Pregnancy After 43 - Wake Forest,NC

Updated on December 22, 2008
C.C. asks from Wake Forest, NC
22 answers

I am the mother of a terrific 7-year-old, and am thinking about having another. I am concerned, however, about the potential risks and complications associated with having a child at my age (43)and also about what it might be like to be an "older" parent. Also, my older child has some special needs, which is the reason I have held off on having another for this long. I have been worried that I wouldn't be able to take care of my older child as well as a new baby. Lately, though, I have been having strong urges to have another child (feeling that if I am ever going to have another I should have it sooner rather than later.) Yet, I am conflicted. Both my husband and I are worried about how another child will impact our marriage. The stress of having a child with special needs (an incurable disease) put our marriage to the test over the past 7 years and we are just beginning to reconnect as a couple. Also, finances are an issue. But I am one of a large family and I know how wonderful it is to have siblings. I would love for my child to have a companion (even if they are 8-9 years apart) as he goes through life. I guess it's one of those situations where everything "logical" points to not having another child. But I'm just having a hard time accepting that reality. Especially when I find myself staring at mothers with babies.... The issue feels very complicated. I wonder if there are others out there with experience in this area?
Thanks!
C.

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L.O.

answers from Charlotte on

It sounds like you do know the answer is having another child, even if it were medically *perfect* would still cause stress in your life. Also, as the eldest of 8 kids I can honestly tell you that the kids more than 5 years younger than I am--they are like strangers to me. I was in HS and they were in elementary school. I went to college when two of them were born. I was born to 'young' parents (19) and two of my siblings were born to 'old' parents (over 40) and they HATE having old parents.

The fact that you've already got a child with medical/health issues and as a unit you have financial issues, I would never dream of bringing another child into the mix.

My mom is 60 and still stares at moms with babies and wishes she had one--and then reminds herself that it had to end at some point. There is nothing 'wrong' with wistfully thinking about another baby, but the reality of it sounds like a very bad idea indeed in your particular situation.

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B.S.

answers from Huntington on

I don't know if i chance it or not. It is up to you,I would not want reasurence for something like that(the choice). That is a choice you are going to have to make. And you already know that down syndrom is high in your age range. So what does your husband think , talk it over with him.

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M.P.

answers from Charlotte on

You are wise to consider this carefully. Your chances of having a child with Down syndrome are higher now, and even though it might be picked up by an amniocentesis, you would face the possible prospect of a termination. Why not adopt? The process is challenging but can be done. Our family did an international adoption after two biological children. We have never been sorry. M.

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P.P.

answers from Charlotte on

I am with you! OK, I will tell everyone my age since you did...I am 42 and have a beautiful 15 month old girl. I am afraid to have another, but when my doctor delivered my baby girl, he told me to keep my options open and not get sterilized, because I wasn't sure if I wanted another one. I am considering it and I am going to go over the issues with my doctor who is wonderful!!! I did have tests to see if she was alright and I thank GOD who blessed me with a healthy baby. I would reccomend the CVS test to check for most problems although it doesn't cover all issues and there is a small risk - I believe a 3% chance of miscarriage. PLus you get to talk to a genetic specialist. Good luck and Godspeed, P.

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A.M.

answers from Memphis on

I have 5 children. My middle child age 5 has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair fulltime. He has no bladder bowel control, had severe speech delays, but just graduated out of ST. #4 and #5 were not planned, but they have been so wonderful for our entire family! Abinadi is a dedicated older brother and his little sister (current baby) is his favorite person in all the world. I can't imagine how different our lives would be without the younger two.

One of the biggest gifts having a child with special needs gives us, I think, is sensitivity. A sibling is someone who can grow up with that sensitivity, even when they have times of resentment and embrassment, they have a much greater appreciation for what it means to be disabled and what challenges have to be overcome.

Also my dh was the youngest of 9, his mom was 42 when he was born- it isn't too late to follow your heart!

HTH

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A.L.

answers from Memphis on

Hello C.! Go for it. I had my first baby at 42 and my second at 44, and now I am 46 with a son and a daughter. I had easier pregnancies and deliveries than many young moms that I know. Each time, I got pregnant within 6 weeks of being off the pill, so fertility was never an issue. I attribute my good fortune to God and to being on a health and wellness plan for life. I'm not perfect but I eat a healthy diet, keep my weight down, exercise frequently and take the highest quality nutritional supplements that provide extreme antioxidant protection, immunity and digestive enzymes. I also drink detox tea to keep my body clear of toxins. I think that has to help. My supplements and diet give me the energy I need to keep up with my energetic toddlers and work a full time job in spite of being an older mom.

So I think a great vitamin regimen (and the right vitamins - not all are alike) are important. Also, regular exercise is critical, and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes is a must. My husband and I like red wine occasionally but we abstained while trying to get pregnant and of course while I was pregnant. Also, this is kind of random but there's a wive's tale that says green peas can decrease a man's fertility so avoid those too!

I was not thrilled about the idea of maternity clothes or delivery again, that soon after my first, but we are SOOOO glad now that we gave my son a beautiful little sister and we cannot imagine life without her. I say go for it but take care of yourself. If you need more advice on brands or routines, let me know. My husband is a trainer and I represent a wonderful health and wellness company. Sincerely, A.

PS. I also did the CVS test (versus amnio and screening) in my 4th month of each pregnancy to rule out any genetic abnormalities, just for peace of mind. Good luck. A.

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M.S.

answers from Asheville on

If it is your hearts desire I would talk it over thoroughly with your husband and make a plan to "keep connected" -it takes forethought and planning; commit to that together & then I would take it to God in prayer and ask for His infinite wisdom. B/c truly none of us have the answer-but we can be here in support to your decision! (my heart thrives on love and families & my gut would say go for it but that may or may not be right for you) Personally, I have learned that when I follow my heart I am happiest.

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S.L.

answers from Chattanooga on

Well, you should definately consider the financial part of the equation but more importantly you and your husband should discuss how it will impact your relationship (his feelings, your feelings, your older child, how you can stay reconnected if you should choose to have another baby, etc). I was 40 when I found out I was pregnant for the 1st time and gave birth to my beautiful dauther (now 8 months) old just 6 months shy of turning 41. I was worried about the genentic disorders that could have happened due to my age, etc. However, everything turned out fine. She's healthy, beautiful and thriving. I, too, want another one but want to have a bit of time with just her not to mention I have my 25-year HS reunion in 2009 and want to hold off until that event is over. If we do choose to have another child and wait until mid-2009, I will be on my way to turning 43. Although, finances are a huge part, most people are not completely financially set to have a baby at any time. I hope whatever your decision, you are ok with either way you go.

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V.M.

answers from Memphis on

Hi C.,

I would totally disagree with having another baby at your age. I am 45 with two kids and its hard...I am exhausted every nite...even though I exercise and work out regularly...plus your special needs child will need more care as he becomes older and harder to manage...I would suggest you try to enjoy life w/what you have...spend time w/husband...travel...give your self some free time...I know your special needs child requires a lot of your time...I would strongly suggest to be content w/what you already have...

Older Mom....

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A.R.

answers from Chattanooga on

I can't tell if you are just posting all the information or if all of this is genuinely weigh heavily on you. I can say that I think if you are SO conflicted... then it's probably best to not to. Especially if you are talking about how it will effect your marriage. It sounds to me like your biological clock is telling you "Hey! I want another one!" But in reality... it's just not a responsible or practical decision. It is hard to get a good feel for this just from an internet post, though. So... if your husband *wants* another as well (not just is considering it because you are, because that could lead to him resenting you for it later) and you both feel like you can handle whatever comes with this baby, even if it is a special needs or normal baby, if you are ok with being 62 when this child graduates from high school, etcetera... then go for it.

Yes, it can be wonderful to have siblings. But, one, they are seven years apart. That's huge. Two, if you are just now getting your marriage on track it seems like this might be pushing it. Finances are huge to be considered with kids. Think of college, diapers, clothes, medical bills, if you work think about the effects of you having to take maternity leave and possibly longer before and after due to potential complications.

It's difficult for many women. Maybe you could look into being a big brother or big sister in a program? Volunteer work with children in the community. It seems pale in comparison, but...

I would not look at adoption or foster parenting. At least not yet. Those both put TREMENDOUS strain on a marriage, on you, and on you still have finances to look at.

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T.

answers from Chattanooga on

There definately is a lot to consider. I was 35 when I had my first child and 37 when I had my second. I was concerned about my age then so I can understand your concerns.

I have a 8 yr old niece (almost 9) who has special needs. My sister was in her late 20s when she had her so age is no guarantee. My niece's condition is caused by a chromosomal defect and is very rare. There were only 35 known cases when she was diagnosed just before her first birthday. The condition doesn't even have a name. Before they decided to have more kids, both my brother in law and my sister had genetic counseling and testing done. They wanted to know how likely it was that my niece's condition was a fluk or something she inherited. It turned out that her condition was a fluke. My sister went nn to have 2 more healthy children (a 6 yr old and an almost 2 yr old) in her early to mid 30s.

All in all, I would consider the following:
1. How likely is it that you will have another special needs child?

2. How strong is your marriage? If you are just starting to reconnect this may not be the best time.

3. Who will care for your special needs child when you and your husband are no longer around? Will your older child need to be in a group home? Who will manage his/her finances?

I know one of the reasons my sister wanted 2 more kids after my niece was so that the burden of caring for her later on would not fall solely on 1 person (her brother) but could be shared.

4. Have you considered becoming a foster parent? Maybe that way you could adopt an infant without having to go through a pregnancy.

No one can make the decision for you. Good luck though.

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L.M.

answers from Charlotte on

Have you ever considered the option of bringing in a foster child? There are so many children in need of a loving home and you could even consider the option of adopting a 2 or 3 year old- then your kids can also be a little closer in age. Just a thought...

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S.P.

answers from Raleigh on

you must follow your heart not your fears. Fear is the number 1 factor that holds back most of the population everywhere. Women are having babies at a much older age than before. People are also living longer. Don't focus on other people and what they think about it. If you and your hushand is comfortable. That's all that really matters. I know you mentioned finances. I feel finances would just be an excuse to make you feel better if you decide not to. Follow your heart and follow your dreams. You can make anything happen if you know that you can.

e-mail me at

S./Author and Real Estate Investor
[email protected]____.com

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A.V.

answers from Knoxville on

I feel your heart in this - although I am a younger mother with 3 kids VERY close in age, I grew up thinking I would never be able to have my own children, so everyone I have known that has struggled with infertility or has married late in life, I tend to take on their struggles as my own.

One option you may want to consider is adoption. There are already so many children around the world and in our own country without loving families. I recognize that the urge to have your own is very strong, as I loved being pregnant even through the yucky parts, but as you mentioned, age is a factor. The risk of having another special needs child increases every year, especially Down's Syndrome. I know you have probably considered all that, but you may also want to consider that if you were to adopt, you could find not only a baby, but perhaps an older sibling closer to your child's age. Sibs are the hardest to adopt out if they are to be kept together. Some of them never find families if they aren't willing to split them up.

I have 2 sons and a daughter of my own, but had wanted to try to have another child, hopefully another girl to round out our family. But my last pregnancy was difficult and premature birth is not something I am willing to risk again. Our daughter wants a sister SO badly that she cries about it at times. (She is 8 years old.) We are finishing up building a house, and are trying to build lots of extra space to house either foster children or adopt an older girl, to make our family feel complete. Although I have no urge to adopt a BABY, I know there is a huge need, especially overseas, for infant adoption.

Just something to pray about, or at least consider logically, if you aren't a praying person. :)

Love Mamasource!
A. V

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A.L.

answers from Lexington on

Don't do it- You answered your own question in your statement. We all have these "urges" esp as we get closer to "middle age".

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L.

answers from Charlotte on

I had my first child right after I turned 44! I think there's really no problem at being a mother at this age (other than lack of energy!). I think as an older mom, you tend to appreciate it more, and don't really have the need to go out and "prove yourself" anymore, so you really can just concentrate on enjoying family and motherhood. I realize you have a little more complications because of your child with special needs, but I really think another child would just bring more joy and love into your life and I am sure you would never regret it (unlike not having another child, which you would probably always regret - at least not trying to have one). I love being a mom at this age. That's my input anyway. God bless you.

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S.W.

answers from Charlotte on

Hi C.,
I'm a 40 year old mom of a 4 month old. She was born the day before my 40th Birthday and she is very special and Healthly she is not my first she is my fifth but I lost one at 16 weeks. I love having her but it Is Very hard being so much older she was a surprise. The next youngest is going to turn 10 this month. The older children help out alot but I don't ever remember being this tried. I can image life with out her, but I don't know if I would have ever planned her knowing how differnt it is when your older. There are both great things about it and bad things. So if you decide to go for it just really prepare yourself for the major changes to come.

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B.S.

answers from Charlotte on

C., I can certainly understand your desire to have another child, I have three and feel totally blessed and love every day with them, but I will tell you that my husband was born to his parents when they were 44 and they have been a handful to him over the years - really his whole life, from being taken to funerals at a very young age due to lots of family and friends dying when he was still real young, having older cousins and nobody to play with at family events, he grew up very fast caring for himself at a young age and making his own decisions early on including his Dad retiring when he was young and not having a lot of money to help with college expenses and now with us having our own children in our 30's and 40's he is also dealing with old, sick parents - while we are thankful they are still around at 86 for our children, they make holidays, vacations and basically every day rough for him since they depend on him a lot now and expect a lot and he has his hands full with his job and his own family now in addition to trying to help them out here and there and having to be with them in their times of need (which is often) in another state where they live. It takes away from his own family time with his children. He would never say anything to them but I think he resents it and has a lot of guilt over them. Just another opinion on having children at a 'mature' age when your children will be dealing with you at a time in their lives when they have a family and career, plus the big thing with him was they were "old" to many when they had him so he always had "old" parents. I know people in their 40's and 50's with young children and they are sometimes mistaken for the grandparents! With all this being said, I totally understand your desire for another child, they are a gift and I treasure mine daily, good luck.

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M.J.

answers from Raleigh on

HI there!
I can't beleive I found another mom at this age who shares the desire for one more! There is one lady at my church though who is 43 and having another one. Her youngest isn't even one yet.
I have 3 sons...19,17,and 15 and one daughter that is 6. I feel like I'm having a mid-life crisis becuase I am having baby fever and can't close that chapter of my life I had my boys in my 20's and my daughter when I was 37. My 3rd son was born with a rare heart defect and had open heart surgery at the age of 10 weeks old. He is healthy now but it was a long hard road. This is my 2nd marriage and we have a daughter together. Now I find myself wanting to have one more. I know I'm older but trust God that if it's meant to be...then it will be. I am very thankful for my wonderful children. They bring me great joy. You are not alone in wanting one more at this age. It's good to know that I'm not as crazy as I thought! LOL God bless you as you figure all of this out. I say go for it! :)

M.M.

answers from Knoxville on

C.,
What did you decide about getting pregnant?

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R.M.

answers from Chattanooga on

I'm only 26, so I can't really help you on the having kids after a certain age part, but I might be able to help with some other parts. As a mother of three, and a family on a tight military budget, I can see where you are coming from. My husband and I had our kids YOUNG, and all three within a year of each other(twins LOL). Those three are so very very close, and now I want another child so badly, but I am worried about the children being so far apart, and also financially. Add to that that my husband has severe issues from being a part of a war that he wants no part of, and seeing one of his best friends killed right next to him, and you have somewhat of a situation. My husband and I are just now starting to get closer after 2 years of fights and frustrations because my husband refused to seek medical treatment for his issues, and I pushed him to seek help, but he would totally ignore me. But he is finally getting help, so now it's a non-issue.

So at this moment, we desperately want another child, and we have some serious complications. I tried to shrug it off, and pass it off as "baby fever", but every time I look at a mother holding her baby, every time I work in the nursery, my heart clenches. This is not a desire that will go away. So... I am sitting down, and calculating our finances, times, issues, and this is the bottom line. I love my life, I love my children, I love my husband. I would love any child that came along with all of my heart, and not hold back. So here is what we have decided. If God wills us to have another child, it will happen. We will try, but not get stressed out about it, not bother with tracking when I am ovulating or what have you. Just enjoy ourselves, and God willing, we will have another child, if not, that's OK with me too. We have a family that many would envy, and I'm ok with what we have now, we have a great life. But on the other hand, I would welcome another child with wide-open arms. I hope this helps you out some.

P.S. I just remembered that my principal's wife in Jr High had 2 more pregnancies at 39 and 40. She had healthy pregnancies for the most part, she was put on bed rest for 3 months with the first one, but the other one went off without a hitch. And she had 2 very healthy babies.

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S.G.

answers from Fayetteville on

C.,
I think what you are feeling is normal. I have two boys, 7 and 2. My husband was happy with one, but I wanted a sibling for the oldest. My husband and I both come from 3. He is now thrilled that we have our second son. I am 39. I will be 40 in April. I also think age plays with us too. Even though both sides of my family menopause near 60, I am thinking about the end of my fertility and must I have one more or not! I really like three and would love a girl just to have the experience of a daughter. I came from a three girl family.
Sometimes I am happy and do not want to go through all of the changes again. Pregnancy causes not just physical changes,
but many other changes for the family as you mentioned. Yes, why do we have these yearnings when everything practical says the answer is NO!!?? I think it is a woman's natural desire to always be able to reproduce whether we do or not. Also, we don't want to regret anything.
I would talk to your husband about it as well. How does he feel? What are the chances of having another special needs child? Is it a genetic problem or sporadic? I am also a birth doula. Of course, there are many birth defects and etc.. that can happen to anyone at any age! I see many women in their early forties having babies. Rarely with problems. But I know that we all run a chance of any kind of problem and that is life. Everything worth having is risky. If you are close to God, I would definitely say pray about it. That would be what I would do. I haven't made a decision yet. I just go back and forth. My husband is happy with two. We also have discussed adopting in the event that the time passes as to when I would want to go through another pregnancy and we decide we want another child. I think it is natural to want a sibling for your child. Don't ignore your feelings. You can't change things once they are permanent. I would weigh the decision carefully, but would not over analyze it either. Sometimes we have to listen to our hearts!
I wish you the best and blessings,
S.

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