Having a surprise pregnancy at 45 was difficult enough with all the health/doctor issues. I could navigate through those things just fine- what REALLY ticked me off were the things people said that were stupid/hurtful/downright MEAN when I announced my pregnancy. Having had a previous miscarriage at 43 (fetus died in utero at 6 weeks 6 days, a pretty common demise), I knew what to expect. We announced that failed pregnancy far too early. The doctors even told me that I was infertile due to my age and to never expect to fall pregnant again. (Oddly, I’d been juice cleansing when I got pregnant at 43 as well… just an FYI for those looking to get knocked up). By the time I became pregnant with Maisie, I’d entirely given up all hope and was perfectly fine with never having another child.
I have likened being pregnant in your 40s to a teen suddenly falling pregnant– you get similar shock and asinine comments. If you’re going through this now, or have in the past- you’re not alone. Feel free to post your experiences in the comments section.
Anyway, after the miscarriage at 43, I heard such gems as:
“Are you TRYING to breed a retard?!” (from a FORMER gay male friend.)
“You’re SO lucky you miscarried, I’d KILL myself if I got pregnant at our age” (from a NURSE)
“Those Asians, son, they look 18 when you go to bed with them, but one day you’ll wake up and she’ll suddenly look 80” (FROM MY PARTNER’S FATHER, as he drove us to the hospital for my D & C after the miscarriage- I was in the BACK SEAT- I let him have it after and didn’t speak to them for YEARS.)
Since I am a bit outspoken and testy by nature, people were a bit less forthcoming with their comments once they realized Maisie’s pregnancy was ‘sticking’. I’d also try to diffuse a lot of comments by saying “well, I found out it wasn’t menopause”, yet I still heard some seriously insensitive things:
“Are you crazy?! You’ll be 178 yrs old by the time that child graduates”
“Do you realize how old you will be when she goes to college?” Um, duh. I do have basic math skills.
“You probably won’t live long enough to meet your grandchildren” That was morbid. I know plenty of people who had kids young and didn’t live to see their grandkids.
“You’re too old, too old… are you sure the MaterniT test was right? You could have a DS baby” (not that there is ANYTHING WRONG with a person with Down’s)
“well, I guess it’s too late to have an abortion, isn’t it?”
“in my day, women were ashamed to have ‘Change of Life’ babies and hid in the house until the baby came” I hid in the house, too, involuntarily. They call that ‘bed rest’.
“your sons are all grown now, why would you put yourself through THAT again?” I am happy to put myself ‘through that’ again. As a young mother I missed a lot of wonderful things and my sons grew up far too fast. I cherish each and every second with my Maisie now.
Oddly and thankfully, as this pregnancy progressed, the negativity became less and less. Women I knew who were my age began confiding to me that they’d ALSO love to have another little one, but were fearful because of their age/health/etc.
Our joy was shared with everyone (mostly on Facebook, because I like to overshare a wee bit too much) and I began to understand why grandparents feel such love and adoration for their grandkids: You get do-overs.
Maisie is my do-over. She makes me stop and appreciate the smallest of things. I truly wish I would have had this foresight as a young mother. I wish I would have given MORE of myself to my sons when they were children.
Life gets in the way and you believe you have all the time in the world. We don’t. We never know how long our stay on Earth is going to be.
For those of you going through this or who have gone through this before: I feel for you.
For those who know people who are older and pregnant- be supportive and shut your damned mouths.
Pregnancy is difficult no matter how old the woman is.
Another positive thing that has come from having a daughter late in life: People who used to be unsupportive are now amazingly wonderful with us. Older mothers are becoming the new norm. It’s not a shameful thing anymore.
I sometimes joke that some of us should only be issued our uteruses at 40, because you’re calmer and more settled.
Motherhood after 45 has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It was worth the pain, the negative comments, all of it.