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Baby number 2 at age 42

Pregnant with baby number two at age 42Well, when I fell pregnant I was actually 41 if we’re being pedantic about it. Haha. A year makes all the difference now doesn’t it?

As the double test strips turned a vibrant blue my internal dialogue went into overdrive, ‘hang on, I’m 42. Oh no. No. Wait. I’m 41 and a half. Born in 1974. So, I’m nearly 42. 41 just now but I’m nearly 42. I’ll be 42 when I give birth. Right yes 42 when I have the baby’.

I genuinely had to work out my age. It made me half smile. Having to calculate how old I am. Such a stereotype.

Immediately I google ‘celebs baby after 40.’

This helped. Try it, great results and loads of them. I cheered quite a bit. I breathed easier. Plenty of them older than 42 as well. Susan Sarandon was 45 when she had her third and Halle Berry was an extremely fabulous 47 when she welcomed her second baby into the world. Phew. Not bad company to be among really.

I paused … my sensible head told me that the celeb thing is not real. It helped to see happy endings though as pregnancy over 40 can be such a negative subject. I didn’t want to read the ‘increased risk’ articles. Not right then. I decided not to google any further. All that could wait. It wasn’t going to change anything at that moment. So, I placed my phone firmly out of reach and decide to let it sink in.

Fast forward to today and at the time of writing I’m 27 weeks pregnant and I don’t think about my age, at all. For me my ‘advanced maternal age’ has just never been an issue. And nobody has made it so. After I did the home test I had the pregnancy confirmed by a doctor who pointed out, ‘yes you’re pregnant, those tests don’t lie’. She also went through the motions; height, weight, history, due dates and gave me the ‘don’t eat soft cheese’ lecture. All the while I waited for her to mention my age. She didn’t. As I rose to leave the appointment I stuttered out some words about being 42 and pregnant and and and …

Quick as flash the doctor looked right at me and said, ‘Oh don’t be ridiculous. Thousands of women in their 40s have babies every day. It’s fine,’ and that was that. Not even a discussion. I felt relieved.

I did have the First Trimester Screening at 12 weeks. This combines a blood analysis with an ultrasound and provides you with the risk factor for certain chromosomal abnormalities. I admit I did work myself up into a fit of tears just prior to the screening results. I guess this was partly a 40-something panic but no one, no matter what age they are can really know what’s been going on inside their body with the teeny life that’s forming. I mean we do a test, it says positive and we go about our life as a newly pregnant woman. We can’t actually see everything is OK. Sadly, for some woman, at the first scan complications are discovered. And that’s partly why I teared up beforehand. It wasn’t all about my age.

According to statistics, pregnancy rates for over 40s have more than doubled in the past 27 years. Why should this be? Well we can all speculate but it’s only as individuals we ever understand the choices we make. Perhaps we’re waiting until we’re financially secure and own our home, some prefer to scale the career ladder then take time out to have a family. For some maybe it’s taken longer to the find ‘the one.’ We don’t tend to marry our teenage sweethearts anymore. The world is a smaller place, we travel more, we meet more people. Altogether there are many more experiences accessible to us all and these invariably impact life’s major decisions.

It was never, ever in my life plan to have a baby at 42. It wasn’t until my son was around 6 years old (I was 39) and I was having morning coffee with fellow school mums with their toddlers that I began to think, ‘should we have another?’ Is this the right time? I’m having coffee with these mothers and their little ones, so if I had a wee one it wouldn’t upset my life really. It would fit in quite nicely. From that point on it became a question mark, ‘am I finished?’ Not something I spent time brooding over though. ‘If it happened, it happened’ and this became the standard response to questions from others.

And what do you know? It happened.

Interestingly women over 40 have an unintended pregnancy rate that’s second only to very young women. Oops. Not so worldy wise after all eh?

Being pregnant over 40 used to be a taboo subject. It was ill-advised by the health profession and gossiped about by others. That’s certainly not the case now. In fact the medical profession recognises that it’s not an age thing, it’s more down to how healthy you are. If you make smart lifestyle choices, eat well, exercise regularly and keep your blood pressure under control there are no reasons you shouldn’t have a normal pregnancy.

And I needn’t have bothered googling ‘celeb mums over 40’ I have the most amazing examples of 40-plus mums right next to me on the school run every day. Goes without saying I’m very much looking forward to their help in around 13 weeks time!

About Jen McGinlay

Jen McGinlay is a former radio announcer from Scotland. After 10 years talking for a living Jen returned to her first love of writing. She now divides her time between the beaches and cafes of sunny Perth, writing for ...

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8 Comments so far -
  • Simi says:

    I just had my birthday this week on Wednesday and I’m also having my second at 42 in April so this couldn’t have come at a better time…. had my first at 39…. while I always wanted kids in my early 20’s life had other plans for me including a partner who decided he didn’t want kids when I brought it up in my earlyish 30’s…. I think I was 33. I travelled instead. While the age risk factors this time have been more of an emotional rollercoaster than I expected (because yes they are coming up positive because of my age and didn’t with my first) I don’t feel like I’m 42 and always surprise myself when I think about my actual age. LOL. Somewhere in my brain/body I still feel like a 30 year old and can blame tiredness on running after a toddler 🙂 Both my kids are the result of a whatever nature decides attitude, although I did get asked at one point if I had IVF and planned.
    Did I ever feel judged? No. Can’t say I did.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say we are not alone. All the best in the remainder of your pregnancy and the birth of your bub. Such precious times and bundles.

  • Nomes says:

    I’m one of those who focused on career and didn’t meet the right guy till later in life. I was turning 40 when I met my husband, 41 when we had our first child and I’ll be 43 when the next one arrives.
    I wear my “older mum” as a badge of honour and feel blessed that I can conceive and give birth to healthy kids, regardless of my age, because I’m healthy and able.

  • Rachel says:

    Great article. I had all my kids in my 30’s with last when I was 39. My husband is 14 years older than me. It did make me wonder if I was doing the right thing somethings but it’s absolutely the best decision we’ve made.

    We feel such a complete family and being slightly wiser we appreciate them in such different ways. Who knows what will happen to any of us in the future, all we can do is be the best parents at the time.

    Be grateful for being able to have a child…..and you never know, one day they may even be grateful we were their parents! Xxxx

  • SallyG(not AllyG) says:

    I was 38 when I had my last child and I thought that was old. I was born in 1969 and my Father was 39, and in the swinging sixties that was positively old! He always called himself an older dad, wonder what he’d make of George Clooney now.

    Nowadays I think nothing of anyone pregnant in their early forties, or late thirties, it has become more of the norm. Research has shown that those who have children later in life live longer. I think that sums it up!

    • Hi SallyG(not AllyG)! Thanks for your comment and yes, how times have changed. Pregnancy in the late 30s and early 40s is not very unusual anymore! In the 60s-70s people would probably start asking questions if you hadn’t had children in you late 20s! Thanks again, all the best xx

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