In my late thirties I read a lot about having kids, preparing for the possibility that I might have a kid. But there was a very good chance I wouldn’t (or so I thought). A number of things had to be in place for that to happen and I was nowhere near those things at the time. I wasn’t actively trying to have a baby then because I hadn’t yet met prince charming (let’s call him PC). But I was thinking about it; whether I should adopt as a single mom, get inseminated, go to some bar and get knocked up, or just wait and hope for the best. I had several friends go through difficult times with IVF and I knew I wasn’t emotionally or financially up for that. But thinking past the probability of it, I wondered if having infants and toddlers was just too much for a person over 40. You know, all those out-of-shape, tired, bitter 40-somethings out there.
Then I hit 40. Forty is definitely not too old. I looked around at my friends in their 40s and 50s and was totally inspired by their levels of energy. In fact, I felt like a lazy piece of crap compared to most of them. So why couldn’t I have kids this “late”? I met up with a college roommate a few years back and she had just had her boy. She was 42. At 45 she had her little girl. She had never been in better shape and is now bordering on iron-woman proportions. She is also laid back and happy. I figured, if I could be a mom like that, I’m in. I have friends turning 60 and I am in awe of them. Climbing 14’ers, building cabins, starting businesses, pulling graveyard shifts to make extra money, making their marks on society.
I read articles (and there are still many of them out there) about how over 40 is too old to have kids because of the physical toll on you and the fact that you’re burdening the kids with “old” parents. But here’s the thing. I am so much more together than I ever was when in my prime child-birthin’ years. Not only was I selfish and ignorant then, but I was drunk most of the time and did not take care of myself. I had no business growing a human in that mess. Many young women get pregnant accidentally, courtesy of alcohol. And sometimes women don’t even know they’re pregnant right away so they keep drinking and smoking until they find out. Not that all young people are unhealthy lushes; that just happens to be a common lifestyle for twenty-somethings.
Fast forward 15 years and all those adverse conditions were not present. I was all cleaned up, smoke-free, happy, and in decent shape when my little beauty came along and chose me as the host to her parasite. Also, I didn’t use any fertility interventions to get pregnant (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and it still happened. I was 42 when I got pregnant and she was born just a month after I turned 43.
I’m not-quite-a-year into this thing now. I know; I haven’t logged much time yet. But so far I’m finding that it’s not that hard on my body. I thought I’d be completely drained of energy and constantly sad about not sleeping and would slowly be going insane by now. Not the case. The fact that I now have to lug a small child around has actually been a good thing because I’ve had to start doing pushups and crunches to build upper body and core strength just to carry her around in her car seat (holy mother, that weighs a ton). So, several months into doing pushups and core exercises, I feel better than I did before I got pregnant. I also look better. Did not see that coming. I’m likin’ it.
I also have emotional intelligence that I did not have in my youth. A high EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) is worth its weight in gold. I don’t need to worry about stupid shit anymore. I don’t have to sit in judgment of others. And I’m not interested in drama for the sake of drama. I am all about support and encouragement. That is not to say that I’m a pushover; I’m definitely not. It’s about having empathy and strength, without the need to belittle others or turn anyone into another version of myself. I don’t think I would have gotten that as a 20-something mom and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to pass it along.
If you are thinking of having kids later and maybe you’re googling articles to find out whether or not you should go for it, I’m glad you found this one. I’m close to the 44th year of my life and I’m brand-spanking new at this. And it’s perfect.