In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Heart of an Older Mom

Motherhood surprised me again at 41. You might say it ambushed me--laid me out flat physically and emotionally for quite a while.

I'm thankful to say I've recovered from my initial shock. I gratefully embrace my mommy-come-lately life.

My caboose kiddo's coming up on her 7th birthday. Some of you might think, I certainly hope you're used to the idea by now! Those of you who've read my book Baby Changes Everything know it took some time for me to wrap my brain around this about-face in my life. It's all there in the chapter titled "Everything's Back to Normal--Except Me."

My entry into the mommy-come-lately club provided yet another opportunity to prove the resilience of a mother's heart. I dealt with the unexpected return to breastfeeding and baby-rules-the-day (and the nights!) with some kicking and screaming. And then I fell in love with my daughter. Christa expanded my heart--and she continues to do so each day we spend together.

Speaking of a mother's heart, I came across two news stories this week. One talked about how older moms are a greater risk for heart attacks during pregnancy. The study, which was published in 2006 in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, stated pregnant women over 40 have 30 times the risk of a heart attack during pregnancy than women who are under 20.

So I talked this not-so-great-sounding news out with my physician-husband. Here's some things to consider:

  • This study compares the proverbial apples and oranges: those at highest risk (over 40-year-olds) with those at lowest risk ( under 20-year-olds.)

  • One of the study's conclusions was that, even though pregnancy increases a woman's risk of heart attack, it is still "a rare event in women of reproductive age," occuring about 1 in 17,000 deliveries. (With thanks to my husband for doing the medical math.)

The second article was a bit more positive about late-in-life motherhood. Why Women Who Wait Until Their Thirties 'Make Better Mothers' discusses a study extolling the advantages of being an older mom.

It echoes what some of the moms I interviewed said: I'm glad I'm an older mom. I'm calmer at this age. I've accomplished some of my goals. I'm more ready to be a mom now than I would have when I was younger. I'm a better mom than I would have been in my 20s.

Go ahead. Debate that if you wish.

I know I didn't love my first three children less just because I was a young mom.

A mother's heart--and her love--is ageless.


At 10:18 AM, Blogger Patricia said...

Though I was a "mommy" in my late twenties, it was by default. My nephew came to live with us when I was 28, but he was already 8 years old and it is was not a typical parenting situation for us. Because our relationships were complicated by many factors, we weren't certain we would have children of our own. Fortunately, God intervened, but I was 31 before I gave birth to our first son. Ten years later, I gave birth to our "caboose", so I guess I have been a "mommy-come-lately" from the very beginning and have no personal experience to compare it with.

There were physical challenges for me, especially with the last two. I had emergency surgery for a perforated bowel (I have crohns - though it was not diagnosed at the time) less than a year before my second son was born. Even so, I bounced back from his labor delivery in record time. My "caboose" was a c-section (Emily was transverse/breech), followed by several post-partum complications, but in retrospect, we can see that they were crohns related and had nothing to do with my age.

Even though I've been an older mom from the beginning, I believe that all of us have the potential to become better parents with time as we gain wisdom from experience.

I have a funny story to tell about my first OB/GYN appointment when I was pregnant with Emily, but maybe that should be my NaBloPoNo post for today.

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Tiffany said...

You said it, "A mother's heart--and her love--is ageless."

You've landed your point. Great job I'll buy it.


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