It is the eve of my 40th birthday. I’ve never felt better. I feel comfortable in my skin. I’m happy. With age truly does come a certain knowledge of the world and my place in it. Also, I’m pregnant. 

This is something that was not exactly expected (not unexpected either) but certainly not what I visualized for age 40. If life has taught me anything, though, it’s that the unexpected happens all the time. So I’ve been given this curve ball, this gift. Initially, I felt a small touch of shame. Pregnant at 40. A certified geriatric pregnancy, at least referred to this way in the halls of my doctor’s office. Wasn’t I supposed to be celebrating my 40th drinking wine and enjoying my freedom as my older children became more independent?

Is 40 old? For some it is. Growing up, 40 seemed impossibly old. Now that I’ve reached it, it doesn’t seem old at all. Sure, I listen to the classical station quite often, but I balance that with hip hop and indie music. I listen to NPR, I’ve started gardening and enjoying it immensely, and sometimes I ask my husband (who’s younger) to lower the music because it hurts my ears. But seriously, in terms of age, that’s as far as it goes for me. 

Now that I’m here, at the cusp of 40, I realize it’s quite young. Why should I feel shame for being pregnant at my age? It’s actually a great age to be having a baby. Yes, there are risks associated with having a child when “older,” but there are also many benefits to being an older mom. Here are a few for you to mull over:

This is not my first rodeo.

I have two kids already. I’ve been around the proverbial parenting block a couple of times now. Poop. Pee. Tantrums. Sleepless nights. Projectile vomiting. Losing your kids at Ikea AND Target. You name it. I’ve experienced it. With age comes a certain calm. I’m more psychologically stable and at peace with my place in the world, which will undoubtedly benefit my children.

I’ve accepted my husband’s shortcomings.

OK, I’m sort of lying about this one. I still can’t get over the fact that he leaves soaking wet cloths in the sink. But aside from the cosmetic shortcomings, I’ve realized that my partner in crime is a deeply good person, a great dad, and someone I can parent a third child with — a realization that comes with age and experience.

My values are firmly in place.

I thought I valued a trip to the Maldives to celebrate my 40th. But really, after acknowledging constraints like time, money, and the reality of having small children, the fog cleared and I realized that the most important thing in my life — the thing that gives me the most meaning and joy — is being with my people, my tribe, my clan. 

So during this “geriatric pregnancy,” my 40th birthday will be spent in the woods, just outside of Boston, and to quote Thoreau, “because I wish to live deliberately, to front the essential facts of life.” Which I’ve discovered are pretty simple. Something I wouldn’t have known or even appreciated earlier in life.


  1. agree with everything here but I would advise anyone young who is thinking about putting it off until 35 or older; don’t. your fertility falls down a steep slope at that age and there’s no guarantee that you will become pg without a lot of very expensive help.

    your body will bounce back faster, your risk for breast cancer will go down a bit and you won’t have to rush if you end up wanting more children.

    your ovaries don’t care about your career or your dreams of travelling. sow your oats early, find a decent man who will provide for you and get cracking.

    i’m an old mum and though there are great things about it, I went through a lot of hell and prejudice and expense to have my darlings. it was all worth it of course but most of it could have been avoided had I not delayed things.

  2. No shame needed! I think it’s fabulous! 🙂 I had my first baby at 37 and my second at 41 – it didn’t even occur to me to feel shame about being pregnant at an older age. I I guess I was lucky enough that I didn’t experience any prejudice either, although I have to say I think my pregnancies were a a lot harder being older and the recovery time was significantly longer compared to what I saw younger mothers go through. But other than that, I loved being an older Mom. I felt I had more to contribute and I got to live a great life before kids, but I agree with the other comment that you shouldn’t purposely wait that long just in case you can’t have children. I have 3 girlfriends who lived a similar life to me (put career first etc.) and now they are not able to have children. I feel very, very blessed that I was able to at an older age.

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