Bloomin’ Mom: A Later Mom Shares – By Christy James
The journey to motherhood varies more than any of us could imagine when we first start dreaming of starting a family. My husband and I were married 20 years ago this May, and we waited a few years before we started trying for children. From the beginning, we planned for me to stay home when the children came. Our first pregnancy was four years into our marriage and somewhat unexpected. The rollercoaster of emotions began in one chapter and ended quickly into the second, as we lost our baby just before we were supposed to hear the heartbeat for the first time.
I got pregnant again within a year and had my son Labor Day weekend 1998 at the age of 28. We then had a daughter in 2000 and another one in 2002. Oddly enough, I always felt like our family had one missing but attributed that to having lost our first.
Later, much to our shock, we discovered another blessing was on the way when it turned out my “health concerns” were not age related after all! I was 41 when my youngest arrived 3 days after Christmas.
To be frank, the primary challenge of becoming a mother again later in life has been my health, which I had neglected and was in the process of tending to when I became pregnant. Although I had a healthy pregnancy with (seemingly) no complications (as an over 40 female who had had 4 pregnancies prior), I wound up having gallbladder surgery just 5 weeks after my daughter was born.
Motherhood at any age carries with it burdens and exhilaration unmatched by any other pursuit. Like many moms, I struggle to strike the balance between high expectations and reality. I have struggled with feelings of powerlessness to be the mom I so want to be. I believe this comes from my love for God and my family, and wanting to be the best mom possible, but I confess I have a ways to go to learn the meaning of balance.
Becoming a mom again after 40 has been an honor and a privilege. I am careful to note that it doesn’t mean any more to me than when I was a younger mom. I just know the ropes and have the life experience to realize not to sweat the small stuff. Because of that, I am free to more fully treasure each small gift I am given every day. I savor the moments that can become mundane if we’re not mindful. I laugh and find humor in what would cause me stress as a younger mom.
It has been amazing to watch my older children and husband welcome our little one into the family. We are all still incredulous at how our family has grown in multiple ways and cannot imagine not having her in our family. We revel in her curiosity, merriment, and engaging personality. We never tire of watching and helping her discover her world.
So often in life, we are bound by fear, anxiety, or trepidation – not conscious of the fact that our lives could be more meaningful in so many ways. Among other lessons, mothering later in life has given me a deeper awareness of the importance of letting go of the ridiculous pressures we face both from within and without. Strip away all the meaningless drivel and get down to the business, the privilege, the real priority of pouring ourselves into what matters most – connection with people beginning with those we love the most: Our spouses and children. My daughter’s name means “joyful new beginning,” and that is true for her because she is one of God’s precious creations. It is equally true for the rest of our family, as we are gifted and inspired to see the world anew! God has given us the gift of rediscovering life without limits from the fresh perspective of a new soul.