I had my first baby when I was 42, our second when I was 45. Both pregnancies were considered “geriatric”. I am no doctor – but SURELY there has to be a friendlier term than “geriatric” for ladies having babies after the age of 35. I would have loved to have our kids earlier – but Mother Nature and my uterus had a completely different plan. I get asked a LOT what it’s like having kids later in life. So, let me tell ya:
I thought I knew “tired”. I didn’t. When I had my son I was so tired that I would hallucinate. I worked full time, had about a hot second of maternity leave and BAM – a son who WOULD. NOT. SLEEP. I remember standing in the shower – just kidding. I didn’t shower. My teeth were hairy and my hair was, ummmmm…how shall I say – a matted mess with 2 inches of grey I didn’t have either the time or the energy to give a lick about. I was NOT the mom that I had in my mind when we decided to have kids. I was a complete disaster who could be found at any moment either crying, rocking and crying, rocking, crying, and feeding OR rocking, crying, feeding, and, um, more crying.
You don’t realize how bad your vision has gotten until you try to look at your new baby in your arms and you have to hold him back another 4 inches so your eyes can focus. When asked, that is usually the one memory that still makes me laugh (side note – my son is now 5 and I JUST got glasses…procrastinate much?).
The Body: All of this “bouncing back” I’d heard moms talk about – “Oh after my baby my body bounced right back”. I had no ‘bouncing’. There existed zero bouncing. Lots of drooping and hanging and swaying – no bouncing. I had kept myself in pretty good shape for most of my adult life – and now I was looking in the mirror at someone who was unrecognizable. As soon as I was allowed – I was pushing my son in his stroller for 1 mile a day, then 2, then 3 – then I was at 6-7 miles a day – feeling pretty bouncy! Then I got pregnant with our daughter. No bounce. Grrrrrrrr. LOTS of sweat. No bounce. A year after having had our daughter – I was still 40 pounds OVER my pre baby weight. I was so frustrated, distraught, still no bounce. Then, I started kickboxing at a little gym near our house. Wait – so you’re telling me I get to HIT STUFF? YES PLEASE! Still no bounce – it’s been a slow, steady process – but I definitely have less waddle. And, might I say, a decent right hook 🙂
Perspective: As a new mom you get a LOT (and I mean A LOT) of advice. One thing I was told over and over was “It’s hard now, but you’ll miss it when they grow up.” For me, most if not all of my friends’ kids were in high school, headed to college. Some were even married with their own kids – making my friends GRANDPARENTS. I had the privilege of knowing these kids their entire lives, being there for the good, bad, fun, hard and happy. I know exactly how fast it goes. With that experience, I DO soak in the little moments between the madness. I do take time to be IN the moment when I have deadlines, laundry, life. I have the perspective I know so many of my friends wish they had when their kids were small – I feel lucky to acutely understand that I am going to blink and they will be on their own. I feel lucky to be their mom – even on days when I wonder how I am going to do it.
Career: This one is a catch 22. I love my work. I love my kids. Being a full-time business owner/mom/wife/daughter/friend with two small kids at the age of 48 is, shall we say, challenging? I love that my kids know I have to work. I would also love it if my kids would not choose the EXACT time a conference call starts to lose their ever-loving minds over the fact so-and-so has two more goldfish in their bowl than the other or that I gave them a snack on the blue plate instead of the pink plate because I ALWAYS have my snack on the pink plate!! Bright side – having kids a bit later afforded me time to start a business, grow the business, and hire a team of outstanding people who force me to take time to soak in the small things.
I hear people talk about the “perfect” time to have kids. The honest truth is, there’s likely never a “perfect” time – but there is a good time for YOU and your significant other. Follow your hearts, enjoy sleeping in, drink an entire cup of coffee while it’s HOT – and prepare to love like you’ve never experienced. Ever.
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