I can still remember packing my hospital bag the day I was set to be induced with my son. Before my husband and I got in the car to take our last drive with our little guy on the inside, I reviewed the bag's important contents one more time. Take home outfit? Check. Teeny tiny diapers? Check. And of course, I had my dentures, housecoat, support stockings, reading glasses, Polident, Metamucil, and walker to help me get around during labor. Because at age 39, I was considered advanced maternal age after all.
I jest about packing dentures to give birth, but this is how the medical community makes you feel if you're pregnant and past the "advanced" age of 35. This term and others used to describe "older" moms like me and Meghan Markle, such as geriatric, are not only ridiculous, but demeaning. It's also inaccurate. Thirty-five is not geriatric. Eighty-five is.
Perhaps a woman who is pregnant over age 35 should be referred to as knowledgeable, comfortable in her own skin, self-assured, and well-adjusted, but not geriatric.
Obviously, I understand that a woman cannot conceive at 85. But let's get real for a second. Most of my mom friends got married after 30, and started their families after 35. I also have several friends who had babies at age 40 and beyond. Which makes me wonder what antiquated standard we're using to define geriatric pregnancies. Maybe in the middle ages, women wed in their teens and had children before they turned 20, but in the year 2018, that is more taboo than being pregnant at 43.
When you think about it, the window of time during which it's socially acceptable and medically advisable to have a baby is extremely narrow. While there's nothing wrong with being a younger mom, I'm pretty sure my own mother would have keeled over if I'd announced I was pregnant straight out of college. But 34 is the last year you can have a baby? As modern moms, I feel like we can't win!
Of course, there is no denying the risks and potential difficulties associated with having a baby after that "magical" cutoff age of 34. I struggled to get pregnant for a while, then suffered a devastating pregnancy loss at age 38. That being said, a younger woman could also be dealing with infertility or suffer a loss; there's just less of a chance. The truth is, there can be many hurdles on the journey to baby no matter what age you are.
I think the bottom line is that all women need to be aware how age is a factor in family planning. But everyone is different. Thirty five plus is not too old to have a baby in my experience. I safely carried this pregnancy after our loss, and ended up giving birth to a healthy baby boy.
Now, I'm enjoying every moment with my newborn, despite my supposed elderly status. Sure, I'm tired, but I was more tired when I had my first child at age 29. This time, I knew to expect I wouldn't be sleeping for a while. I'm wiser in many other ways as well. Over the past decade, I've learned so much about myself as a person and a parent. Perhaps a woman who is pregnant over age 35 should be referred to as knowledgeable, comfortable in her own skin, self-assured, and well-adjusted, but not geriatric. I'm even considering trying to have another baby, which would mean I'd give birth at age 40. That is, if I don't slip and break my hip first!