Being a mum over the age of 40
Becoming a mother over 40 can be a challenge. I found out I was pregnant at the age of 45, which was a shock! I never thought I would become a mother again, and once the shock settled, I found myself excited and incredibly nervous. However, everything I read or heard tried to convince me NOT to have a baby at this age. Everyone kept telling me how difficult it was medically for someone my age.
Yes, there are more risks when you are older, and this is one of the things that stressed me out the most. Will I make it? I had pregestational diabetes and struggled at the end (more due to me not reducing my workload), but what I will say is that everything in pregnancy is a risk, and there are so many factors to consider. You could be incredibly healthy and still have something terribly go wrong. I just had to put faith in my medical professionals and to the powers that be that I would be okay.
While some doctors may tell you the risks of having a baby over 40 and you feel like you are the only one, I found an over-40s mum group on Facebook that blew my mind. There were thousands of women all over the world over 40 who had babies, and it was so inspiring. I am so grateful I found it as it gave me the confidence to go forward.
Here are some things I learned along the way:
Over the age of 40, you cannot do it all! What I mean is that you can do it all, but at the sacrifice of your mental health. You cannot give 100 percent of yourself to parenting and looking after the household and work a full-time job! It's a horrible juggling act, and half the time, you are trying to keep it all together.
What you learn (very quickly) is that your body is not what it used to be, and you do not have an unlimited resource of energy! Every day is a battle with your mind and your body. Your mind is mostly willing, but your body wants to sleep longer than 5 hours!
While we are older and more emotionally mature, I found that bringing a baby into the world had me having ALL the emotions all of the time. I have never cried so much in my life. Nothing prepares you for when the taps are running, and you are not sure why. I was happy and sad all at the same time.
You will read that older mums are more financially stable, but let's be honest. There is no right time to have a baby. Whether you are 21 years old or older, children will always cost more than you think. Those lucky mums who can be a stay-at-home mum, I salute you. These days with rising prices of everything, things are tough, and some of us cannot afford to be fully supported by our partners.
Older mums have an established support network with family and friends. While I was pregnant, I would have wholeheartedly said that was indeed the case, but what I learned over the last two years is that we do not have a village. The friends I did have have all faded away because I changed. They are all done with babies and have moved on. Slowly, I watched them drop off the face of the earth.
When it happens, it hurts because the world you knew just disappears. You become insignificant, and everything you had worked for feels like it was erased. It doesn't make them bad people; it's just life. I am a different person now, so I cannot blame them as I cannot be who I was before and give the same energy and attention I had before.
As this is my second child i do have a more relaxed parenting style. I dont stress about much and just go with the flow.
I am more patience and love teaching her all the things. I get so much joy when she learns something and says it unassited by me in conversation. You just cant beat that.
Loosing yourself - One thing i noticed is the grief i have felt over my old life. While i love my new life i still feel the pain of losing my old self. The career and lifestyle i created for myself. I worked hard for a long time to build a lifestyle i loved and i loved my life. The freedom to travel and see the world. I had just started exploring the world again.
I am so grateful for the life i have and the choices i have made but i still find it hard to let go of my old self and my old life.
Being a working full time older mum is hard and finding new friends is harder. I feel like i am on an island on my own and out of step with everyone my age. I want to find my new people but honestly i dont even have enough time for myself let alone for anyone else and i certainly dont have the energy for socialising.
But with all these challenges, I wouldn't change a thing. Being a mother at any age is hard, but it is so worth it. Everything else melts away when you see that beautiful smile, the way they light up when they see you, and the way they call you "Mumma." The love you share with them and the bond you form with them is worth every stretch mark and every lost hour of sleep.