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Ten things about being pregnant in your 40s

My Grandma Alice had kids into her 40s, thrived

My first three kids were born in my 20s. The next five were born in my 30s. Now, I am expecting baby #9 and I’m in my 40s. It’s a whole different ride.

1. People, and by people I mean people in scrubs at your care provider’s office, act as though you will shatter at any moment. If your blood pressure is low, they marvel. If you express that you are feeling well, they shake their heads in wonder. Oh, venerable gestating one, how ever do you do it? Watching me walk across the waiting room must be like watching a majestic, ancient tortoise amble across an expanse, a living fossil, a moment for National Geographic Magazine to capture in their hallowed pages.

2. They don’t make Centrum Silver Prenatals.

3. Avoiding the chemicals in hair coloring during the first trimester means at the dawn of the second trimester, one may look like one of The Golden Girls (perhaps Dorothy) who just finished binging on early-bird meatloaf down at the all-you-can eat buffet. And if you threw a party, invited every one you knew-oo-oo/you would see the biggest slice would be for me/and the card inside would say/here’s a coupon for 500-count Tums with calcium.

4. I saw a pair of maternity booty shorts at Target and blushed. Maternity clothes seem to be designed with Teen Mom in mind. I don’t want animal print leggings, fringe, cutout holes in the shoulders so that I can’t wear a bra. I don’t want to look like I belong in LMFAO, shufflin’ everyday. I want to look like Blanche. (see #3)

5. Math. You will entertain yourself by calculating how old you’ll be when your baby graduates from high school and college. Personally, I imagine being in the audience, cheering our for our Valedictorian, when the woman next to me leans over and asks which grandchild belongs to us. In my best old lady voice, I’ll say, “The principal!”

6. You’ll depress yourself by wondering if you’ll ever meet your baby’s children—especially if the baby waits until his/her 40s.

7. I hear the Red Hat Society throws raucous, uproarious baby showers for members. They take over entire private meeting rooms at Panera! Joining post-haste.

8. I wish there were a wrinkle-fighting moisturizer with zit-zapping capabilities in a safe, non-Retinol formula. It’s not fair to have to battle emerging fine lines and hormonally-inspired zits at the same time. So, I guess I’ll continue washing my face with vanilla pudding.

9. If the baby is a girl, I’ll be hitting menopause at about the same time she starts her period. My husband threatens to go on a 3-year-long camping trip around then.

10. I realize I’m not a decrepit old crone and neither are the rest of my peers who are of advanced maternal age. Society isn’t fully on board with the idea. Medical professionals aren’t, either—and in many cases with good reason. Being pregnant at this age reminds me that the process of building a new little life is an astonishing miracle at any age. I’m proud to be a part of it. I feel younger. I feel energized, even when I can’t keep my eyes open. I feel like doing back flips, even though my lower back feels like I’ve been kicked by a burro. There’s a mental component to pregnancy which can’t be underestimated. Being in the mindset that there is churning life a foot beneath my double chins is the fountain of youth.

23 comments to Ten things about being pregnant in your 40s

  • Oh, love this. Love you, your humor, and how you inspire.


  • Tami

    Hilarious! I love #1 but curse you for bringing #9 to my awareness.

    I am ready for the first grandma comment: “No, I’m her mom. I just had to wait four years while her dad overcame full-body paralysis before I could welcome her into my life.”

    That oughta shut them up.

  • Michelle

    I had Zach at 40 and Cody at 41. I love my white hair as it’s mostly in on spot, like Rrogue from X-men. Course it’s been there since my late 20’s. Here I am at the door of 45 and people still can’t believe my age and having 12 kids, the youngest being 3. People think I’m in my 30’s still. Must be from always chasing my 9 boys.

  • My word verification is ‘brave!’

    This is so funny. I’ll admit, I hope to not be having kids in my 40s. On our long days we look at each other and remember that the kids will be out of the house or at least old enough to be left alone while we’re still in our 40s. That’s how we get through.

    But I love your perspective on pregnancy when older. If I do find myself in similar shoes I hope to handle it all as gracefully as you.

  • You’re a great looking pregnant lady! 🙂 Praying for a safe & healthy pregnancy. Can’t wait to see the little person joining your family.

  • Hilarious! Seriously. I have to admit, though, I felt better having a baby in my 30’s than I did when I had them in my 20’s. I took better care of myself, probably had a better attitude. Oh, and I just didn’t have time to sit and think about every ache, pain, and graying roots. Hats off you sister! So happy for this little bundle 🙂

  • Amy

    Love this! You have the most wonderful and witty sense of humor. I am so excited that you are being blessed with another precious baby.

  • You are amazing, I love you, I love your spirit and I’m certain this little baby will LOVE having you as a mom.

  • I’m on a search for Centrum Silver Prenatals for you. And some flattering booty shorts.

  • My entire goal in life is, when I’m an old lady, to be a less-slutty Blanche.

    Do you feel like a star of a reality tv show?

    • Gretchen

      I do, sometimes. Except without the cameras, lights, money. I still haven’t been on the cover of People magazine, though. Hello, editors?!

  • Allyson

    I was 40 when Juliet was born, but around here, old moms are pretty common and no one bats an eye. However, my OB often liked to remind me that when he started practicing obstetrics Advanced Maternal Age was referred to as “elderly.”

  • This is great and now? I want to be pregnant in my 40’s, washing my face with vanilla pudding while eating the chocolate flavor.

  • edj

    Great list! (People like lists, after all) My mother was 43 when I was born, and she got lots of grandma comments, which offended her greatly. She lived to 85 and met all my kids.
    I can relate a little bit to #1, to being treated as a rarity–when I was pg with the twins (which, not that unusual, right?), the nurses and staff at my dr’s office always acted in awe of me, and my amazing health and ability to work right up to the end, etc. etc. It was weird. They kept telling me what an easy time of it I was having. You can imagine how that helped my attitude when I got the full-body rash that kept me up at night scratching my ankles till I bled in a frantic search for some relief.

  • I had two in my 40’s… and I am so sorry that my body has run out of enthusiasm!!! Because I will always say: “just one more”… I have to say #6 gets to me!!! But #1 really just makes me laugh as every antenatal visit I continued to be healthier than a horse and quite outstripped all the caregivers when it came to blood pressure and other indicators!!! Totally freaked them out that a mother of more than a handful and obviously well pregnant could still be overwhelmingly blessed with good health and (just whenever they were looking) boundless energy!!! Hang in there my friend!!!

  • And I love that awesome photograph of your grandma!!! LOVE IT!!! How special!!!

  • marta

    Hi! I had my first at 30, my second at 32, my third at 35, and now I am 42 and due in 2 months.
    All were healthy pregnancies and VERY quick labours – and all born at 41 weeks. This time around I am putting on far less weight, am exercising regularly (swimming twice a week) and my blood pressure is normal – people who don’t know me think I have “early” white hair – they assume I’m in my early 30s !!!!

    Long live the elderly pregnant ladies of the world!

    Wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy and baby!

    marta in Portugal

  • Love your writing. You make me laugh.

    Also, the mental part of pregnancy? Oh my, toughest one yet for me.

  • I was 41 when my third was born. I got the “women of your age” speech at my first appointment, and had non-stress tests at every appointment from 7 months on. I had three ultrasounds through the course of my pregnancy, and my bi-weekly appointments started at 8 months. At my last appointment, ten days from the little guy’s due date, the doctor said “Okay, let’s schedule you for an induction. We don’t want to risk you going beyond your due date.” Way to make a woman feel good about herself–imply that she’s so old and frail she couldn’t possibly carry this pregnancy through to successful delivery! 🙂 Little Darth is 20 months now, and his brothers are 6 and almost twelve, respectively. I recently had the horrifying realization that by the time he goes to middle school, I’ll have had kids in our local elementary school for almost 25 years. And I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world! 🙂

  • Jean

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I was 42 when we had our one (and only. thanks, infertility!)

    But really, God knows the best timing and who we need. My youngest sibling was born when my folks were 40. She is a gem, and we are all close to her and cannot imagine a day without her.

    Also, to the commenter EDJ up there — thanks. Your post about your mom seeing all your kids just made me cry some joyful tears, so please know you made my heart warm today. Sometimes I need to hear stuff like that, so thank you so very much.

  • Jeannine

    I went to the gynecologist yesterday to be checked out. I was concerned about having a very heavy period, and was thinking that I might be going into early menopause. Instead I was told that I am pregnant, and because of my age am at very high risk for miscarriage. Since my doctor’s visit yesterday, the bleeding has slowed to spotting and I am having no cramping or pain (the doctor said that within the next 24 to 48 hours he expected my bleeding to greatly increase and for me to start having extreme pain and cramping). At this point I am getting very excited,as I have wanted another child for many many years. I pray that this baby will grow and be very happy and healthy!

  • shawn

    Iam 43 soon 44. Just found out iam having #4. Iam a little scared and do not know where to turn. Birth defect havr me very worried

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