It is the eve of my 40th birthday. I’ve never felt better. I feel comfortable in my skin. I’m happy. With age truly does come a certain knowledge of the world and my place in it. Also, I’m pregnant.
This is something that was not exactly expected (not unexpected either) but certainly not what I visualized for age 40. If life has taught me anything, though, it’s that the unexpected happens all the time. So I’ve been given this curve ball, this gift. Initially, I felt a small touch of shame. Pregnant at 40. A certified geriatric pregnancy, at least referred to this way in the halls of my doctor’s office. Wasn’t I supposed to be celebrating my 40th drinking wine and enjoying my freedom as my older children became more independent?
Is 40 old? For some it is. Growing up, 40 seemed impossibly old. Now that I’ve reached it, it doesn’t seem old at all. Sure, I listen to the classical station quite often but balance that with hip hop and indie music. I listen to NPR, I’ve started gardening and enjoying it immensely, and sometimes I ask my husband (who’s younger) to lower the music because it hurts my ears. But seriously, in terms of age, that’s as far as it goes for me.
Now that I’m here, at the cusp of 40, I realize that it’s quite young. Why should I feel shame for being pregnant at my age? It’s actually a great age to be having a baby. Yes, there are risks associated with having a child when older, but there are also many benefits to being an older mom. Here are a few for you to mull over:
This is not my first rodeo.
I have two kids already. I’ve been around the proverbial parenting block a couple times now. Poop. Pee. Tantrums. Sleepless nights. Projectile vomiting. Losing your kids at Ikea AND Target. You name it. I’ve experienced it. With age comes a certain calm. I’m more psychologically stable, at peace with my place in the world, which will undoubtably benefit my children.
I’ve accepted my husband’s shortcomings.
OK, I’m sort of lying about this one. I still can’t get over the fact that he leaves soaking wet cloths in the sink. Aside from the cosmetic shortcomings, I’ve realized that my partner in crime is a deeply good person, a great dad, and someone I can parent a third child with — a realization that comes with age and experience.
My values are firmly in place.
I thought I valued a trip to the Maldives to celebrate my 40th. But really, after realizing that due to constraints like time, money and the reality of having small children, the fog cleared and I realize that the most important thing in my life — the thing that gives me the most meaning and joy — is being with my people, my tribe, my clan.
My 40th will be spent in the woods, just outside of Boston, and to quote Thoreau, because I wish to live deliberately, to front the essential facts of life. Which I’ve discovered are pretty simple. Something I wouldn’t have known or even appreciated earlier in life.