From age 27 when I first married through age 38, I was regularly asked “when are you going to start a family”? I had a set answer, one that seemed very socially acceptable: “I do not think that my husband and I are going to have children.” I was perfectly content with that response both in my head and my heart.
Fast forward to the present day: age 44 and being married to a different, caring man who comes from a large family. This chapter of my life is the best and includes a healthy infant boy. Sweet Shannon was a pure miracle or accident depending on one’s perspective. Is the old adage, “good things come to those who wait (and wait and wait)”? This one was worth the wait.
Shannon (yes, that is a boy) is a very smiley seven-month old as I write this. With bright blue eyes, fair skin and fine, strawberry blonde hair. He is what empowers me most in my busy, ambitious life that includes owning a one-year-old retail business, co-founding and leading marketing and business development for a new marketing research agency, and being a writer.
I am proud to have an infant son again. I hold him dearly and am truly amazed. He nurses, nibbles at pureed vegetables and smiles with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen on a baby. His smile melts my heart, truly.
Just one year ago my husband and I were awaiting the results of the CVS test, the much dreaded and highly accurate embryonic test for genetic abnormalities. I held my breath during the procedure in the perinatologist’s office. The same lack of air enveloped me when I got the call back from the genetic counselor whom I know well. She was calling with good results this time. I was already 43 years of age and having been through the test twice before I knew the odds. I exhaled and smiled. I haven’t stopped smiling.
Like most babies, Shannon has suffered from many minor infant ailments: jaundice at birth, colic during the first three months of life, hair loss at four months, a bit of eczema, and he also tends to spit up more than other babies. (This is what bibs and burp cloths are for.) Nothing rattles me though. Shannon takes it all in stride too–smiling, laughing at all of us but mostly at his big brother and soon-to-be adopted sister.
Our family is bigger than I could have ever imagined or dreamed. At age 38 I was busy with my career as a market research executive, lots of business and personal travel, volunteer work and hobbies. I liked young children though I wasn’t prepared to have my own.
What changed? Not the proverbial biological clock but an awakening instead. This was the right place, person and time in my life. Today at age 44 ½ I have two healthy sons and a daughter in the middle. They are all active, bright and loving.
Every nook and cranny of my pre-child home is filled with their lives. Their books, stuffed animals, building blocks, clothing, coloring pages, and other remnants of their childhood are everywhere. Organization hangs by a thread. We can still find everything we need (most days) but it is far from my neat and clutter-free days when I inhabited this place on my own, just five and a half years ago. It is never dull or un-exciting. Someone always needs something and I am able to help, at least one of them at a time. We are outnumbered but getting used to it.
Sibling bonds are already forming. They joke and giggle together. They run, pull hair and sing together. They are already making music that’s beautiful to my ears. The “big kids” ages 4 and 20 months tickle Shannon and make him giggle. I could not have imagined this time. This is my time to have a family. This is my advanced maternal age. It’s filled with sincere appreciation for these young lives and their love. It’s a very rewarding time in my life.
Sharon Munroe owns Little Green Beans, a unique children’s and maternity consignment shop, is an executive in a market research agency called ReconMR and has 3 young children. She blogs for each business and is thrilled to be working with Jennifer on this exciting new and personal writing project.