Amy’s* Story

Mom and Son

Amy* became a first-time mother in 2010 at the age of 42. She lives in New York City with her husband and son. 

I think my story is both absolutely miraculous and tremendously unremarkable. I spent my 20s and 30s climbing up the academic tenure-ladder and living a kind of “Sex and the City” life (but Latina style). I travelled the world with close friends; made my share of romantic mistakes; and found a career that, to this day, is a genuine life passion.

 

 

I was not deliberately postponing marriage and children because of my career; in fact, I was a dedicated dater, who wanted to meet “the one,” but who also had an amazing life. It took me until my 40th birthday to have that tall, dark, and handsome man walk into my life; the man who would become my husband had the values, personality, and sense of purpose that I had always wanted to have in a partner. Once we met, things happened shockingly quickly. Six months from our first date we were living together; two months after that, we were pregnant, and when our healthy baby boy was 8 months old, we had a really fun and down-to-earth wedding in a beautiful church in the Puerto Rican countryside. We had family and friends coming from pretty much every continent to our wedding.

It is only when I read stories about infertility and reproductive technology that I realize how miraculous my own pregnancy was: I got pregnant on the very weekend when my then-boyfriend and I decided to “start trying and see what happens”; I had a textbook pregnancy and natural delivery without any medical complications at all; and gave birth to a perfectly healthy little boy who continues to amaze us with his charm.

I remember having taken one of Dr. Oz “real age” tests around the time of my pregnancy, and it claimed that I was 12 years younger than my chronological age. I do feel very young and cannot imagine having had my son any earlier than I did. I’m glad that I can show him what living life passionately looks like and guide them to finding his life purpose.

Yes, there are times when I wish I had met “the one” earlier so that maybe we could have had a second child; instead, after I gave birth to my son at 42, we decided not to push our luck and stay with just one child. I am myself an only child, so I know that only children can have perfectly close kinship networks, and I already see my son’s ability to build warm connections with other children and adults.

Nevertheless, I do think that if I had given birth younger, I would have had a second child. Although I live in NYC, where many women are first-time moms in their late-30s and 40s (and even later), I know that it is likely that I’ll be one of the oldest moms in my child’s friendship circles and that developing relationships with moms who are much younger might be a bit challenging at times. I am also very cautious not to use my story as “evidence” that having a first child at 40+ is easy, because I have seen quite a number of my friends endure great struggles (with infertility, miscarriages, etc). 

I do not take the “miracle” that are my marriage and child for granted.

*Amy’s real name and likeness have been changed per her request for privacy.

 

Comments

  1. laura Spradley says:

    Hi, Amy.
    Your story reads much like mine, except that I’m now 50 and my daughter is six (“and a half, Mom!’ she insists). So we’re about four years ahead of you. Scout is knee-deep in her first chaotic, full-cast Nutcracker season and I’d like to think I’m one of the calmer backstage helpers. I count that among the many benefits of being an older mom.

    Your reasons for not having children earlier, your willingness to have had more and your reasons for not trying to have another child are all familiar to me. We felt we hit the lottery in so many ways with our daughter and didn’t want to paddle upstream or be greedy, if that doesn’t sound too strange.

    One of the challenges I face as an older mom is finding peers, especially since I moved from a larger metro-area back to my Midwestern home town when I married. My daughter’s friends’ moms are great and they welcome my friendship. But they’re finishing up grad school and talking about having more kids while I’m researching menopause.

    I absolutely treasure my friends who are older moms: the closest in age is six or eight years younger than me. There’s definitely a generational gulf and where we are on the life experience spectrum, life pace and life styles.My husband and I divorced a year ago, which adds another twist to an already tricky path.

    All that said, I wouldn’t change a thing. Being mom/older mom is just the best job and I’m better at it than I could have imagined. There are things I don’t know I know about parenting until the situation comes up, and I can only attribute them to the mixed batch of life-lessons I stored up living single, traveling and playing favorite aunt. That, and the unique confidence and sense of humor that only come with age.

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