I had my first child at 38 and my second at 40. I have zero regrets about waiting for so long, but I do admit there are some things “older” pregnant women have to deal with that can be super annoying and stressful. The good thing is, it’s becoming more and more common for women in their early forties to have kids — so there is a lot of support out there. Still, there are a few things you’ll need to get used to…
1. Hearing the term ‘advanced maternal age’ – constantly. Just get it embroidered on a pillow. Or emblazoned on a t-shirt. You will become very familiar with this term by the end of your first trimester — but don’t worry. There are a lot of doctors who think this term is obsolete – and you shouldn’t let it cause you too much stress. Remember that more and more women are having healthy pregnancies over the age of 35. The rising risks associated with being older when you give birth are real, but there’s no reason to be consumed with worry. Get the genetic testing if you’re worried. The most important detail here is that you feel supported by your doctor. Your pregnancy will be so much more enjoyable if your doctor is a good fit. If you feel like your doctor is smacking you in the face with this term constantly, or don’t feel supported — get a new one.
2. Being the oldest mom in the birth class. Get used to it. It gets easier to come to grips with, but there will be a bright-eyed 24-year-old in every parenting group you ever participate in from here on out. Forever and ever.
3. It may be a LITTLE harder for your body to bounce back. Okay, a lot. It may be a lot harder — especially if you’ve had other pregnancies. This is where being gentle with yourself will do you a world of good. Just accept that it may not be as easy for you to lose the extra pounds, and work slowly toward your goal.
4. Yes, you will be 60 when your kid is in college. Just come to terms with it now and let it go. And you’ll be 70 when she turns 30. No big. Release it. Ahhhhh.
5. Younger mothers of small children will ask you for advice – constantly. People just assume older women know what they’re doing. They probably think you have a few older kids at home. I like to roll with it and give out a bunch of nonsense advice.
6. The “Amnio” decision. Your OB/GYN will probably be mentioning the amnio as soon as she realizes there’s a baby in your old uterus. My advice? Get it.
Genetic testing is stressful, and it can be something that goes on for weeks on end. There will be an initial screening to see if you have any elevated risks for genetic disorders. If those test results come back showing that you do, more options for other tests will present themselves. There are tests now that are marketed as “almost as good” as an amnio and non-invasive, but they only test for a handful of genetic disorders while an amnio tests for a wider range of issues. If you are a worrier (I am) — you may just want to get the most conclusive test so you can rest easy. I did not opt for the amnio when I got pregnant at 40 — and I regretted it. I had what felt like months of genetic tests, at the end of which they still advised me to get an amnio because it was the “most conclusive.” If I had it to do over, I would just get the amnio and be done with it. But this is such a personal decision — just try to make the one that drives you the least crazy.
7. You’ll have to get used to everyone’s feigned excitement over your age. You’re 40? That’s amazing! Good for you! You look amazing. Wow. Amazing! Yeah. People tend to overdo it when they realize you’re an old pregnant woman. You’ll get used to it.
8. You will finally understand the “grandkid pressure.” What if my child follows in my footsteps and waits until she’s 40 to have kids? I’ll be 80 before I get any grandkids. Dammit. Yup. All the eye-rolling you did when your mom used to mention grandkids is going to come right back and bite you in the ass.