MYTH Busting on Pregnancy

From, Dr. Linda Shanti's Blog

From, Dr. Linda Shanti’s Blog

Since becoming a mom at an advanced maternal age, licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Linda Shanti’s passions have expanded to include supporting women during pregnancy and postpartum. She writes and holds groups and individual sessions for women exploring how pregnancy and motherhood changes one’s body, emotions, and identity. She is based in San Francisco.

In her blog RecoveryMama she recently posted on some of the myths women commonly hear regarding pregnancy:





  1. It is a glowing time.
  2. All pregnancies are a choice that is wanted and/or planned.
  3.  Having a child will create a happy family/marriage/partnership.
  4. All pregnancies result in live births.
  5. Only straight women under the age of 35 who are the biological mothers and married to men have happy and healthy babies.
  6. All mothers and fathers will be happy that they are having a baby.
  7. There is a right amount of weight to gain.
  8. Eating disorders do not happen during pregnancy, due to the “protective factor” of the baby.
  9. Only un-medicated vaginal births are good and the birth plan is a straightforward process.
  10. Depression does not occur during pregnancy.

What to REALLY Expect – Panel for Expectant Moms

Bump_Club_LogoOn May 22nd, I had the pleasure of being on a panel with a distinguished group of speakers, all of whom support women with childbirth, which was hosted by the Bump Club, a fast-growing group for expectant and new moms in Austin, Chicago and Minneapolis. Other speakers on our panel included Wendy Howard, NR, BSN, a labor and delivery nurse, Cheryl Sipowski, MS, LPC, a counselor for couples and individuals, and Dawn Gibson, MSW who supports mothers with individual mind-body coaching.


Here’s what I told the Austin audience:

It was through conversations with other mothers that I realized that many women want to share their experiences with fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum in a supportive environment.

I started telling my story of a first pregnancy and childbirth at age 40 about 5 years ago to close friends and family. There was no Bump Club or other local group for new “older” mothers. I was pretty much on my own.

Fortunately since February 2011, I’ve owned a children’s and maternity store called Little Green Beans, which helped me a lot through my last pregnancy (from both a support and baby gear acquisition perspective).

  • I delivered a healthy baby boy at age 43 at 11 months. He is my third (and last) child.
  • My middle child, a daughter was adopted from foster care locally in 2012. She has been mine and my husband’s to raise since she was 5 days old. She’s now 2 years and 9 months old and resembles Dora The Explorer in her looks and personality.

My conversations with other women lead to a lot introspection in 2011 and early 2012, the writing down of my stories and then we birthed this website in April 2012.

The project was a feature story in May in Austin Woman Magazine and many of our stories have been featured nationally, including on BlogHer Moms this week.

Now what to REALLY Expect for the upcoming months…

You may or may not be surprised to know that the range of pregnancy experience is broad among women with no significant reproductive issues nor chronic, pre-existing health conditions. Age is not the best standard by which to judge who will have a “Text Book Pregnancy” and who will face barriers with fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and post partum.

Each of us will have a different set of experiences during each pregnancy.

A DISCLAIMER I need to share, like the one I include on all written of my materials: You should not rely on the information mentioned tonight as an alternative to obtaining specific medical advice from your own doctor or healthcare provider. Any information we share is NOT intended to be used for any medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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Podcast: Our Interview with Mamas on Bedrest and Beyond

By Sharon Munroe

What a great chance to be featured on Mamas on Bedrest and Beyond in their Podcast.

From their website:

  • Mamas on Bedrest, are you 35 or older? When you started your prenatal visits, did your OB/midwife office slap a big “AMA” or “Advanced Maternal Age” stamp or sticker on you chart?


They did on Sharon Munroe’s chart and that one stamp set an uncomfortable tone on her entire pregnancy. Sharon felt inundated with negativity and statistics about why her pregnancy was at risk because she was an older mama. But Sharon wasn’t daunted. She went on to have a completely normal healthy pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

  • This experience prompted her to make changes for her next pregnancy 3 years later.
  • Sharon now shares her experience, resources and pearls of wisdom with older mamas as the owner and editor of Advanced Maternal Age. Sharon’s mission is to get rid of the label “advanced maternal age” and for obstetrical professionals to view each woman’s pregnancy as a unique entity, while also supporting, informing and empowering older mamas to strive for the pregnancy of their dreams.

Hear the Podcast:



Visible Life: IVF, personhood, and the Two-Week Wait. (from

Belle Bogs has written a beautiful, almost poetic, article that gives us a glimpse into both her and others’ experience with infertility and the debate and science behind IVF.


“I looked up from the notebook where I’d been writing and sketching zygotes—did she say she creates life?—but then Ramos went on to talk about the life of the family: mothers and fathers and children, or mothers and mothers, or fathers and fathers, birthdays and holidays, traditions passed on, one generation to another. That is the life she helps create, the life she or another embryologist offers me and my husband.”

Read the full article on

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Kristin’s Story

As I handed my first husband the divorce papers, he said to me, “The one thing I feel kind of bad about, leaving you, is that I know you wanted to have kids, and you’re already… 33.”

I know I know I know, I was thinking in my head as I calmly said, “I’ll be fine.”  Despite my bravado, that comment set off a mini panic inside.  Tick… tick… tick…  As Marisa Tomei famously said in My  Cousin Vinnie: “My clock!  It’s ticking – it’s ticking –  it’s ticking!”

I met the man who would become my second husband later that summer, and married him two years later.  Swept away by romance and love, I silenced the clock and focused on our marriage for the first two years.   My husband started commuting to Texas for three weeks a month, and we knew we couldn’t start a family with that kind of schedule, so we made plans to move to Austin.   In November of 2008, we left behind my house and my life of ten years in Atlanta to drive halfway across the country to our new home.

A month later, we were pregnant.  When I tell the story, I like to say that all it took was for us to be in the same city at the same time.

It was New Year’s Eve on the day we found out we were expecting, two weeks after my 38th birthday.  I had purchased a pregnancy test the day before, and for some reason was holding onto it.  I decided to go ahead and give it a whirl that morning, and as I sat and waited for the verdict, the little “plus” sign appeared in the tiny window.  I goggled at it for a few seconds, and then a smile split my face and I tried to conceal it as I walked toward my husband in our new one-bedroom apartment.    I handed him the stick.

Hey, we’re having a baby!” he said, and hugged me.   And then, “Why am I holding a pee stick?”

The months went by, and when our son was born in September of 2009, I was nearly 39.   After months of gestational diabetes, my doctor sent me to a specialist for regular ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s size and health, considering my “advanced maternal age”.   I eschewed coffee.  I watched my carbs like a fanatic.  I exercised twice a day – gently, of course.  I took my folic acid and slept on my left side.  I dutifully read every baby book in sight and succeeded in driving myself crazy.

One week before my due date, I was feeling extremely anxious about my baby, wiggling and moving around every time I didn’t think he was kicking and moving enough.  My eyes begged my OB to tell me that we were ready to go.  She said, “Look, I think it’s time.  We can either induce you and you’re likely to be in labor all day and have a c-section anyway because he’s going to be a big baby… or we can go ahead and schedule the c-section now.”

I said, “Sign me up.  Whatever is best for the baby is fine for me.”

I was incredibly relieved to get to the hospital the next morning, and ignored the kvetching from my husband about the early hour.  Just wait, buster.  This is cake, I thought.

As soon as our son was born, I sang a lullaby to him and he stopped crying.  At that moment, I didn’t notice my age.  I didn’t notice anything but the fact that I had a sweet baby in my arms, just like any new mother.

It was the most beautiful day of my life.  For an old woman.

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Kristin is a mother of a sweet 2-year-old boy and wife to a fantastic 6th-generation Texan, living in Austin, Texas.  Loves: her baby boy, airplanes, airports, classic cars, sports, Italy, and dessert; not necessarily in that order. You can reach her via Twitter @AustinKVS or via her blog

Kim’s Story

Like most girls, I wanted to have children.  In my twenties, I thought that someday I would have four.   Something got in the way-no husband.  I knew that I didn’t want to parent alone, so I held out for Mr. Right.  Well, it took me a while to find him.  At one point in my early 30’s, my mother had actually mentioned that I just go get pregnant (MOM!!!) without getting married because I was getting up there in age. I started dating my husband (Jason) when I was 34 and we married when I was 36.  Because of “my age” we started officially trying soon after we returned from our honeymoon.  I’m pretty sure my mother expected me to come home from our honeymoon pregnant.  She had actually expressed this thought out loud to some of my co-workers shortly after the wedding!

And so it began. In Novemeber 2006 I went off the pill, saw my OB/GYN for a checkup, and started on prenatal vitamins.  I really didn’t expect to have any problems conceiving.  In fact, a few friends had told me that they had conceived within months of going off the pill.  Needless to say, I was disappointed when this didn’t happen to me.  After six months of trying, I went back to my doctor.  She suggested we do some tests because of my age.  My age? I thought I was young! I felt young, I was healthy, no major health issues.

So the tests began.  Not just for me but for Jason, too.  Lucky for me he didn’t object to it and he was supportive of all I would need to go through.  His sperm counts were “perfect”………..whew!  Then I went into surgery for a D&C just to check things out. All good there, too!  My doctor thought for sure I’d get pregnant, but I didn’t.  Next, I had a Fallopian tube study– again all good.

We were now almost to September 2007. Why wasn’t I pregnant??? We had been trying for almost a year.

Did I mention that during this time period we had sold a house, built and moved into a new one, and I had lost my mother to cancer?  Stressed? YES! YES! YES!

In early October, I found out I was pregnant!!!  We were beyond ecstatic.  But it was early, and my levels were not very high.  Back to the doctor for more lab work the following week. My levels still low, but they put me on progesterone.  Another recheck in a few days.  By then I had started to bleed a little.  I miscarried.  I was upset of course, but it was early, and we hadn’t told anyone-so luckily I didn’t have to do go back and tell everyone that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.  We decided that in a couple of weeks we would take a little weekend trip to celebrate our first anniversary and get our minds off of it.  The next  month I went on Clomid to stimulate my ovaries.  It worked!!!  I became pregnant after one month!   But again the disappointment.  I miscarried at about six weeks.

So now I was worried.  The self doubt really came out.  It was all my fault, something was wrong with me.  Maybe God didn’t think I’d be a good mother.  I missed my mother.  Next, it was suggested that I see a fertility specialist.  It had been over a year of trying.

So I made an appointment.  I tried to relax but it was really consuming me.  Lucky for me I have a husband that was very supportive of me during all of this (and some really good girlfriends too!).  We went to our first appointment with a new Dr. in January 2008.  It was very overwhelming to say the least, even for people in the medical profession (my husband and I are both registered nurses).  We met with a nurse, nurse practitioner, someone from billing, and finally the doctor.  After talking with the billing/insurance lady we realized how money driven this practice was.  She suggested that we change our insurance because our current would cover IUI,  but if we needed IVF-the other insurance we could get through our employer would cover it.  We went through our health and pregnancy histories and treatment options were given to us.  More blood work for me to start off with.  They started off talking about ovulation stimulating drugs and quickly moved on to intrauterine insemination.  Within a few minutes they were talking about invitro and egg donors!  After all, are you ready for this ?……… I was over 35!  WAIT A MINUTE……..this was too fast for us.  We had been able to conceive, didn’t want someone else’s egg  (at least not yet) and we were nervous about the possibility of multiples.  Yes, I had wanted four children, but not at once–and that was years ago.  I had smartened up.

It was decided at that appointment that we would start off by trying some stimulating drugs.  Honestly, now it all seems like a blur.  We spent the next few months back and forth to the dr’s, giving me injections and having sex.  UGGHHH………it all became so tedious.  My husband and I had always had a great sex life, but now we were being told WHEN to have it.  Definitely a downer.  We would do a series of injections to stimulate my ovaries, have ultrasounds to confirm that an egg was there, then have sex on such and such a day–whether or not either of us were in the “mood”.  I’m pretty sure that there were a few times in that period when sex was the furthest thing from our minds.  I guess this went on for 3-4 months–nothing.  The next step was IUI.  But there was a chance of multiples with IUI, probably JUST twins though.  JUST TWINS!!!  I think Jason fell off his chair.   It was one thing to have twins naturally but …..
I have a few friends with twins, some via IUI or IVF and a couple naturally.  It’s hard.  I wasn’t so sure I could handle it.

It was now that we decided to take a break.  Not a break from our marriage but a break from all this craziness.  We felt like we weren’t us anymore.  My 38th birthday was coming up, and I just wanted to relax and celebrate it with Jason and a few friends.  There was an annual festival in our city that we always went to. Not that I consider myself a big drinker, but I did like to have a glass or two with dinner or on a night out.  I rarely drank during my treatments because I didn’t want to mess anything up.  So we celebrated with a few, three or four wine slushies.  I was feeling pretty good.

A few weeks later I was due for my period.  We had some decisions to make.  Would we continue our break?  Was it time to try IUI?  I was late but just a couple days.  But I was always on time, like clockwork.  The morning of day five or six, I decided to take a pregnancy test.  I’m not even sure I told Jason that I was going to.  It was a Thursday morning, June 26th to be exact.  I peed on the stick, got into the shower, and forgot about it.  As I was drying off, I glanced over at the stick.  THE LINE WAS REALLY BLUE!!!!!!!!!  I’m pretty sure I was jumping up and down at this point.  I wanted to scream out to Jason, but he had gotten up early that day to go to the gym before work.  The excitement was overwhelming.  Pretty soon I heard the garage door open.  The minute he saw me, he knew.  I was pregnant!

Later that day I went to the dr’s for an “official” test.  I was indeed pregnant.  At this point they scheduled me to come back in on Monday for repeat blood work. Yup, still pregnant.  Now for weekly blood work and ultrasounds.  I won’t say it was smooth sailing from then on.  I was leery.  I had miscarried twice before and knew it could happen again.  I had tested positive for an anti-platelet antibody, so they put me on Lovenox, a blood thinner.  That meant daily injections.  By week nine (I think) we saw the baby’s heart moving on the ultrasound.  I think it was then that I really started to believe it.

For the most part, I had a pretty routine pregnancy.  I did end up delivering via C-section, something I had really wanted to avoid. But I had a beautiful baby girl at 11:41 pm 2/24/2009, with my husband right there by my side. She amazes me everyday, and I feel so blessed to have her.

If there is one thing I can say it is to just try to relax.  Obviously physical reasons for infertility do need to be ruled out, but being yourself and enjoying your partner goes a long way too.  (and I’m pretty sure those wine slushies helped a little to relax me that night. I’m not exactly sure that’s the night we conceived but it’s pretty close.

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Julie’s Story

I am pleased to be writing a true story with a very happy ending! My husband and I met when we were 23 years old. We dated for 7 years before we got engaged. We were in no big hurry! He finally proposed just before my 30th birthday- whew! I was already feeling the steady tick, tick, tick of my biological clock, but could tell that he was not quite “there” yet. We decided that we would start trying to get pregnant once we were married.

We were married in July of 2005. My husband was 31 years old and I was 30 years old at that time. We began trying pretty much right away. That same fall, my grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I spent a lot of time with her, my aunt and my mom. During this time I found out that all three of them had gone through early menopause for various reasons. It left me very unsettled. I sought out my gynecologist and explained the situation- we had been trying to get pregnant for about 6 months AND had a family history of early menopause. I was hoping that she would say, “No worries, everything will be fine!”.  But instead, she ordered a bunch of blood tests and wanted to do laparoscopy.  Now I was really concerned.

The first round of blood tests came back with an alarmingly high FSH level. Now I was REALLY panicking! We began Clomid and then quickly progressed to injectables and IUI’s. Month after month there was always a negative pregnancy test. I became more and more frustrated and worried. I sought out every possible alternative treatment as well- acupuncture, yoga for fertility, Chinese herbs, dairy-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free, and an alcohol-free diet! We met with several reproductive endocrinologists. The first one we met with told us that I was not a good candidate and our only option was egg donor IVF (he told me this within about 10 minutes of meeting us- my husband pretty much had to scrape me up off the floor). The second one was willing to do IVF with us, but warned that our chances were not good. The third (and final) doctor was a breath of fresh air and gave us a glimmer of hope (and was also more affordable!).

All in all, we did 12 IUI’s and 3 IVF cycles without success. Each cycle took more of toll on me. My husband stayed positive throughout. He was a rock and always had an amazing outlook. I, on the other hand, was an absolute wreck! I knew after the third IVF cycle that I just couldn’t do it again. I had to get off the rollercoaster at last. It had been 5 years since we began trying to get pregnant and we had been doing some form of treatment the entire time. We searched our hearts and realized all we really wanted was a baby- it didn’t really matter how he/she came to us.

We began the adoption process in December 2009. We were excited to begin a new chapter. We attended classes and completed our home study. In April 2010, just weeks after completing our home study, I found out that I was pregnant- NATURALLY!!! It was absolutely unbelievable! We were incredibly surprised and terrified! For the first several weeks of my pregnancy I was waiting for the other shoe to drop- it just seemed too good to be true. I wanted so badly to be excited, but was so scared to actually believe it was true. Fortunately because of my history we were able to continue with the fertility clinic for the first several weeks of my pregnancy and had an ultrasound every week. I will never forget the day we first saw the heartbeat. It finally seemed real! My beautiful baby boy arrived exactly 3 weeks early on December 14, 2010 (just a little over a month after my 36th birthday)! He is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and he was well worth the wait.

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Julie is Mama to the absolute sweetest 16-month old boy and a Kindergarten teacher to 44 fabulous students.  She has a fabulous, loving husband and lives in Rochester, NY.!