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Telling Family and Friends about Your Over-40 Pregnancy


By Cynthia Wilson James

Congratulations youíre expecting a baby! You waited, prayed and are excited about your first baby. Whether you decide to tell the world or just secretly bask for a while in the wonder of future motherhood, here are a few pointers to prepare you in telling your big news.

First, decide whether you will have additional prenatal testing performed other than the routine. Routine prenatal tests are blood, urine and blood pressure checks. These tests are performed regularly on all pregnant women.

As an expectant mother over 35 your physician will give you the option of receiving prenatal tests to diagnose or screen for genetic or chromosomal birth defects such as Down syndrome. Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) are two of the most common tests.

While no prenatal test is 100 percent accurate, you may be an expectant mom who feels safe announcing her pregnancy after she receives a normal result from one of these tests. Or if the results are not as you hoped, you may be an expectant mom who wants to prepare her family and friends for the arrival of special needs baby. Or you may be an expectant mom who decides against any testing other than the routine. Regardless of where you stand on additional prenatal testing, you will have to make a decision.

Perhaps, prenatal testing is no big deal for you, but you want to wait until the end of first trimester to announce your pregnancy to family and friends. Since medical experts say that the majority of miscarriages occur before 12 weeks, many expectant moms wait before telling others. Unfortunately, the common symptoms of early pregnancy such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness and frequent urination may not allow you to keep your secret as long as you would like.

After sharing the good news of your pregnancy with your partner, many women tell a close relative or friend. As an over-40 mom to be, the reactions you receive may range from joy to amazement to disappointment.

Prepare for being told you are too old to have a baby from at least one well- meaning relative or friend. Remain calm and respond with confidence that everything has a season and that this is your season to give birth. Or use wit and humor by borrowing a line from Jan Andersen, an older mom, and ask the person: ďArenít you too old to be so rude or tactless?Ē

Other family and friends may not say anything negative but respond with a disapproving or disappointing demeanor. Donít be too discouraged by their behavior. Your pregnancy may be interfering with their vision of you. They may have viewed you as the satisfied career woman who never wanted a baby or the best auntie who gave the best gifts because she didnít have children of her own.

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When you are emotionally ready to tackle the negative demeanor of a relative or friend, ask the reason for their response to your joyous announcement. Donít offer assurance by saying your relationship will remain unchanged. It wonít. A baby brings changes in life. You probably wonít feel like taking your little niece to an early morning soccer practice after staying up all night with your crying newborn. Offer assurance by saying that even though you will have to eliminate some responsibilities during pregnancy and after the baby arrives, your love for that family member or friend will remain unchanged.

Most importantly, limit your contact with people who view your over 40 pregnancy negatively. Hormones during pregnancy create its own physical and emotional changes. Negativity only escalates these roller coaster emotions. Remain positive by reading inspirational literature and talking with others who have experienced a positive midlife pregnancy.

Keep in mind that you are not alone as an older expectant mom. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a few years ago, in the year 2003 marked the first time that births to women over 40 topped 100,000 in a single year.

Take comfort, my sisters while you may be the only expectant mom over 40 in your circle of friends or small community, these statistics prove you are far from being alone.

© Cynthia Wilson James
Cynthia Wilson James is a childbirth educator, author and midlife mom of two healthy bubbly toddlers. She gave birth to her first child at age 42 and a second child at age 44. You can reach her at her website inseasonmom.org which is designed to encourage first time moms over 35 and 40.

 

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