My goal was to have all of my kids in my 30s. Then New Year’s Eve happened. Surprise! One more baby, and yes, I was in my 40s. (Oh my!) I was a little in shock, sure, but really happy about it! The stick turned pink and tears of shock and joy flowed simultaneously. My baby is now four-years-old and I can assure you its pretty awesome to have a baby in your 40s. However, people have had so many opinions about a woman in her 40s having a baby. Opinions I didn’t even ask for.
Between 2007 and 2011, the birth rate for women aged 40-44 went up 10 percent—that just means more mom-friends in your age group!
Getting Over People Assuming You’re a Grandma
I remember telling a few of my friends and family members that I was having another baby and I can’t begin to tell you how rude people were. “You’re going to be mistaken for grandma at the pickup line.” “Your grandparents are here to pick you up Brody…” Blah blah blah …
Bobby and I are in a solid marriage, and we had three little ones already, so what was the big deal with having another? What’s wrong with having a big family? I think it’s pretty cool. They thought we were ruining our lives. Life was over for the Schaffers. Of course, this was simply not the case. To me, another baby just meant more love and happiness in our home. And the grandma thing didn’t scare me. We try to take care of ourselves and certainly don’t look like grandparents or plan on looking like them anytime soon.
“The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.” —Ewan McGregor
Healthcare for Baby Number Four
I’m still in shock over this, but our insurance plan included the fourth baby free of charge. Did you say free? Bobby came home from work one day and said, “Our insurance feels so bad for us for having another baby, they threw Brody in.” Okay, thank you very much. Regardless of what size your family is, many healthcare plans today now include maternity services, making it less out-of-pocket. So having a baby in your 40s is more affordable. And who knew the 4th was free? Score!
Keep Your Overall Health In Mind
I think your health is a little bit more important than your age. I am no doctor by any means, but being healthy—meaning eating right, working out, not abusing alcohol, being smoke-free—really speaks more so than the number. If you are in your 40s and healthy, you’ve got a great chance of having a healthy baby—as opposed to a girl in her 20s with awful health habits. I try to make good choices and I think it helped with my fourth pregnancy.
In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that while the birthrates for women under 40 had been declining for years, those for women in their early 40s were increasing — by 3 percent every year since 1982.
We’re More Established
Our life is definitely more set up in our 40s, than our 20s and 30s. I am able to stay at home because of my husband’s career. Years ago, when I had Jackson, I had to return to teaching for the year. I was wrecked by it, but we simply couldn’t afford for me to stay home. Bobby was fresh out of the Navy and he was just starting a dental practice. We’re much better equipped for having a baby in our 40s than we were at 30. Now, I can stay home and raise the kids, for which I am forever grateful.
So What, I Gained A Few Pounds
After having my first two kids my body bounced right back. I was in my early 30s and it was easy. Now I know that being in your 40s means it can take longer to get back to your pre-baby weight. Actually there is no “bouncing back” at all, its more like slowly treading back. The good news is you simply don’t care. So what, I gained a few pounds? I wasn’t worried about it since I knew what to do, and made sure I stuck to a plan. I lost weight at my own pace and focused my attention on my kids. It’s hard to be obsessed with the weight with all these little ones looking up to me. It’s the price you pay for having a big family and one later on in life. Who cares, anyway?
“It just occurred to me that the majority of my diet is made up of the foods that my kid didn’t finish.” —Carrie Underwood
I Can Do It All
When I had my first baby I had no idea what I wanted to do. Teaching was fun, but it wasn’t my passion. Now that I am in my 40s I feel more confident knowing what I like and don’t like, and I am a much better mom, a better wife and a better friend. Now, I enjoy where we are in our lives as opposed to chasing the next dream. I take in the views, the milestones, every laughter and every cry, and I feel everything with every raw nerve endings exposed. I am in an epic place in my life and I do believe it does have a lot to do with being over 40. Having baby Brody just made me better. The moment he was put into my arms, my heart exploded like a volcano and I felt so empowered being a mother to four incredible little beings.
What an incredible journey it is having a baby in your 40s. I welcome it to all of my mommy friends. If you are in good health, why not? Awesome people should bring more awesome people into this world. The world is a better place with Brody in it, that’s for sure. He brings so much light and happiness into our home, Bobby and I couldn’t imagine life without him.
More than 100,000 Americans give birth in their 40s each year.