Past Featured Stories

Sharing Our Perspectives: Vicki’s Feedback

Vicki from Pennsylvania found us online and a felt compelled to write us with her story filled with wisdom. She is 66 and her youngest daughter is now 21.  

My first child was born when I was 29. He was a healthy 8 lb. baby and I was probably a little in awe of this tiny bit of humanity. I went back to work immediately, primarily because I was able to take my son back to work with me. My husband was a veteran who was completing his bachelors degree and was able to take the baby in the afternoons.

Then in 1981 we decided to have another child. Our son was 6 years old when his sister was born. We were sure that our family was complete. When our daughter was 9 years old, and I was 44, I found that I was pregnant with a third child.

This was totally unplanned and happened despite every precaution we had taken to prevent a pregnancy. In fact I was scheduled for tubal ligation surgery in June – a month after I found out I was pregnant.

I was stunned and embarrassed. Here I was with a 16 and 10 year old and I am expecting another baby at 44. I was immediately advised by both my PCP and my Obstetrician that I was a “high risk” mother. Other than a fibroid tumor that seemed to have attached itself to the growing fetus, I didn’t have any problems with the pregnancy.

The birth of our 3rd child, a girl was relatively easy. After completing a full day of work, I came home to start dinner, but my water broke within the first half hour of getting in the door. Our little girl came 6 hours after my water broke.

Emotionally, my concerns were about how I was going to have enough energy to keep up with a baby. The blessing in it all is that I had a very supportive family, and lots of help from both my mother and mother-in-law.

My experience with this late life baby has been awesome. She has grown into a thoroughly capable competent young woman. I believe I was a more relaxed mother with her, and I think that being older allowed me to engage in more thoughtful parenting practices than I used with my two older children.

Sharing Our Perspectives: Frieda’s Feedback

Frieda has shown a great deal of support for our Project as is a senior advisor who volunteers her time to help us with research. She holds a M.A. in counseling and brings some incredible contributions to our work. She had her son at age 36 while living in Northern California.

Sharon:  How did you react to getting the Advanced Maternal Age stamp on your medical chart (or having that label applied to you) What did it mean to you–if anything?

Frieda:  I don’t really feel like I was given that stamp by my healthcare professionals, other than sharing some concerns that might arise.

I do feel that I got some of that from society, but I mostly chose not to let it affect me. At the time I was living in a pretty progressive area of Northern California and most of my peers had experienced divorce as children and were choosing to wait for marriage and children.

I did however, feel that my OB was overly cautious in my diagnosis of gestational diabetes. I was rigorous about testing my blood. All I wanted to eat was orange juice and ice cream, instead I ate a ton of vegetables and a whole lot of steak. Most evenings I’d sneak one bite of ice cream after dinner! My blood sugar always remained within safe levels.

I had a long and challenging labor, but delivered my son naturally after 36 hours of labor. He was perfect!

Sharon: Do you identify yourself as an “Older Mom”? If yes, what does that mean to you? If not, tell us about that!

Frieda: Yes and there are certainly blessings and challenges in being older mom. While I’m very physically active (and a yoga instructor), I sometimes find it difficult to keep up with my son’s energy. At the same time I have far greater capacities for the kind of emotional challenges (patience, resilience, sacrifice, reflexivity) that arise with parenthood than I had in my twenties. I am a much better mom because of all my experiences.

Share your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you

Sharing Our Perspectives: Feedback from Shelley

 After being referred by a friend, Shelley wrote us and shared her feedback.

Sharon:  How did you react to getting the Advanced Maternal Age stamp on your medical chart (or having that label applied to you) What did it mean to you–if anything?

Shelley:  Finally found the love of life (and honestly wouldn’t have been as good a mother if I were younger…) and finding out I was flagged advanced maternal age definitely burst my excited bubble. Made us worry about our unborn children needlessly.

Sharon: Do you identify yourself as an “Older Mom”? If yes, what does that mean to you? If not, tell us about that!

Shelley: Yes, I’ll be 60 before my oldest graduates college. I worry that he’ll worry about us needlessly.

Share your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you

Sharing Gayle’s Story

Gayle, mom of 3 after age 35Gayle from the State of Georgia found our website while searching on the Internet and wanted to some words of wisdom with our audience.

I always like to provide encouragement to those who would like to give birth to children in their late thirties and beyond. I have three beautiful children, the oldest who is diagnosed with autism. I gave birth to them at age 38, 39, and 42. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the big journey ahead be positive – always believe and don’t listen to those who are discouraging.”

Sharing Susanna’s Story

Twin GirlsI had the pleasure of interviewing Susanna* in person this month. I meet many people in the course of my work and family life but it struck me that this situation was unique and wonderful on many levels. Susanna is a mother of advanced maternal age, having birthed twin daughters a year ago after waiting to be in the right relationship. She is a medical sociologist and feels that our project is important. She showed me photos but asked for a bit of privacy, not sharing her own photo or full name.

Sharon: Tell me about your family and who is in it?

Susanna: My family includes my husband and our twin daughters.

Sharon:  At what age did you start trying to start a family?

Susanna: When I was 41.

Sharon: What life choices or circumstances led you to that point?

Susanna:  I was previously married at age 30 to a man I had been with throughout my twenties. While I tried to get pregnant during that marriage I was (thankfully) unable to, due to what I suspect was his fertility. (He refused to be tested.) We eventually divorced and I enrolled into graduate school to complete my doctorate.

Sharon: Why did you decide to have a child?

Susanna:  I always knew I wanted to experience pregnancy (physiologically) and motherhood at some point in my life; it was simply a matter of finding the right partner. Before I met my second husband (the father of my children), I had considered sperm donation and single motherhood.

[Read more…]

Sharing Our Perspectives: Feedback from Julianne

 

Julianne wrote us as she was expecting her first child at the age of 38. We can’t wait to hear the rest of her story!

Julianne as an Expectant Mom

Julianne as an Expectant Mom

 

Q:  How did you react to getting the Advanced Maternal Age stamp on your medical chart (or having that label applied to you) What did it mean to you–if anything?

A:  I knew the risks and rewards before starting the whole process. I knew that it could be harder for me to get pregnant, and that kids of older parents are at greater risk for certain conditions. However I also knew that the time was right for my husband (currently 42) and myself (currently 38). We started trying a couple of years ago and I got pregnant within 4 months of discontinuing birth control. I then had a miscarriage at 8 weeks. I do think that this was meant to be because it put the pregnancy and our lives into a certain perspective and allowed us to know that this was truly what we wanted. The miscarriage itself was not traumatic to me, though sad. The aftermath of the miscarriage seemed to go on forever, the bleeding wouldn’t stop, the cramping was terrible. I don’t know if this was due to age or not but it did seem I had a harder time than other younger moms.

Then 9 months later I was pregnant again, and our baby is due in just a few days! I am very lucky compared to some of my friends who are trying very hard to get pregnant at our age and cannot. I also had a very easy pregnancy with next to no morning sickness.

We chose to wait until this time in our lives because we have a stable home, stable jobs, a clear idea of how we want to raise our child, self reliance (unfortunately not much of a support system: my husband only has an aging and infirm mother, and my family lives in another city), and self confidence in our values and our earning capabilities. We are smart and creative and plan to work hard to pass these characteristics on to our daughter. When we do the calculations and realize we’ll be retiring right as she goes to college, we get the willies a bit, and its a bit of a shock to think that if she waits as long as we did to have children, that we’ll be in our late 70’s/early 80’s. But medical science has gotten us this far, and the 40’s are the new 30’s right?

All we know is this was the right time for us and we couldn’t be more excited and ready for our baby to arrive.

Share your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you

Sharing Our Perspectives: Feedback from Penny

Penny and Son

Penny and Her 3-Year Old Son

Penny, mother of two, saw the article about us in Austin Woman and felt compelled to write. More to come (we hope):  

Here are some basics (I wanted to share). I would like to be interviewed too:

I had my first child at 35 (now 7yo) and second child at 40 (now 3yo). I am a Type 1 Juvenile Diabetic (diagnosed at 23) and both pregnancies considered ‘high risk’. Both were c-sections. I work full time as an oncology social worker and my husband is a middle school choir teacher.

I did not consciously choose to have children later in life, but I guess I took the ‘scenic path’ towards marriage. I had several long term relationships that were not especially marriage/child focused. Meanwhile I worked in various jobs while basically remaining a ‘professional student’. I wound up with an unfinished PhD in Australia and then completed my MSW in 2004 in Chicago and got married the same year.

Biggest ‘do-over’ wish is that I had given more thought to how strong the urge would be to stay at home with my kids. I like my work, but find working full time serving the needs of cancer patients and being a mother somewhat overwhelming. (One income is not sufficient enough to support the 4 of us.) That said, I LOVE being a mother!

Motherhood Survey Results: Feedback from Erin

Erin, her husband and daughter

Erin, her husband and daughter

We pose a two questions to first-time moms of age 35 or better to see the range of perspectives and ideas that women across the country have on the core topic of this website.

Sharon: How did you react to getting the Advanced Maternal Age stamp on your medical chart (or having that label applied to you) What did it mean to you, if anything?

Erin: I was so excited to be able to have the baby I had always wanted (with no fertility treatment), that I didn’t mind at all that I was considered “advanced age”.

Sharon: Do you identify yourself as an “Older Mom”? If yes, what does that mean to you?

Erin: I find that there are lots more “older moms” out there. But I had my first child at 46, which seems to be out of the norm. I consider anyone over 40 having a child an “older mom”.

Share your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you

Sharing Our Perspectives: Feedback from Lynnette

Lynnette from Washington State gave us feedback on her AMA pregnancies and perspectives:

Sharon: How did you react to getting the Advanced Maternal Age stamp on your medical chart (or having that label applied to you) What did it mean to you, if anything?

Lynnette: With my 1st pregnancy at age 38, I was worried even before I had my 1st doctor appointment. Then every visit was a slap with ultrasounds, tests and lectures on how my age may effect the outcome. I read as much as I could on the subject. I was alone in my peer group. When my son came out healthy and completely perfect, I knew any future babies would be a blessing no matter what. 

Any talk about A.M.A. went in one ear and out the other with the next 2 babies.

Sharon: Do you identify yourself as an “Older Mom”? If yes, what does that mean to you?

Lynnette: Yes,  I proudly let people know that I am an older mom. I have been asked about 3 times if I am my children’s grandmother and it was a little bit of a shock the 1st time but soon, I got tickled at the notion to surprise people of my age and that my beautiful boys are all mine.

I feel it’s important to put it out there that no matter what age you are, your desire to be a mother, by whatever means that is, is natural and should be accepted as nothing more than that!

Lynnette and her son

Lynnette and her son

A healthy and mentally sound woman of any age can be a mother.

Motherhood Survey Results: Feedback from Melissa

Melissa_with kidsWe pose a two questions to first-time moms of age 35 or better to see the range of perspectives and ideas that women across the country have on the core topic of this website and upcoming book.

Sharon: How did you react to getting the Advanced Maternal Age stamp on your medical chart (or having that label applied to you) What did it mean to you, if anything?

Melissa: I wasn’t even aware they did that. In fact, my practice of midwives may not have.

Sharon: Do you identify yourself as an “Older Mom”? If yes, what does that mean to you?

Melissa: I don’t say I am an older mom, but I do often say, “I was older when I started having kids,” in reference to so many of my high school peers who started much earlier than I. My own mom was just shy of 42 when she had me, so I always reasoned that if she could do it, I could!

Share your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you