email from someone like myself, that is to say, someone of advanced maternal age. Antique. The writer is in her late 30s or early 40s and is pregnant for the first time and she is scared. She wants to know if I was scared to be pregnant in my mid-40s and if so, how did I deal with it.
Experiencing pregnancy for the first time in the fourth decade of life is thrilling, and if you read too many books, terrifying. So I did not read too many books. But aside from being blissfully ignorant, I had other reasons to be joyfully confident.
The day I stood in my bathroom and saw that immediate and bright second pink line, I had an extremely strong sense that I had entered into some sort of covenant with God. Now, I’m not one of those people who get messages from God or has ever been clear on His will for my life. I’m just an average girl with an average faith, but this was a single moment of clarity. I wish I could describe to you how it felt. It was like an atomic blast of joy that endured throughout the entire pregnancy and remains in the sparkle and light of a funny little boy.
As many of you who have read my story know, I had been through several years of surgeries and infertility treatments only to be dismissed at the age of 41 as hopeless. It took me three full years to accept the fact that I, and the best medical technology, were powerless to make this happen. I simply could not accept my powerlessness.
But finally, three years later, I conceded. For my own well-being, lest I shrivel up into a bitter old raisin, I had to abandon this dream, I had to move on. So I shook my fist at God and said, “Fine! You win! Have it your way!” And then I stomped off and enrolled in graduate school and scheduled a hysterectomy. And it was shortly thereafter that I got the second pink line. I was already seven-weeks pregnant.
I have so often wondered if maybe because I am so stiff necked and so self-reliant, if maybe I had to be broken so completely, if maybe I had to yield my power so unconditionally — to the point of seeking a hysterectomy — in order to make room in my heart for God to give me this incredible gift. I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know the mind of God. I do know this: He gives life, not me. I’m clear on that now.
I tell you all of this to say that, for me, I knew deep in my heart, somewhere beyond the realm of logic and words and statistics, that God would not bring me that far only to crush me.
And so I was filled with joy the entire pregnancy and I simply did not worry about the outcome.
I lived each day of my pregnancy with gratitude for this unexpected and undeserved gift that had been dropped into my lap when I wasn’t looking for it. I now understood that I wasn’t in control of anything so I just laid around with my feet propped up like a big fat queen, watching A Baby Story and sobbing into my Saltines.
What would be, would be, and worrying about future sorrows would do nothing for today and certainly nothing for the little boy growing inside of me.
And so, I didn’t worry much. I trusted everything would be okay one way or another and if at some point I had to adjust the definition of okay, then I would see to that at the appointed time.
So if I have any advice for you, it is this: Don’t read those books with all those scary statistics. Information is not always power. Put your feet up and rest your hands on your belly and appreciate this awesome gift that has dropped into your lap and remember this:
Joy crosses the placenta; take in as much as you can every day.
If you experienced a late-in-life pregnancy, I’d love to hear how you dealt with the fears and concerns that older moms have. Any advice or encouragement you might offer would be great too! ~ AM