40 and Pregnant

Donna Ladd of Motherburg reflects on her path to motherhood and her struggles to get pregnant the second time around.

40 and Pregnant

If someone had told my young self that I would become a mother in my 40s, I would have thought that person was crazy. Perhaps it's my Latin culture, but I always assumed I would be a young mother. Of course life isn’t always in this neat package. While a group of my childhood friends had their babies by age 24, I was on a different path -- mostly a career one -- that consisted of long hours. I was basically a cliché, my fertile years passing me by. But one day I found myself on a six-seater plane flying to an exotic location with breathtaking views, and I knew it: I was done. I didn’t care about traveling to these far-off private islands with designer clothes. I wanted a baby!

By my early 30s, I made some pretty big choices. I ended a long-term relationship that didn’t hold any near future of children, quit the intense job, and moved back to California (my home town) where I listened to birds chirp and took long hikes. I loved being back. My best friend had a one-year-old daughter, and getting to know my goddaughter was life-changing. The love I felt for this little being was like no other. I realized that I had made the right decisions, although hard ones. Had I waited longer, I could have found myself in big trouble with issues like infertility. I hate that this is a factor, but it is. By my mid 30s, I was back in Brooklyn and married (to a new guy.) I had my son Charlie when I turned 39.

There are two kinds of moms who have their kids at or after 40: the ones with crazy energy and the tired ones. I fall more into the tired category. How tired am I? Very. I may not have had my son at 40, per se, but it was pretty darn close. If you think you’re tired in your 30s, imagine what you’ll feel like a little later down the pike. This is the downfall. The positives? I find myself more secure of who I am as a person and know where my priorities are. Not that a younger mom isn’t able to find this balance, but for me, it was quite tough for to manage balance in my 20s and 30s.

The thing about being a mom at 40 is that I can be picky about friendships -- you either get me or you don’t. I am not going to sit and take time to figure our friendship out. We either click or we don’t. I am back working a corporate job while also managing a local blog and volunteering at my son’s school. At my corporate job, I have boundaries. This is hard because I want to be a great employee, but the days of working until the wee hours are a thing of the past. I work with what I can, and when I start to feel too overwhelmed, I speak up and my superiors adjust my workload. I streamlined my wardrobe so it's easier to get ready in the morning; I would like to be more creative in the style department, but that extra 10 minutes of sleep is golden. Learning to balance is a tool every mother needs, regardless of age.

When you’re 40-plus and exhausted, you realize you are aging and that this little person needs you to be around, to be present, to be a good parent. I have been struggling to have baby number two, and I realized how my choices shape not only my son but also myself. I do wish I had my son a bit earlier like most of my mom friends. But for me, personally, I know that with all I had to work out in life, I am a better mother having waited.

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