Pregnancy in Your Forties: The Whole Truth

If you’ve ever read anything about pregnancy over 40, it probably discussed the reduced chances of conceiving and/or the risks of carrying a baby in your 40s, likely containing very valid points. But what is it actually like to be pregnant in your forties?

At 42 and pregnant with my third child, I’m here to shed a little light on the “Really Advanced Maternal Age” situation, the good and the bad. If you start to feel depressed as you are reading this or like you better do the deed ASAP before the big 4-0 comes a knockin’, take heart, and keep reading. I’ve discovered some very beautiful aspects of being pregnant in your forties, so I thought I would share those, as well. Without further ado, 12 things you may or may not know about post-40 pregnancy:

1. Your Body

It’s just not what it used to be. I liken it to a run-away train going downhill, picking up speed before the ultimate crash. Seriously though, the message that you’re not 25 anymore comes across loud and clear. During pregnancy in your forties, your wrinkles and age spots may be just as pronounced as your protruding belly. Your hips and back hurt more than they used to and really, all the aches are just magnified. You may have that thick and lustrous hair that comes with pregnancy, it just might be gray.

2. The Exhaustion

This deserves a point of its own. The sheer exhaustion of it all. The struggle is real, because, see #1. When I hear a 25-year-old pregnant woman complain about being tired, I think to myself, you have no idea.

3. You’re Pregnant Alongside Women Half Your Age

Sometimes the age difference is such that you’re old enough to be their mom. These are the women who are fitting back into their jeans 2-days post-delivery, because well, their skin still has that elasticity that left you years ago. But you’re 40+ now, so you’re above the jealousy, right? You just say, good for you, sister. And you sort of mean it. On the flip side, people your age might be preparing to be grandparents. That’s when you just shake  your head. Because there are no words.

{Remember, keep reading. It gets better, I promise}

Pregnancy in Your Forties: The Whole Truth | Denver Metro Moms Blog

4. The Range of Doctor Appointments

You might be seeing an ophthalmologist about a prescription for bifocal lenses directly following your 28-week prenatal appointment. Not that I would know anything about that.

5. Mom or Grandma?

Once you have your baby, it’s highly likely that you will be, asked at least once, if you are the baby’s grandmother. Prepare for this now so you don’t cry later.

6. Discounts

You’ll start qualifying for AARP and Senior discounts while your child is still in High School, but don’t think about that now. It’s just better if you don’t.

And now, for the positives of pregnancy in your forties…

7. Sense of Self

By the time you’ve hit 40, you likely have a good sense of who you are and have become more comfortable in your own skin. You’re not as worried about “losing yourself” when you become a mom, because you’ve had enough time “being yourself” beforehand that you’re confident you’ll “stay yourself,” if only a new and improved version.

8. Confidence

Because you have a bit more life under your belt, you’ll likely feel more confident in your parenting decisions. Well, let me restate that, because I think the whole parenting thing is a crapshoot and I still second guess nearly every parenting decision I make, but now I have the confidence that if I just do my best, it’s all going to work out ok. And with confidence comes a greater ability to laugh at oneself, which is very handy when dealing with points 1-6.

9. Less Worry About the Small Stuff

The older I get, the more sense I have for what battles are worth fighting and which concerns are worth the worry. And let me tell you, that’s a relief because, well, see #2 – the exhaustion. I just don’t have the energy to waste on worrying about the small things anymore.

10. Who Cares What People Think

I aspire to be one of those 85-year-olds with no filter. They don’t care what anyone thinks about them and the things that come out of those ladies’ mouths crack me up and make me pee my pants {do your kegels when they tell you to do your kegels, for the love}. So, I figure I’m about halfway to 85 and it’s true, I already care a lot less about what people think of me. For instance in naming this baby, I’m going to name her whatever I want to. I don’t really care if people like the name or not. Not because I don’t care about those people, but because I’m just not as influenced by their opinions anymore {see point 8}. This spills over into parenting too – I want to get advice from people, but in the end, I’m going to make whatever decision I think is best for my child and I’m not going to worry about people judging me for it. And there’s a whole lot of freedom in that.

11. Mental Toughness

I’ve come to believe that physical strength is often inversely proportionate to mental strength when it comes to age. In other words, the older you get, the physically weaker you become, but your mental strength grows by leaps and bounds. With age comes a greater capacity to handle the mentally and emotionally challenging scenarios of life without totally losing it. And this serves you well in parenting because we all know that parenting is one long mentally and challenging scenario.

12. Gratitude

When you’re pregnant in your 40’s, you’ve just witnessed a bit more life than your compadres in their 20’s and 30’s. And you’ve learned that life goes fast, that there’s a fair amount of pain, that it’s fragile, and you don’t take any of that for granted. This leads to an ever-increasing well of gratitude for all that you have and for the life you carry inside of you.

So, if you’re considering a pregnancy in your forties, or you’re doing that gig right now, there’s hope and just as much good that comes with the bad!

, , ,

5 Responses to Pregnancy in Your Forties: The Whole Truth

  1. Roxy Syler July 15, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

    I had our 1st child at 40, she was born Aug ’09 I turned 41 that Nov. Had our son at 42 May ’11. Hubby and I are 47, and she’s about to be 7, and he’s 5! She will be in 1st grade and he in Kindergarten! It’s awesome being and older parent!!

    • Melissa M. July 21, 2016 at 10:33 am #

      So glad to hear! I am 42 but my husband is 48, so I still have some fear and sadness around that. But in general, I enjoy being an older parent too! Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Meredith Moraitis June 26, 2016 at 7:58 am #

    This day and age is not uncommon for Woman to be older and having babies…. so, No worries, as I am sure, no one will ask you if baby is grandchild. My 2 lovely kids made me a young grandmother, with both babies being 2 weeks apart from each other….and when my husband and I are out with one, by ourselves, people are thinking the baby is ours…
    I always wanted more kids, but it wasn’t meant to be, so now I get to enjoy the grandbabies, since I am still young enough….
    So, congratulations on your future baby and may God Blessings be upon you and your family.

  3. Nancy L. June 23, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    I was in my late thirties nursing my son in a Mother’s room at the Mall when a woman changing a two year old remarked that she and I graduated together. She said she was the child’s grandmother. I replied, “Obviously I am this baby’s mother unless I am a really good grandmother!”

  4. Heather Jergensen June 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Melissa, this is wonderful. Although I am not currently pregnant, and I’m not sure I will be anytime soon, I’ve often thought of what I would have to “go through” as a 42-year-old. It’s hard enough getting out of bed without a belly! Thank you for these insights!

Leave a Reply