As a young girl, early into adolescence, long before romantic relationships were a part of life, we are well aware of the “consequences” of romantic relationships. We are taught about the dangers of becoming sexually active and – God forbid – pregnant at a young age. Knowledge and fear arm us well and many young people of my generation did what we felt we needed to to prevent unwanted pregnancies from occurring before we were ‘ready’. More than ever before we waited to consider starting our own families. We perused education, we established careers or we traveled the land, we explored our passions and spent time fostering relationships before ‘settling down’. The choice to balk at societal expectations and live a life without children also grew in popularity. All the while, medical practices and technology were also advancing.
Suddenly, when you find that perfect spouse, you decide whether or not procreating is an adventure you want to take together, but you realize you zoomed from the ‘dangerous because you’re too young’ stage of life to the ‘dangerous or difficult because you’re too old’ stage. Fertility issues are abundant in your social circles, and you hear the biological window of opportunity slowly starting to swing closed. BUT many men and women start their families without much trouble no matter the age and really, 40 IS the new 30 these days anyway. Right?!
And so here I am. On the other side of that pendulum swing, expecting our second child and not having the movie perfect pregnancy that I always expected.
But let’s back up for a second.
At 36 years old I was pregnant for the first time in my life. Naive in my expectations, we entered the ‘not trying – not preventing’ phase. It’s a wonderful time because you’re not focused, not obsessed, and blissfully optimistic. When it looked as if this tactic wasn’t going to work for us we began ‘trying’. Fortunately for us we did not have difficulty conceiving and once I started tracking BBT and ovulation, the news came quickly.
My pregnancy was labelled “advanced maternal age’ and came with lots of extra screening, monitoring, and gestational diabetes. Despite all that symptoms were minimal (in retrospect) and aside from a particularly arduous birth experience, it was relatively uneventful.
At 38, I find myself expecting one last time but this pregnancy has be wrought with unpleasant symptoms. Sickness, hypertension, anemia, smell and food aversions, sciatic pain, pressure, insomnia, anxiety, and a long list of others have joined me on this journey. Despite all of this, as this pregnancy draws to a close I don’t wish for it to end. I know that this is the last. I know that life will change in unexpected ways and I have the uncertainty of self wondering if I will be able to navigate the new normal.
I have known since I was a young girl that waiting ‘too long’ makes child bearing more difficult. What I didn’t expect was that it would also make child rearing more challenging as well.
Having said that, this is an adventure I would embark upon all over again, given the chance.
The time I spent in my 20s and early 30s working, learning, and soul searching has made me the person I am today. Welcoming our first child at 36, the whirlwind that the last two years with him has been, has made me the parent I am today. The child growing and moving within me, the one who completes our family, will shape the mother I will become moving forward, and for the rest of my life.
These two brothers will be my greatest adventure, my greatest creation, and my proudest achievement. Their existence in this world is nothing short of amazing. I have worked, and am working, very hard for them to be here.
Pregnancy is not easy for me. Oh how I wish it were. I wish my body was younger, more energetic, sharper, and more patient….
I am absolutely grateful for every symptom, every run to the washroom, every nauseating car ride, every headache, every uneaten meal, and every medication I must take to get them here. I am grateful that despite how long the road has been so far, that the real journey is just beginning.
I am a few short weeks away from meeting my second son. While I may be happy for some of the physical strain to come to a close, I am in no hurry to wish away this miraculous stage of life.
It’s not movie perfect, but it’s mine.